October 27, 2010

Boozy Bordeaux: Part II

The rest of our week spent in the Bordeaux region was made up of wine tastings and day excursions to the city and surrounding beach towns. 
The city of Bordeaux is a bustling metropolis filled with fast moving cars, floods of people, and fabulous shopping. I would love to go back someday and see more of the city itself but wine tastings were calling and I was more than happy to answer. 

French Wine completely inspired me. We took multiple château and cellar tours throughout our week in Medoc. This region is one of the most famous red wine producing areas in the world. About 80% of the wine produced here is red. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot grapes are combined in a variety of proportions to produce mostly full bodied and a few softer red wines. We had some memorable tours at Pichon Longueville, Kirwan, and Lynch Bages. My favorite château tour was at Pichon Longueville where we learned about the history of the winery, harvesting the grapes, and even saw some of the winery workers in action transferring wine into new barrels.
Chateau Pichon Longueville
 A grape almost ready for harvest. The wineries test the sugar content and acidity in comparison to weight.
 After destemming, pressing, crushing, and the whole fermentation process, the wine is put into barrels to begin aging.
Generally wine is pumped into a new barrel every 3 months to separate the clear wine from the sediment filled.
This sediment filled wine is sold to other wineries for blending and our tour guide also said something about the wine being sold to the government for tax deductions. Sweet deal huh?
Overall, my experiences in France have given me a whole new appreciation for food and wine. The amount of time, energy, and passion that goes into creating such beautiful products inspires me to do the same. I'm actually thinking about going back to France sometime next year to work on an organic farm. Learning where and how our food is grown will just intensify my knowledge and respect for wholesome delicious food. If anyone has any experience or advice please pass it on! I hope to one day have my own business to show off the enthusiasm I have for food and peoples' enjoyment of it. 

October 26, 2010

Beautifully Boozy Bordeaux: Part I

September 13, 2010

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a while! We’ve been in the middle of the French countryside since Saturday afternoon(no wifi for miles!). We arrived at our “Chateau” after an hour and a half drive out of Bordeaux to a region called Medoc. We were greeted by an older French couple who showed us the lay of the land (ie. how to use the stove/washing machine) in as best English as they could manage. This six bedroom/three bathroom house was absolutely beautiful. Although I’m not sure when it was built, you can definitely tell from the wooden shutters and stone walls it was a classic French cottage and is still covered in green and eye-catching purple from the flowers. We cooked amazingly fresh meals, shared countless bottles of wine and even had a few ping-pong tournaments (with my mom as the reigning champion).
Far away from city limits, this huge piece of land has a garden full of pines, walnut and hazelnut trees. We even found some rosemary, tomatoes, mint, and dill as we scoured the grounds. Our neighbors have huge yards with guard dogs, happy horses who trim lawns, and blackberries galore. After settling into the château, we decided to head into nearest town of Pauillac. A beautiful town with a catholic church at its center and a bunch of older buildings and cobblestone alleyways. Delicious seafood restaurants and specialty shops line its waterfront on the Dordogne River. 
While the good Catholic ladies of the group were soaking in their French Latin on a lovely Sunday morning in Pauillac, the other half of us went to explore the town and find a decent market. Wandering through the alleyways, we ran into two cats on a windowsill with ropes tied around their necks(to keep them from wandering too far). Just inside, a charming round French woman came to the window to greet us. She was clearly not a city dweller but a friendly townie who loved her humble community. After a lot of smiling and nodding she not only pointed us in the right direction but told us to wait while she put on some shoes to lead us there. Walking the 4 or 5 blocks to the market we attempted friendly conversation but found our language barrier too large. Nonetheless, we exchanged 'mercis' and 'bon voyages' and continued on with our food quest.
To be continued...

October 14, 2010


After a whirlwind European tour, I'm now in Melbourne, Australia for about a month. My apologies for not keeping the blog updated-I've been on the move for weeks. I did get the chance to write a bit about each city but I need to edit and organize before posting. Here are some food photos from my travels to keep you slightly entertained while I get myself settled.