Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sipping on Saturday: Touring Champagne region - Reims

In this last chapter of our Champagne week, Preston Mohr, our wines instructor and champagne tour guide for Cook'n with Class, takes us behind the scenes so to speak, of the world of champagne. This is just a taste of all the great things you can learn and enjoy on the champagne tour. 

I am so excited to be part of the new tours to Reims, Champagne offered by Cook'n With Class. Reims is located in the heart of one of France's most exciting and history-rich regions and is now just a quick 45-minute train ride away from Paris's Gare de l'Est.


The tour includes transportation, guided visits in English at two different Champagne houses, lunch in a typical brasserie champenois and some free time to explore the magnificent cathedral

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Foto: Mumm's the Word



G.H. Mumm was founded in 1827 by three German brothers. In 1852, Georges Hermann Mumm (hence the G.H.), the grandson of one of the original founders, took over the operation and began to realize the possibilities for a high quality beverage and began to lead Mumm to its current day fame. He also redesigned the packaging, featuring the “cordon rouge” or red ribbon, that we still see on a bottle of Mumm today. 

Mumm is one of the champagne houses you can visit on the Cook'n with Class Champagne Tour class

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Food for Thought - Restaurant Boulingrin Reims

After or between your champagne tours (entre les coups), you may wish to enjoy some wonderful French food accompanied no doubt with more champagne or some wine.

When you do a search for where to eat in Reims, one of the names that may come up is a personal favorite, Brasserie Boulingrin. The restaurant is named for the quartier in which it is found, and is located just next to the city's Halles (covered market). Astonishingly, (when I think of Brasseries in general), it is not open on Sunday.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Wanderings - Reims Cathedral

We continue our week on Champagne and today we invite you to check out our tour of Reims' 800-year-old Cathedral. 



Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Rheims) is the Roman Catholic cathedral of Reims which is located in the Champagne region of France. The construction of the cathedral began in 1211 but it replaced an older cathedral which was built in 496AD. 

The cathedral welcomed 500,000 visitors in 2010 and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Tidbit: Setting itself apart - Veuve Clicquot

When a case of over 150 bottles of wine turn up in a sunken ship at the bottom of the ocean, questions start getting asked. Where was the ship going? Which bottles did they find? How old is it? and. Can you still drink it?

Well in a recent trip to renowned champagne house, Veuve Clicquot we discovered the answers to all this and more.

Various articles have had the bottle count going from 145 to 170 and the ship heading to Northern Germany or even to Russia. Gotta love the internet! But all that aside, how was the champagne? Well apparently after its 150 year slumber, the bubbly was not so bubbly but it didn't stop the sommelier from taking a sip along with some other very VIP cast members in the wine world. They detected hints of "honey", "mushroom", "Christmas herbs" - interesting.

But what I want to know is how in the world did they know that it was Veuve Clicquot? Well apparently the proof is in the cork. The Veuve Clicquot corks are branded and it was this branding that allowed experts to determine without hesitation that the bottles came from this great house.

Also found in the wreckage was a now defunct house of Juglar and H





















Read the New York Times article on the find.

Tuesday Tidbit: A Champagne find!

We recently had the opportunity to head out to the Champagne region for a day trip and well as you may well know, we like our champagne. This trip to Reims (pronounced "rance"), was most informative and was a great source of wonderful tidbits to share with you. And here's one now:

A 170 year old bottle of champagne was discovered about 2 years ago in Apland between Sweden and Finland and this bottle was said to have been a bottle of Veuve Clicquot! One of the bottles sold at auction for a mind boggling 30 000 euros to a man in Singapore who purchased it for this 10th wedding anniversary. Kinda makes all those other anniversary gifts seem a tad shabby. Romantic or nuts?

A case of champagne was found on a sunken ship deep in the Baltic sea containing more than 150 wine bottles. Of course by this time the labels were gone and the majority were simply undrinkable so how do you suppose Veuve Clicquot could assert that they came from their house? Taste? possibly. bottle shape? Probably not . . . .

The oldest most expensive bottle of Champagne sold, on loan to Veuve Clicquot






















And how do you think they knew it was from Veuve Clicquot? The answer is HERE

For more on the Apland discover see the Telegraph article
World's most expensive and oldest champagne sold for a record €30 000 - letitflow.com

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sipping on Saturday: Favorite Paris Wine Shops

I know who I go to ask when I have a wine question or can't decide which glass to take - Preston Mohr, that's who. Our favorite drinking partner tells us about his favorite wine shops in Paris and believe me you'll want to take note.

People ask me to give a list of my favorite wine shops in Paris. This is a very hard question for me to answer because of the the multitude of choice! I am a serial non-monogamist when it comes to wine shops: I am not loyal to just one. Most of the time, I frequent the small places near my apartment where I am familiar with the selection and have a personal relationship with the caviste and where I can easily transport the bottles back home. I even frequent Nicolas, the most prevalent wine chain in France, quite frequently as it's so convenient, their selection is well chosen and they have many bottles of whites and sparklers in the cooler, ready for consumption. I've even been known to buy wine at the supermarket!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Foto: The Louvre

Once again the musée du Louvre has come up on top as the world's most visit museum with 8.8 million visitors last year! Wow that's a lot of people gawking at the Mona Lisa, n'est-ce pas?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Food for Thought: West Country Girl

Hmm Crêpes! A tasty local eatery in the 11th for the next time you are craving this legendary thin, Breton treat. James takes us to West Country Girl

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bike About Tours - A Great Way To Explore Paris by Bike

Spring is upon us so Paris' outdoor activities are getting into full swing. The sun is out and you are looking for interesting ways to discover this beautiful city? James is taking us this Wednesday on a lovely little bike tour through the capital. Happy wandering!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Macaron Day

As if we needed more reasons to love this delectable little French treats. Started by Pierre Hermé 7 years ago, La Fête du macaron is not just about free macarons, it is also a day of solidarity, helping to raise money for "Autistes sans frontières"in France. Now you get one free macaron per person but the real idea is that you buy more (and how could you resist?).




The official site here

They are also celebrating in with proceeds going to local causes:
Québec 
New York
Toronto

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sipping on Saturday: La Famille - Molecular Cocktail Dreams in Montmartre

It can be easy to simply overlook a place that doesn't jump out at you at first glance. But asking a local can really pay off sometimes, not to mention walking past a place jam packed full of "shining, happy people".

It was my friend's birthday and she proposed going to this local Montmartre (French) restaurant that is anything but banal. La Famille - I had heard of it by name but never been and frankly I have been depriving myself. Sometimes it pays to get off rue des Abbesses and go where the real locals go, into one of the many winding streets of Montmartre.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Foto - Le Parc des Buttes Chaumont de Paris


The Buttes-Chaumont is a great park on the edge of Paris that most visitors never see. Located in the 19th, the Buttes-Chaumont is Paris' 3rd largest part and it has over 5 kilometres of trails and paths. On a sunny day, you'll find tons of people sunbathing and having picnics. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday food for thought - Pho 14



It is no secrete that dining out in Paris can get pretty pricey—especially if the exchange rate isn't in your favor. But there is still great places to eat without spending all your Euros. One such place is Pho 14. This Vietnamese restaurant is located in Paris' "Chinatown" neighborhood. Don't be fooled by the other Pho restaurants as this is the place to go. There will probably be a long line of people waiting to get in but the line moves quickly so don't worry if there are 20 people in front of you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Wanderings: Marie-Antoinette's estate and the Queen's Hamlet at Versailles


When people think of Versailles they often think of the grand palace and the massive gardens. But there is one part of the grounds that many visitors skip—Marie-Antoinette's estate and the Queen's Hamlet (Hameau de la reine). It takes about 25 minutes to walk to the Queen's Hamlet from the palace.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Tidbit: Midnight in Paris … in 2062!



What will things be like 50 years from now? Well, a new museum in Pairs has an exhibition to help us imagine. Today's Tuesday Tidbit guest post is brought to you by Oui Paris Tours.


With the critically acclaimed success of Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris, travelers are coming to Paris to find the past. While the days of Toulouse-Lautrec, Gertrude Stein, and Dali are mostly long gone, why not take a round-trip to the future instead?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sipping on Saturday Port: Not Just For Old Men Anymore

Preston Mohr is the guy I like to have with me when they hand me the wine list at a restaurant. He has followed his interest and turned it into a passion. In today's Sipping on Saturday he takes us out of France for "algo delicioso".

I am sure you're wondering what the heck this post is doing on a blog about Paris. Well, there are a few reasons why.

France is the world's largest importer of entry-level port wine, often consumed as an apéritif before dinner. France also has had a large Portuguese community from about 1965 onward, with many Portuguese people fleeing the dictatorship government, in search of better living and working conditions which they found in France.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Foto - The Top of the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris


The first Sunday of every month all the national museums and monuments in Paris are free so we took this opportunity to climb to the top of Notre Dame. The small spiral staircase to the top has 402 steps but I think it offers some of the best views of Paris. This is because you're high enough to see all of the city but you're still low enough to see most of the details of the buildings. For more information about Notre Dame check out our post of its Flying Buttresses

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Food for Thought - Glorious Figs

I was browsing through some photos that I took last year at one of our cheese & wine classes and came across a picture that was begging me to eat it. Just looking at the colors of shapes was making me hungry. It was the beautiful figs with their ruby red interior that were calling to me. So I asked my husband when I could expect to get this season's figs and he tells me I have to wait till the end of April. But can I wait that long?

Figs have made their mark since ancient times. Adam & Eve even sort out a fig leaf to hide their nakedness from the world as you may recall (assuming you've read your Bible).



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday Wandering: A Stroll through the Jardin des Plantes

Looking at this lovely set of photos submitted to us by Monique is making me beg for Spring. To think I used to live minutes from this lovely park and didn't realize just how vast it was. Another spot to stroll through on you next trip to Paris.


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