Natural Born Wine Lover (NBWL)

ENVOL VERS MILLE ET UNE SAVEURS

28 septembre 2017
ENVOL VERS MILLE ET UNE SAVEUR

ENVOL VERS MILLE SAVEURS: MON HISTOIRE

   Cette histoire raconte le mouvement magistral que j’ai entrepris il y a plus de 10 ans maintenant. Il s’agit d’un envol au départ de notre maison familiale dans mon pays natal, la Bulgarie: un nid embaumé aux parfums et aux saveurs et soigneusement «cuit » sous la main de ma mère, un véritable gastronome.

   À la fin de ma douce jeunesse marquée par le goût- autant traditionnel que divers- international, ma vie a pris une nouvelle direction: j’ai posé mes ailes ici en France, dans cet univers gastronomique hors norme. Je ne crois pas avoir été prête pour mon envol. On apprend à voler quasiment seul, en s’exerçant sur le chemin. Et sans aucun regret ou complexe j’ose le dire: de notre «restaurent familial» je suis partie avec un palais très expérimenté, pourtant sans pratique dans la préparation culinaire.

   À mon arrivée en France parmi les cadeaux reçus de ma « nouvelle » famille j’ai trouvé deux livres: «La Cuisine du marché» de Paul Bocuse et «Traité de Cuisine Bordelaise» d’Alcide Bontou. Un clin d’oïl discret d’un bienveillant qui n’a pas laissé une note, ni son nom! Drôle de circonstance aussi: j’avais apporté avec moi les deux cahiers de recettes que ma mère m’avait préparé: de mes mets préférés et d’autres à son goût. Il a été évident: il fallait que je me lance!

   La découverte de la cuisine traditionnelle française a été longue et intensive: les voyages dans le pays, les marchés des produits du terroir, la restauration à tous niveaux, ma formation en vins & spiritueux et surtout: la rencontre avec Monsieur Marchanseau, le propriétaire de la «Ferme du Ruisseau» dans la commune du Haillan, près de Bordeaux. Fin connaisseur de la cuisine française, cet inspirateur-gourmet m’a offert un long voyage au-dessus de la carte gastronomique du pays en me racontant ses «recettes et histoires- trésors» pendant 6 ans! Celle d’Antoine Parmentier m’a marqué pour toujours. J’ai trouvé que la persévérance et la passion avec lesquelles il avait poursuivi ses «affaires de tubercule», sa curiosité de novateur et sa générosité ont été exprimées dans la fameuse recette ‘Hachis Parmentier’- un des mets les plus aimés par les Français et adorés par ma famille

   En 2014, le jour lorsque j’ai dû quitter la France pour entamer un nouveau voyage, cette fois en Chine, j’ai pris mon temps pour expliquer à Monsieur Marchanseau ma vision sur la cuisine. À mon avis, elle doit porter sur la curiosité pour les produits, d’être basée sur la propreté (physique et mentale) de son créateur, de présenter ce mariage complexe entre la joie, l’harmonie, l’imagination et l’amour: ce que l’on trouve dans la bonne cuisine! Car tout ce que nous transmettons donne du goût! À la fin de ma « déclaration » et pour me souhaiter « Bonne chance », mon maître m’a offert un joli petit bouquet de fleures de pommes de terre. De ma part, j’ai partagé avec lui ma version de la recette de Hachis Parmentier, celle que je vous présente aujourd’hui.

JE   GOÛTE  LES  MOTS

Tous les ans, tous les mois et tous les jours- il me semble depuis loin plus que toujours- je goûte La Fête de la Gastronomie et j’invite ma famille à la table d’une féerie à la française- savoureuse, traditionnelle et en même temps… imaginaire!

Et chaque fois j’ajoute des mots pour orner cette préparation minutieuse. Car je considère que les mots, les expressions, les histoires en général possèdent un véritable goût! Il dépend comment parle-t-on, cela veut dire: si vous décrivez une mousse à la framboise il faut absolument savoir transmettre sa légèreté, son onctuosité, son air… « framboisement voluptueux ».

« Mmmmm! », diront les gastronomes qui connaissent bien les saveurs de ce poème framboisien!

« Mmmmm! », je répondrais sans hésitation. Prendre le temps de déguster et de discuter autour la table: c’est tellement FRANÇAIS!

Mais chut! En parlant de cela et je me vois à rentrer dans un monde où je danse comme magicienne autour les fourneaux avec une toute petite cuillère en main et je goût-, goût- goûte: inspirée, heureuse…

On a de la chance- les enfilages des jours ensoleillés dans le Bordelais nous amènent beaucoup de touristes et le travail ne cesse pas. Et néanmoins je trouve le temps pendant le week-end de La Fête de la Gastronomie pour mettre la table!

L’idée m’est venue spontanément: il y a à peu près un an depuis ma participation au concours culinaire de notre région Nouvelle-Aquitaine pour lequel j’ai créé la fameuse recette Envol Vers Mille Saveurs. Fameuse, car elle a attiré l’œil et a mis l’eau à la bouche d’une multitude de personnes, uniquement par son apparence! À l’époque nombreux étaient ceux qui ont voté pour elle sans l’avoir goûté, même sans avoir lu sa description!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=309536752763304&set=a.107669809616667.1073741827.100011209444764&type=3&theater

Car selon la réglementation, nous, les participants au concours n’avons pas eu le droit de dévoiler nos recettes.

http://www.aquitaine-terredegenie.fr/recette-selectionnee/envol-vers-mille-saveurs-hachis-parmentier-au-poulet-des-landes-puree-pommes-de-terre-au-citron-et-sauce-relevee-aux-noix/

Je me rappelle très bien combien de fois je l’ai dû l’avoir cuisiner afin d’obtenir la recette exacte: 7. « Je ne peux plus me répéter, je prends le risque d’être mangée« , j’ai pensé. Donc, il faut la modifier. Et sans trop d’hésitation, j’ai mis mon tablier et je me suis mise au fourneaux.

ENVOL VERS  MILLE  ET UNE  SAVEURS: LE NOM

Le nom que j’ai choisi de donner à mon plat évoque à la fois la légèreté et la complexité, celles que je considère très importantes pour rendre un met savoureux et pas pesant. Dans le mien la légèreté est apportée par le choix de viande de poulet, par la fraîcheur des parfums citronnés de la purée et sa texture aérée et onctueuse, mais aussi du gingembre, tandis que la complexité: par la présence du cèpe, du vin et des épices, de la graisse de canard aussi.

J’ai cherché à exprimer un envol qui se prolonge sur le palais et dans la mémoire. Un voyage sur les ailes de mille saveurs, et pourtant tout en gardant les repères terrestres. Et les racines donc ? Oh, on les sent ancrées dans les saveurs de la sauce qui accompagne l’envol !

 

ENVOL VERS MILLE ET UNE SAVEUR

 

ENVOL VERS MILLE ET UNE SAVEURS

Hachis Parmentier au poulet, fois gras, purée pommes de terre au citron et sauce relevée aux noix

Pour le hachis:

200 gr de blanc de poulet – 300 gr de cuisse de poulet sans os – 100 gr de cèpe frais (ou l’équivalent en cèpe séché ~ 20gr) – 100 gr de noix – 20 gr de gingembre cru – 2 C à s de graisse de canard – 10 cl de vin blanc sec – 2 C à c de sarriette séchée ou 1brin de sarriette fraiche – 2 C à c de sel – 2 C à c de poivre

+ ~ 100gr de foie gras CRU

Pour la purée :

800 g de pommes de terre – 4-5 C à s d’huile de tournesol – 2 œufs – 1 citron – 1 C à c de bicarbonate de soude – 3 cl d’eau – 1/4 tête d’oignon (de taille moyenne) – 1 C à c de sel

Pour la sauce :

150 gr de noix – 1/2 tête d’oignon (de taille moyenne) – 6 gousses d’ail – 20 cl de lait entier – 2 C à c de sel – 1 C à c de poivre noir – 1 C à s d’Armagnac

100 gr de fromage fermier au lait cru de brebi

***

1. Éplucher les pommes de terres et les faire cuire dans l’eau ou à la vapeur pendant 30 minutes jusqu’à ce que les pointes d’une fourchette rentre facilement dans la chaire.

2. Pendant ce temps nettoyer les cèpes : enlever la terre collée, les laver doucement sans les peler ni les éplucher. Couper les têtes en 4 si elles sont petites, en 8 s’il s’agit d’un grand cèpe.

3. Enlever les fibres de la viande de cuisses de poulet à l’aide d’un couteau pointu.

4. Hacher la viande du poulet à la main en petit morceaux de moins de 1cm.

5. Faire chauffer dans une poêle 1 cuillère de graisse de canard et faire revenir les cèpes pendant environ 5 minutes. Continuer en ajoutant la viande hachée et la reste de la graisse de canard pendant encore 3-4 minutes. Verser dans le robot cette préparation, ajouter les noix et le gingembre et hacher d’une manière brève: compter jusqu’à 4: afin d’obtenir des morceaux de gingembre et de noix pas trop petits et de les mêler dans le jus de la viande. Verser tout dans un bol, ajouter le sel, le poivre, la sarriette et le vin blanc. Laisser reposer au frais pendant la préparation de la purée.

6. Éliminer l’eau dans laquelle les pommes de terre étaient bouilles, laisser se dessécher pendant 5 minutes à la chaleur. Réduire les pommes de terre en purée lorsqu‘elles sont encore très chaudes : écraser les à l’aide d’un presse-purée. Ajouter un après l’autre les deux œufs. À l’aide d’un batteur électrique remuer (à vitesse très basse) la purée.

7. Presser le citron, verser le jus dans un verre, ajouter le bicarbonate de soude et l’eau. Verser dans la purée et remuer.

8. Presser l’oignon avec un mixer plongeant pour obtenir une sorte de mousse. Verser la dans la purée de pommes de terre et remuer. À la fin, ajouter le sel et une par une chaque cuillère d’huile de tournesol, remuer lentement jusqu’à l’obtention d’une purée onctueuse et légère.

9. À l’aide du mixer plongeant presser l’oignon et l’ail jusqu’à l’obtention d’une mousse.

10. Chauffer le lait dans une casserole, y verser la pousse oignon-ail, le sel et le poivre. Faire cuire à feu très doux en remuant périodiquement.

11. À l’aide du robot écraser finement les noix. Ajouter les à la préparation et continuer à remuer pendant une vingtaine de minutes. Une fois sortie du feu, laisser la sauce se reposer environ 5 minutes et y ajouter lentement l’armagnac.

12. Utiliser une toute petite quantité de graisse de canard pour huiler 4 mini cocottes rondes céramiques. Répartir la préparation du hachis dedans, couvrir et faire cuire au four préchauffé à température de 160°C pendant 8-10 minutes.

13. Découper le fois gras en 4 morceaux, former un petit trop dans le corps de chaque hachis en appuyant avec l’index, placer le foie gras et remettre en four pour 2-3 minutes.

14. Servir dans les assiettes, garnir avec la purée.

15. Râper le fromage en 2 tailles: finement et grossièrement. Parsemer le fromage au dessus. Ajouter 1-2 cuillères de sauce dans chaque assiette et décorer avec juliennes de gingembre et brins d’herbes fraîches.

Bon Appétit!

 

Wine Me Please

THE THREE GIFTS

31 mars 2017
THE THREE GIFTS

THE  THREE  KINGS

It is yet another year that January rolled down completely rounded, just like king cake [galette des Rois], and we voluntarily let it get us mixed up in its sugary-vanilla-milky fragrances. It all started on January 6th, by a crowned king cake for Epiphany. I though that if there were no crowns that adorn each one of these brioche-like sweet leavened breads (traditionally prepared for Greek Orthodox Easter) it wouldn’t be needed to explain its appearance on the table: it would be a tasty finish of a menu or just another afternoon snack melting on the palate.

Why does the king cake have a crown?”, “Why do we “have to” eat it?” and other similar questions accompanied the cutting of each king cake handed around the table of our family until the end of the month. It can’t be helped: we had to tell!

The biblical account of Epiphany is literally fabulous: the three kings, Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar brought three sacred gifts to the newly-born Son of God. But since the story is quite short we ran the risk of reactions like “A million of king cake eaten and a million of golden crowns cut just for that” or of turning it into a sketch for grown-ups who have already heard it and who now quite deliberately wore their crowns tilted to one side (if, by a miracle, the honor fell to them to wear it at all, of course).

To diversify the ritual sharing of the king cake I told them Michel Tournier’s Gaspard, Melchior & Balthazar, one of the most poetic and at the same time philosophical interpretations of the biblical story.

Obviously, I managed to transfer the mysticism that travels in each part of the novel and with each of the three kings until their arrival in Bethlehem because one night, after yet another piece of king cake was eaten, someone cried out: “Well, good, the three magi brought Jesus the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And what if they were not magi but fishermen instead?”

This is how our game began. It started like a king cake during many February nights shared with friends. “And what if they were not magi but…?” This was a game of imagination that led us to an area of our purely human creations and, in particular, to an object of special value that can serve as a gift. This is how a book, an inkpot with a quill, a compass, a map of the world, eucalyptus oil and many others appeared.

One evening, almost in the end of March, when we didn’t want to get busy in the kitchen but we wanted to have something simple and authentic so we cut some bread and cheese and opened a bottle of wine. This is the widely-known sacred French trio: bread, cheese and wine, and according to the French (and not only) it is a complete meal. And this also put an end to our game: the three magi had been transformed into a baker, a cheese-maker and a winemaker and their gifts carried another meaning, not less symbolical than the one of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And also an elemental one: to give someone food and water.

I shared it with two of the best, in my opinion, specialists among bakers and cheesemakers in Bordeaux: Florian LAMOUR of Lamour Bakery and Delphine LAPÉNA of L’Epicérie de Delphine. The three of us decided to brace ourselves up and combine 3 breads with 3 cheeses and 3 wines, entirely in the Bordelais tradition, i.e. in the three colors of red, white and gold. And here is what we made:

THE  THREE  GIFTS:

THE THREE GIFTS

1. Cheval blanc 2012: red wine as a gift and a symbol of strength and stability in life This wine is my idea of strength: it is based on a dense matter with deeply woven tannins. In any case, it is not brutal but supple and velvety: Cheval blanc has intense nose with floral notes of violets, peony, twigs of plum in bloom, with lots of red fruit: raspberry, red currant. The body has marvelous build, flexible and juicy. Its perfect match is a bread called Terron, a well-balanced mixture of two types of flour: wheat and buckwheat. Half-made with leaven, of complex essence, this bread slowly releases its fragrances and ends by a very fresh and continuous finish, just like the wine does. The cheese that completes the Holy Trinity is Brie de Luc Dongé, also called « The prince of Meaux », affinage of eight weeks. With soft, textured creamy pâte and rind of red stains. Unpressed, uncooked. 

THE THREE GIFTS

2. Domaine de Chevalier 2011: white wine as a gift and a symbol of optimism and elation in life. I chose it because of the feeling of constant freshness it emanates. I associate the rich aromatic palate that we find in it with Hope and Faith that soak our days. In Domaine de Chevalier Hope is manifested in the notes of citrus, fresh herbs, white flowers while Faith is manifested in the minerality that structures it. The bread in perfect harmony with this wine is wholegrain, with exceptionally dense body. This intensity perfectly balances the wine’s fine acidity. They are perfectly joined by Manigodine, a fermier Tomme de Haute Savoie, produced by Joseph Paccard, native of the village of Manigod. Circled by a spruce ring, it develops a large aromatic range influenced by the resins.

THE THREE GIFTS

3. Château de Rayne Vigneau 2013: sweet wine as a gift and as a symbol of relief and pleasure in life. As I associated sweetness with the optimal feeling of pleasure I chose the sweet wine of Château de Rayne Vigneau to depict this moment. Very ripe, almost compote apricots, saffron, acacia, honey and wax spread out on the nose and the palate to a remarkable finish. Just a little bit of the aromatic palete of this wine that can give relief to body and soul, to give them food and wine, both literally and figuratively. The wine is joined by a bread of very complex making: a mix of dried fruit such as apricots, white sultanas, hazelnuts. Roquefort Le Vieux Berger is an artisanal hand-made cheese prepared by using the extremely rare technique of the incorporation of the mould into the curdling sheep milk.

I guess all of your senses are awakened! There is nothing easier than to follow us: head along the road of Bordeaux wine and leave everything else in my hands – they have everything: bread, cheese and wine!

 You can find the complete range of artisanal breads at the LAMOUR Bakery: 157 rue Judaïque, 33000 Bordeaux

The complete range of cheeses is available at: L’Épicerie de Delphine, 44 rue des Remparts, 33000 Bordeaux

 


 

 

Wine Me Please

THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

10 février 2017
THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

The Banquet

THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

 

“A Chinese fairy tale has it that the rooster, one of calendar’s most generous animals, gives people as many treasures as are the feathers adorning its gay plumage. And when the time comes to announce the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the one it is to head, it crows 1001 times!”

“Oh, really! 1001 whole times” – the little black eyes sparkle with astonishment.

“But there’s more to it! Just a second after the last crow, 1001 red hens all dressed up bring 1001 platters with 1001 dishes and serve them graciously on the table intended for the New Year’s Banquet.”

At that imaginary sight the little eyes spread into a pleasurable contentment with a mischievous smile and a little gluttonous tongue quickly slips adding:

“The Banquet of the Fire Rooster! With 1001 treasures!”

The author of this newly composed story is Charles, a close friend of ours, and the little eyes, mouth and tongue belong to Julien, his four-year-old son. Of French-Chinese origin, he was born and raised here, in Bordeaux and has celebrated all Chinese New Years in France. The Chinese community expands and there are quite a few children like him growing up with both cultures.

We are quite a big company made up of Chinese and mixed, mostly Chinese-French, couples as well as people like me, true fans who have had the chance to touch China a bit more thoroughly thanks to having worked and lived in the country. We have found each other a long time ago and under different circumstances. Instead of the traditional group visit to a restaurant this year we decided to have a proper celebration of the Chinese New Year by a party of our own. The stakes, however, are high: each of us must prepare some more uncommon New Year recipe and choose a matching wine!

At the time in question we are respectfully queued up a mile-long line at the cash desk of one of the local Asian stores waiting our turn. And while we, the adults are making exciting comments on the preparation, the children start murmuring and hopping from foot to foot. I am trying to dispel their boredom by telling them about the real Chinese Banquet, the one that is neither “le banquet”, nor “the banquet” but the true, ceremonial, Chinese one with all of its splendor in all dimensions. About the one I experienced during my stay in China a couple of years ago, about the one described in William CHAN TAT CHUEN’s books.

I can’t help sharing about this sinologist specializing in “Food Culture and Rituals” who is of huge importance for me. A long-time chronicler of the “Culture Comes with Eating” in the monthly magazine Péquin de Paris, for me he remains one of the most profound connoisseurs of Chinese culinary art. At the table of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, At the Table of the Chinese Emperor, Varnished Bird/Bloody Bird: Cultural Dialogues between Chinese and French Cuisine, Chinese Holidays and Banquets: hardly is there a francophone interested in Chinese history and gastronomic rites who has not tasted his stories and the recipes served in there. In fact, it is thanks to him that the magical world of a novel unfolded in front of me some time ago: the world of Dream of the Red Chamber.

The banquet is a feast in Ancient China to mark the holidays of Emperor’s family or members of nobility, the seasonal holidays and official ceremonies. There were 8 kinds of registered banquets:

-Banquet for announcement of progress:Fengguang jia mian

-Banquet for Emperor’s Birthdays: Qingzhu shenshou

-Banquet to celebrate military victories: Qinggong zhujie

-Banquet to celebrate the seasons of agricultural calendar: Yangqing shijie

-Banquet in honor of vassal princes: Cian zhu hou

-Banquet of longevity: in honor of the elderly: Qianshouan

-Sacred banquet: Jisi zhili

– Banquet for weddings and funerals: Huanshan zhili

These banquets used to be organized by the Banquet Bureau, or Guanlusi. The number of invitees varied, the hierarchy was strictly observed.

           RUYI, or « May all your wishes come true! »

THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

Now, back to our “Banquet Bureau” in Bordeaux and the decision we have made to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Depending on the skills and preferences of each of us we were assigned the task to prepare a dish by trying to approximate the one in Emperor’s banquet as much as possible: in terms of opulence, finesse, and rarity of the products used, their original combination as well as the beauty of serving on the table. Everyone knows my strong attraction to Asian desserts with their delicacy. They do not stress on sugar, they rely on the natural sweetness of fruits and other components, their basic ingredient is rice flour, which is much finer than wheat flour and thus creates a sense of lightness.

The truth is their number is tiny compared to the main courses, soups and others and thus the challenge I took up – to prepare one of the desserts for the banquet – was even greater.

I will not hide the fact that in order to prepare the dessert I directly turned to Cao Xueqin’s novel Dream of the Red Chamber. It is a true encyclopedia of arts de la table et de la cuisine of the nobility of 18th century, the period when Chinese cuisine reached its apogee in all national practices, whether Chinese Han or Mandchoue. No other Chinese novel gives so precise details of the diet therapy, of the preparation of daily menus, of the food variations depending on the seasons, of banquets and holidays. One-third of the novel is dedicated to the “table”. The food as a ritual varying by season or as a token of love, attention and concern is represented everywhere in the book. For that reason Dream of the Red Chamber is considered a vade mecum for all great Chinese chefs. The recipes and banquets described in the book are an object of interpretations not only by renowned restaurants but by Chinese families in general.

In addition, for me it is the most poetic of all novels where the art of gastronomy is so densely present! I had read the novel a couple of times and I can describe some moments in great detail. That’s why it was not very difficult to find the recipe that was a perfect match: RUYI, or “May all your wishes come true”:  glutinous rice flour-based sweets that must be made in two colors. Do you imagine what a sheer perfect I had to make! Here is the recipe:

For the dough:

500 g glutinous rice flour

1/4 liter milk

2 egg whites

10 grams yeast

For the molding:

100 grams red sugar

100 grams black sesame paste

200 grams walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and dried fruits at choice

Make the dough and divide it in 2 parts: mix one with the red sugar, and the other one with the sesame paste. Roll out them into two identical rectangles. Sprinkle the white dough with the chopped nuts and dried fruits and place the black dough on top of it. Fold the edges twice and then cut the roll in pieces resembling RUYI

P1030037

THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

And as few people have heard about that odd object, here is a brief description: it is a type of wand worn by famous scientists as early as at the time of the Qing dynasty and it served as a gift symbolizing good prophecies. Similarly to ruler’s scepter it also served to impose authority. Its form and also the material used to sculpt it changed from one dynasty to another. One could also tell the title of its holder by its form. Little by little it assumed the form of a tile and a social function: when visiting the palace the holder of RUYI had access to the emperor. It is known that when Buddhism was introduced to China by the Han dynasty in the 1st century it accompanies the Buddhist texts. It was not until 1000 years later that it became a symbol of good prophecies and during the Qing dynasty it took the form of the lingzhi mushroom, a symbol of longevity and happiness not only because the Chinese attach to it some exceptional qualities that help them cope with the hardships of life but because it is very rare! Since then the wand was called RUYI, which means “May wishes come true!” in Chinese.

                    THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

      Desires Come True  &  Wu Nu Shan

I think that I was successful with my “Sweets of Desires Come True” and my selection of wine. It came quite spontaneously, as all nice things do. In 2016, we were invited and celebrated the Chinese New Year in Clos des Quatres Vents, a real pearl among the domains in the Margaux appellation of Bordeaux, owned by the Chinese Dynasty Winery. Along with the vertical tasting of the wines from Margaux, Lina FAN, the Executive Director of the domain provided us with the rare opportunity to taste Wu Nu Shan, a Chinese ice wine. Until then I had tasted Chinese wines only during the last Vinexpo 2015 that took place in Bordeaux. That master’s class left me with impressions that were quite… heterogeneous. I knew that the quality of Chinese wines was increasing by the day but I found the ice wine that came in the end of the Chinese New Year celebration to be on a world level. Made of Vidal, a Canadian variety of vines, themselves originating from Canada and planted in Huanren, the area currently called “Тhe Golden Ice Valley” by the Chinese.

I found that that was the wine that best matches my RUYI: with its exceptionally intense nose of quince, sweet but not intrusive, with continuous final freshness, with notes of dried pears and quinces and baked hazelnuts.

The night of our Chinese New Year the message of RUYI spread across the house. Whether because they had smelled the bottom of the glasses we had used to drink the ice wine Wu Nu Shan, or because we had managed to fully recreate the night of the 1001 treasures of the Chinese Fire Rooster, the whisper of the children, each one holding a candle in hand, was floating around the house for a long time: RUYI – RUYI – RUYI – RUYI…

THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

 

THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

 

THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

 

THE 1001 TREASURES OF THE CHINESE FIRE ROOSTER

Non classé, Parfums DiVins

A CUP OF KNOWLEDGE,ONE OF A KIND IN FRANCE

13 septembre 2016
A CUP OF KNOWLEDGE,ONE OF A KIND IN FRANCE

IPC,  l’Institut de Promotion Commerciale, CCI Bordeaux launches new training program: Coffee and Tea Trade

I love pleasant surprises served early in the morning! So, at the first French cock-crow  on September 7 I grabbed my cup and hurried to join the guests invited to the presentation of IPC’s new training program: Coffee and Tea Trade.

I experience my most “professional” morning awakening! In the hall of Destination, IPC’s partner company, we are welcome by Christine Lambard who is in charge of the five modules making up the tea and coffee program, and Yann Chaigne, Director of IPC and creator of the project. The mood has the delicate scent of energizing fragrances of the day and we started with a cup in our hands.

Our hosts and partners in the training courses are:

IPC, l’Institut de Promotion Commerciale:

  • Founded in 1974 by Bordeaux Chamber of commerce, the institute provides 3 specialized training programs (2 in Wine & Spirits, 1 in Tea & Coffee
  • The training courses are provided by professionals actively engaged in the field
  • Two options of programs: long (11 month) and module-based training
  • Huge network of former students: 1200 +

Destination:

  • A Bordelais company of more than 20 years of experience and presence on the market for tea and coffee
  • It has professional premises equipped with top class facilities; it is located in the immediate vicinity of IPC building where the courses in trading are held
  • It has a portfolio of more than 450 references for BIO-certified tea and 250 for BIO-certified coffee
  • Christine Lambard, the company’s chief buyer since 1999 and the wife of Destination’s founder, with many years of experience in knowledge sharing

By joining the Coffee and Tea Trade program IPC reaffirms its Grand Cru position among the specialized higher trading schools of Bordeaux:

The training cycle is long, 11 month, and it ends by sitting state exams. A state diploma of qualified specialist in coffee and tea trade is awarded upon the successful completion of the course as IPC is the only French institute licensed to grant this certificate. There are numerous modules in the program regrouped in trading and specialized “product” parts.  

IPC’s website offers comprehensive information about the institute’s training programs: http://ipc-bordeaux.com/

“We devised the training as a result of our extensive research and it aims to prove the need of specialists in this field,” says Yann Chaigne. A field that has seen a 35-percent growth over the past year…

We put ourselves into the hands of Christine Lambard who illustrates the presented training methods by introducing us to the world of coffee and tea by several practices. There is no stress and tension in the air, learning is a pure pleasure! The ambiance is more than pleasant: taste it!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

How did I know  IPC? In the beginning was the wine:

I could not have written these lines with such awareness if I had not experienced it: back in 2009 fate literally poured me the glass of “challenge” in a row and offered me to take a sip of a new knowledge: the knowledge of wine and spirits. The city: Bordeaux, the exact location: the Institute of Commercial Promotion of Wines and Spirits with Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce.

The name of the educational institution in itself excludes the feeling of “dryness” of the kind that could be associated with academic institutions pretending to offer in-depth educational programs. For despite of the comprehensiveness of the long course of study at IPC (9 months and 40-plus academic week) with its commercial, marketing, communication and information modules, there was no room for “dryness”.

The very beginning speaks for that: as early as on the first day we were handed a tasting glass in which we poked our noses many times a day and which did not abandon us until the very last day when we sat the exam in wines and spirits of the world.

For me, as a person curious by nature and of well-expressed intolerance for monotony the hours spent in endless nose and palate “training” and in “boning” wines from all over the world recharged me and made me very happy. However, to be frank I must admit that at that time thanks to the method of teaching the trade subjects of the professionals actively engaged in the field that was definitely anything but “dry” an understanding of numbers arose and developed in me. My God! I started loving the logic they unconditionally create as well as their (potential) stability bringing balance into my eccentric nature. So to speak: when I left the institute, diploma in my hand, I felt like a positively charged element ready to jump into the world of wine and commerce. Plus the pleasure I took in the contacts with former students. And IPC’s network is remarkable: after all it is a school with 42 years of history!

I will not hide the feeling of gratitude for the support, both moral and practical, I have received while I’ve making my way into the domain over the years that followed. And also the pleasure of seeing how IPC grew to the position of Grand Cru among Bodeaux’s specialized higher schools of commerce.

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Me Please

SHORT VOYAGE TO EAST WITH LONG AFTERTASTE

28 août 2016
BLOG

From East to West: myth & history
From its position: the birthplace of the Western civilization, and relating to the history of the New World (Americas and Oceania), Europe proudly wears the name ‘The Old continent’. But as we know: everything is relative. If we take a look at the history of the Ancient world but also at the history of European art & literature from ancient Greek times, we will definitely admit that the image of the Old continent is so much closer to the image depicting by the myth of the abduction of Europa – from whom our continent takes its name – by Zeus, who has taken the form of a bull. According to the story, the very young woman undertook a voyage towards the West. Leaving the myth and talking historically- in the 1st century BC the centre of European gravity literally moved to West. So to say, Western Europe is not that OLD! And more: at the beginning there was the initial movement from East to West!

East-West-East:
It’s Sunday, 28th of August, the temperatures dropped from about 5-10°C and it’s time for a definitive relax. Having a glass of wine makes part of it: it is a Bulgarian VIOGNIER 2014 of the winery EOLIS which will round out the character of the week :-).

The legend says that VIOGNIER has Dalmatian origins (already on East of the West!) and it has been brought to France during the reign of Probus, famous as “The Wine Emperor”. I would simply add “Great” to his nomination :-). (It was in fact he who annulled the edict of Emperor Domitian and his order in 92 AD which resulted in the destruction of Northern vines and officially prohibited for nearly two centuries the planting of grape vines in the Roman Empire. Probus’ new orders encouraged the planting of new vines in these northern Roman colonies.)

I wouldn’t complain- my best VIOGNIER experiences and memories are of Condrieu wines: the small and precious appellation of 168ha exploited by 114 professionals. Wines with extreme intensive aroma expressions on exotic fruits as mango, with floral notes on violet, sometimes enriched by fine iris aromas, with fully ripen sweet peaches and apricots, round up by a deep richness on the palate and followed at the finish by a delicate acidity.

VIOGNIER & FOOD:
Classic pairings are with river fish, crayfish, langoustine, scallops, goat ripened cheeses, but also with fois gras, poultry, artichoke and Asian spicy dishes.

VIOGNIER 2014, EOLIS in a match with EGGPLANT CAVIAR  & WHITE TRUFFLE CREAM
Ingredients for 4 people:
– 2 middle to big size eggplants ~ 400g
– 60g white truffle cream
– 1 tea spoon of hazelnut paste
– the juice of 1/2 lemon
– salt, white pepper

In order to bring the pleasure to a higher point, I proposed quail eggs. Small sized,  with intense flavours, they completed perfectly the creamy texture of the eggplant caviar. And if you have forgotten- the wines elaborated from VIOGNIER grapes are the rare to match with eggs! Table grapes joined this great light Sunday brunch!

A little bouquet of fresh herbs: basil, shi-so and chive decorated not only the table but added some scents to the food & wine harmony!
In the West European culture basil and chive are quite popular, shi-so not that much. There exist two varieties: green and violet. The violet possesses more fruity expressions, while the green one is quite spicy and this is the reason one to choose it: the wine we taste opens up with beautiful floral notes and develops very ripen sweet peaches aromas, has a deliciously spicy finish!

All from me for the moment! Saying to you Cheers or Наздраве- how we say it in Bulgarian!

Natural Born Wine Lover (NBWL)

LET YOUR NOSE BE YOUR PILOT

25 août 2016
LET YOUR NOSE BE YOUR PILOT

Fragments about the NOSE:

—-> The NOSE is the first key to the soul. Or if I have to go into details: the NOSE is the key to the WINE soul.

—-> Sometimes, when I deeply inhale with my NOSE, I trully believe that pineapples, blackcurrant, mangos, candied fruits, violets, safran, black                   cherries, black pepper, raspberries, nuts, toasted bread, chocolate, leather and more² will pass through my mouth, by exhaling!

—-> My NOSE, these are my arms! But it happens, sometimes, that I need PEACE, please! Do not provoke it in a bad way!

—-> My NOSE does exercises every day.

—-> I love to put my NOSE only in my glass (or in the glass of my chéri).

—-> I only trust MY NOSE!

—-> The only time when I touched my NOSE in order to check whether it was on its place, it was after reading Gogol. Long time ago…

Let Your Nose Be Your Pilot! It will guide you well!

Wine Me Please

Red Rocks & Vanilla Spicy Clouds

23 août 2016
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Sweet wines have  always been a challenge for wine lovers who are in search of new food & wine pairing temptations. Especially for those who love to experiment « unedited » flavours and matches. In this matter sweet wines offer a large range of…surprises !!!

They are often to be recommended to sea food, to poultry meals, to dishes with spicy character (all kind of spices), to some specific cheeses (try to explore others than Bleu d’Auvergne and Roquefort, please!), to Asian delicacies (due to their sophistication and subtlety), but also to chocolate (mostly dark), to « creamy » desserts, to dry fruits and nuts.

Sweet wines possess a big capacity to influence meals by :

  • coating meats of refined lean texture- mostly poultry- with flavours
  • creating complexity of sweet-salty expressions- sea food, cheeses, roasted nuts
  • moderating spiciness by giving another dimention to it
  • bringing freshness and tastes to tender creamy textures
  • extending the fruity expressions of dark chocolate

Oh, I have already the sensation of sweet roundness in my mouth ;-).

But let’s be back to the idea of this writng :

Few months ago Château Guiraud, 1er Grand Cru Classé of Sauternes have organized a culinary contest: Le Grand Concours Cuisine. It was about the elaboration of original recipe of a meal that needed to match perfectly to the wine of the property. I have participated in it => http://chateau-guiraud-magazine.com/blog/grand-concours-de-cuisine-du-chateau-guiraud-2 and Oh mon Dieu! I still don’t know how it happened but… it was me who won the prize ! Feeling blessed… !

I remember: at that time I was really  involved in the creativity- tasting, tasting, tasting. The idea for the dessert which you can find below came to me in the same way as the recipe of the giant prawns with the crown of vegetables, wine and oolong tea- the winner. We could participate in the contest with only one recipe, so I said to myself that if I win the prize, I will dedicate this dessert to the wine of Château Guiraud. Because since the beginning it was the WINE that inspired me.

You can find it here : it is complex, not too sweet, nicely fresh, slightly spicy and easy to be prepared.

Ingredients for 4 people :

  • orange sweet potatos   ~ 300g
  • 2 tablespoons of crushed roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 tea spoon of grated ginger
  • 2 or 3 tablespoon(s) of maple syrup
  • 1 kg of vanilla ice cream ANGÉLYS
  • 1 tablespoon of candied orange peel cut into small pieces
  • 4 small hot chillies
  • 4 cherries

Preparation :

Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them into slices and steam them. Once cooked, put them into a muselin kitchen cloth in order to drain them. Crush them with a fork until you obtain a soft puree. Add the maple syrup, the hazelnuts, the ginger and the candied fruits. Mix them well. With the help of a pastry syringe, at the bottom of a dessert plate form a base shaped in middle size roses.

Cut the chillies with the point of a knife, try to preserve their shape. Take out the seeds. In a very small recipient heat up the maple syrup and caramelize the chillies and the cherries.

Serve the ice cream on the base and decorate with the caramelized chillies and the cherries.

Enjoy with a glass of Château Guiraud wine! Recently we have tasted the following vintages: 2000 – 2008 – 2011. Irresistable, three of them, in three different moments of the life of the wine. Cheers! Cheers! Cheers!

 

 

Natural Born Wine Lover (NBWL)

NATURAL BORN WINE LOVER

20 juillet 2016
Yana blogue

in red and white

Who am I and how it happened?

Natural Born Wine Lover: the name appeared spontaneously. It is absolutely not related to the feeding concept of my mum, if I go back to my earliest childhood. No, no, she hasn’t replaced the milk with wine, preparing our traditional Bulgarian breakfast milk-sops*. It is also not due to my professional occupations, if you have ever thought that more wine flows in my veins, than blood. But it is still related to my past and it seems to flow as a powerful stream towards my future. Always in a natural way.

I surely could entitle my writings “From Passion to Love” 😉 but it would be too light as a description of my wine-destiny or as an expression of my wine soul. Because wine is a serious creation. But it is alive and this is the reason why I don’t have the intention to handle it with gloves. So please, don’t expect to find here something like a ‘wine soup opera’. The lines that follow explain why.

Origins in red & white: how could it be easy! With two countries of origin, two seas, one mountain, two small family vineyards: my blood flows through thousand vine roots.

Bulgaria, transmitted by my mother, is vertical and structured  but also mystical, like the Balkan mountain, where my first grape harvests’ memories grow up, in the small property of my grandparents. Dense, sticky and tannic are the wines. Home made banitsa** and sausages, thick white sheep cheeses, fire roasted red paprika and … with savory flavoured farm chickens- red memories of a perfect wine and food pairing. A pure culinary resurrection! Here why am I ‘winely’ red.

Then literarily blown by the White Sea wind, there were my Greek great grandparents on my father’s side who had settled on the Black Sea coast, in Bourgas, always in Bulgaria. One image is stuck in memory since that time- the fine and delicate gesture of my Greek grandfather- the way he breaks the wax and uncorks the bottles of his Muscat Ottonel, as elegant as his creator. And the tradition to have half of glass for lunch with him, appreciating wine and food.

My ‘white’ memories « dry » salted like the silver scad’s bodies and the shark fish fillets on the balcony of the house. But also the freshly caught mussels cocked with white wine and rice, Greek white almond cookies…It is the Sea that makes me feel ‘winely’ white!

Youth – studies in Literature in the oldest and most prestigious Bulgarian university- the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”- bohemian and rich cultural life; discovering how wine lives in the masterpieces of the classical literature- words are slowly swallowed in sips.

I told you, it wouldn’t be easy! Because if  I owe my passion for literature & writing to one great grandmother, a poet, the spirit of adventure was injected in my veins by another part of my family, famous with its old trade and travelling traditions.

Work & travelling, 2001-2004: based for three years in Florida- departure point for thousand voyages.

Bordeaux: invited by a family friend, a painting restorer, first visit in 2004 and fall in love! First sips of Bordeaux wines on-the-spot! Naturally followed by the decision for the creation of ‘Bridges- Art & Wine’- « my » travel gallery. Time of establishment and enlargement of connections between people involved in art & wine- exhibitions in Bordeaux and “Gothique Hall”, St.Emilion. More and more wine tastings, so natural in this old wine landscape.

2006: wine & art in their natural symbiosis: first large diagonal tasting of GCC of St.Emilion, invited by a British friend- manager of based in Saint Emilion wine cellar. But also first bottle of wine received as a gift by a Dutch world traveller who has spent a night under the paintings in the “Gothique Hall” of St.Emilion. Wine- a friendship’s creator.

And here the most natural result, the fruit of my passion, knowledge and work: October 2009graduation from the Institute of Commercial Promotion Wine & Spirits, Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce [IPC Vins & Spiritueux] with best written diploma and viva on it.

China, China! I can’t hide my attraction for East. 2012: based in Shanghai, where for 2 months I was exploring the amazing life and Chinse culture. Directing the wine & gourmet page of the Shanghai’s life style magazine Xin Shang Together with a Chinese colleague. Tasting, tasting tasting and pairing Chinese food with wines. 2014 and my dream came true: an year long new Chinese experience: Shenzhen- dynamic and dense!

It was exactly there when to a question of a Chinese person from where do I come from, I simply replied that I am from the Wine Earth :)! I am a Natural Born Wine Lover.

Nothing more to say than: I hope that you will be here so that we could enjoy wine and more together! Cheers!

*milk-sops- bread cutted to small to small bits to which is poured hot milk and is added shugar

**banitsa- tradionaly prepared with phyllo pastry (readymade or homemade) and different fillings such as white cheese, eggs and plain yogurt