While Camille patiently shares secrets of French with me, I passionately travel to France whenever I can to enjoy the cuisine, culture, people and no surprise - the wine. I'm a Certified France Specialist and retired professor who now designs culinary tours (www.tourdeforks.com) in my favorite country. I live in North Carolina, but my spiritual homeland is France!
Flashes of red appear in the distance as M.Otxoa leads our small group out of town and into the green fields. We make our way down the narrow grassy path as the spicy aroma of dried peppers intensifies. M. Otxoa points out the drying house on our left. Don't worry, he tells us, we'll come back after we've visited my pepper plots.
France is a country of wine: renowned and envied wines to be sure, but there are many lesser-known yet noteworthy wines as well. I'd like to introduce you to a small appellation - Beaumes de Venise, which is designated a Site of Exceptional Culinary Taste in Provence. The terraced vineyards of Beaumes de Venise are worth visiting and wine is certainly worth tasting!
"A good gardener must have passion for new discoveries"
~Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie, 1690
When in Normandy, make time to enjoy the region's culinary offerings. Among its many sites for quality products and taste is the bucolic hilltop Domaine St.Hippolyte, an award-winning 16th- century working dairy and apple farm. "It's a living postcard of Normandy's past and present," proclaims Madame Leroux, a gentille femme who will welcome your visit.
While traveling through Bretagne one very cold January, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in the small picturesque village of Pont Aven. This charming fairy-book town of modest, thatched granite houses, a flowing river and old mills, is known for being the home of artist Paul Gaugin. In the culinary world, Pont Aven is a designated “Site of Exceptional Culinary Taste” for being the delicious epicurean land of melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies - les galettes et les sablés beurrés.