Last September I was fortunate to travel to France for a picnic. That’s about all I knew at the time. La Fête de la Gastronomie was the event and Atout France was the medium for my experience. Atout France sent me, as the only representative from the United States to Paris and Burgundy to feast on traditional foods of Burgundy.
I’m a big fan of Burgundian cooking. The richness of the soil combined with the Terroir of the earth make for a melange of flavors. Some robust, some subtle and all memorable. I’m especially fond of the cheeses. The cow milk cheeses are pungent to say the least!
A trip to France for gastronome is one of life’s simple pleasures. Sure you can travel to France and eat fast food. Many tourists and locals do, much to the chagrin of the multitudes of restauranteurs in this country. Fast food was not part of our trip and I hungrily tucked into many foods although familiar- I was able to taste again- with the flavors of the place being the forefront of my experience.
There is something to be said for European travel. Sure you can see Europe from inside a tour bus or watch someone else travel through the vineyards of Burgundy from the comfort of your armchair on television. But why would you?
France is not that far away! If you love to eat as much as I do, then the Fête de la Gastronomie is your event.
It’s important to understand that France is a country of many regions. Foods from Normandy taste completely different to those from Provence. The taste of the place is profound and memorable. I’m still imagining freshly dug truffles from the woods surrounding Dijon shaved ever so carefully over a salad. Crisp and aromatic- quite memorable- I cannot get this haunting flavor out of my mind. Traditionally I am not a truffle lover, but something that comes moist and slightly warm from the ground like a black Truffle is an experience that you must take into your memory.
Although cocktails are not necessarily part of the social thread in France, I was able to create something sublime from ingredients easily sourced here in the United States.
The Parisian Dream Cocktail uses crushed earthy beets woven into a simple syrup and a healthy dosage of Rhum Agricole from Martinique with a twist of lime. It’s a take off of a cup of Borscht, without the potato or the sour cream! I used the marvelously expressive Rhum JM for my Parisian Dream Cocktail.
The Parisian Dream Cocktail
(Beet Simple Syrup- Crush some fresh beets for their juice and add a few tablespoons of the beet juice to simple syrup)
Rhum JM Blanche (White Rhum Agricole)
Beet Simple Syrup (above)
Bitter End Thai Bitters
Perrier Natural Sparkling Mineral Water (lemon if possible)
Preparation: (for two plane tickets to Paris)
To a cocktail shaker, fill 3/4 with ice
Add 4 oz. of the Beet Simple Syrup to the shaker
Add 4 oz. of Rhum JM Blanche
Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake
Pour over a large hand cut ice cube made from water from your Mavea “Inspired Water” Pitcher (crystal clear ice!)
Top with a few splashes of the Perrier Sparkling Water to finish
Add 3 drops (NO MORE) of the Bitter End Thai Bitters over the top of each glass
Garnish with a lime twist rubbed on the lip of the glass
Sip to Paris!