Monthly Archives: January 2017

Wine Review: G. Chevalier Sauternes

January 24, 2017

Wine Review: G. Chevalier Sauternes | modernfrenchblog.com

Wine: G. Chevalier Sauternes
Region: California
Retailer: Trader Joe’s
Price: $12.99

I’ll never forget the look in his eyes as our friend recounted the first time he drank a Sauternes. It was a lazy afternoon in France and the local winemaker had poured some of the sweet liquid into a halved, fragrant melon. He almost shed a tear as he explained the perfect pairing and how delicious it tasted.

My first experience with a Sauternes was quite different. First, it was the middle of winter. Second, we were in good ole Southern California. Third, this affordable Sauternes from Trader Joe’s was served at the beginning of the meal along with foie gras and toast points. The only similarity in our stories was the sweet, delicious taste of the wine.

The nose of the G. Chevalier Sauternes starts off with a sweetness of honey dew melon and, well, honey. There is also a light citrus note at the end of the inhale that is more orange-like than lemony.

When drinking, it’s very caramel-forward with notes of melon, apricot, and pineapple. Though sweet, it’s not cloy and the syrup-like flavor adds to it’s smooth qualities. You may even notice a bit of funk on the backend, which is likely from the famous botrytis of 2011 when this wine was made. Google “noble rot” and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

In regards to food pairing, a Sauternes is surprisingly versatile. It can go the sweet route with desserts like a creamy custard or carmelized stone fruits over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heck, you can even drink it as the dessert itself.

Savory-wise, foie gras is a classic pairing and oh-so-française. Otherwise, it’s pretty hard to go wrong. Choose a creamy pasta, strong cheeses (i.e. Roquefort or blue cheese), cured meats and ham, or any creature of the sea from oysters to crab, shrimp, and lobster. Fried foods like fried chicken and panko-crusted porks chops also pair well.

P.S. More ways to be oh-so-française at the dinner table and some great cheeses at Trader Joe’s.

French Words: Gourmande

January 17, 2017

French Words: Gourmande | modernfrenchblog.com

The first couple times we went back to France my language abilities were, shall we say, lacking. Outside of bonjour, au revoir, and oui, I couldn’t say much nor carry on a conversation.

This made it tough to dine with our French family and friends. At first the monsieur would translate for me, but at one point it became a chore and interrupted conservation so I was left to my own devices. This usually meant intense focus on the plate in front of me or excusing myself to the couch where I’d promptly fall asleep.

During one dinner, two family members were in a deep conversation. It looked fascinating so I nudged the hubs and asked him what they were talking about. After listening in for a few moments he said, “Oh, they’re talking about local chefs and their impressive repertoire.” Forty minutes later they were talking so much more intensely that I was sure they had moved on to another topic. “Non,” Arnaud reassured me, “they are still talking about local cuisine.”

That’s one of the many things I love about the French; they are deeply passionate about food and find great joy in eating. So many of the French people in my life have self-defined as a gourmande (pronounced gore-mahn-dd) that I’ve lost count. By the way, gourmande is the feminine version of the word; the masculine version is gourmand and is pronounced similarly but without the “d” at the end.

You’re probably familiar with this word since we also use it in English. However, our definition of gourmand has a negative twinge and conjures up the image of a glutton eating copious amounts of food, which says a lot about our culture’s issues with food more than anything.

Moi? As we all know, I’m becoming more French by the minute so I’m going to continue embracing the more positive definition of gourmande. This means less weird American food issues and more delicious French meals in my future, which is definitely something I can get behind.

P.S. How to say cheers when you’re dining à la française and a fancy dinner party menu for a celebration.

French Girls Aren’t Perfect

January 4, 2017

Being obsessed with the French is a full time job, or at least a very busy part-time job.

During my free time, you can most likely find me a) reading about something French, b) watching something in French, or c) hanging out with some French person and creepily trying to usurp their identity.

Okay, I’m kidding about that last part, but I will admit that I unknowingly file away the super Frenchie things my friends do and end up writing about it later.

The “French Girl” Doesn’t Exist

This brings me to something I alluded to in this blog post and have wanted to write about for a while. The French Girl, as we’ve come to know and define her, doesn’t really exist.

There is no French Girl who spends zero time on her appearance but is forever chic, who eats nothing but bread, cheese, and butter but never gets fat, and who is the perfect parent bringing up bébé but also a naughty kitten in the boudoir.

Elle n’existe pas. She is a figment of our imaginations.

The Irony of it All

This might seem funny coming from the person writing a blog that often aims to unravel the mystery of the all-mighty French Girl. Believe me, the irony is not lost on me.

When I write about French Girls, I know that I tend to make sweeping generalizations and romanticize the best bits of their culture while totally avoiding the not-so-great parts of it.

Are some French women incredibly chic? Oui oui. Do others have well-behaved children who eat alongside adults at dinner parties where the food is insanely delicious? They sure do.

But some wear color and many don’t have banging bods, and I even know a French woman who hates wine! Blasphemy, I know.

A Petit Grain of Sel

My main point here is to take all this French Girl stuff with a grain of salt.

French girls aren’t perfect. We aren’t perfect and, really, nobody is perfect. Thank god for that! Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we were all the same?

Of course, I’ll still be here writing about wining, dining, style, and funny French things because I genuinely like this stuff and it makes me happy. If you are here reading this, I guessing you like it all too.

The important thing is that we go on liking and doing this stuff because we choose to do so, not because we’re trying to live up to some unattainable ideal!

A Call to Action for All Women

It’s going to be a tough year where women will need to fight hard to defend our most basic rights.

In light of this monumental task, I propose we stop striving for perfection whether it’s veiled in the idea of the French Girl or whatever version society is serving up to us these days. It’s not really worth it. Plus, I think we’re all pretty amazing just the way we are.

So, here’s to women in 2017!

May we band together and fight the good fight. I promise to be right here beside you in my striped shirt and with a wine bottle at the ready so we can celebrate our successes.

P.S. You can get more information about the Women’s March on Washington and Sister Marches planned in other cities. I’ll be at the one in LA, hope to see you there!