So, first off, I have to apologize. I’ve been silent for longer than usual. But I have a good reason for that because… (drum roll please) I have partnered with the French Ministry of Agriculture to bring you today’s post! Yes, that means I am getting paid for this, and yes I was given these products for free, but you all know that I am committed to being honest and transparent and everything I’m about to say is 100% my opinion.
And you know what that opinion is? This food and wine is legit.
Seriously, the French have it all figured out. And because I have never actually been to France I have an opportunity to have my own French itinerary of sorts, right here in my Texas kitchen.
Yep – today’s post is about my culinary tour through France.
Spoiler alert: It also has an amazing recipe for prosciutto, brie and blackberry crostini at the end.
We begin in Cotes de Provence, where I tasted this delightful Rosé from Château D’Esclans. It’s one of my favorites of the bunch – light, crisp and dry, yet fruity with a very well-rounded finish. (Does that sound pretentious?) In all, I think it’s the most universally pleasing wine and can fit just about anyone’s tastes. My favorite part? It’s very smooth with no aftertaste.
Heading north to Alsace, I continued with two whites – a Riesling and Pinot Gris from Trimbach. The Pinot Gris is definitely the sweeter of the two, with fruity flavors like peaches and pears, but it has sort of a drier, nutty finish.
The Riesling is ultimately what I chose to drink with that killer charcuterie board below – did you know it pairs wonderfully with brie? It’s a healthy mix of fruity, floral and earthy flavors that works best with brie, grilled fish or sushi. I found both of these the most traditional wines of the bunch and best fit for classic tastes, and I especially enjoy the Trimbach family’s rich history.
Moving to the pastures of Meuse, I tasted the best brie I’ve ever had in my life. Seriously? Seriously.
So here’s something I didn’t know before today. Due to US laws on milk and manufacturing, we get really, really inferior cheese. Le Châtelain’s process fits within our laws using pasteurized milk and offers us literally the closest thing we’ll get to real, raw milk French brie without having to travel there. The kicker? This cheese won the GOLD MEDAL from France’s biggest food competition, Concours General Agricole. It’s amazing considering all of the other, actual raw milk brie they had to choose from.
Before trying this, Kevin and I actually thought we didn’t like brie. But what we don’t like is lame, American knock-off brie. Real French brie is incredibly pungent and divine.
Now to the heart of Normandy, where France’s #1 butter is made. And that title doesn’t come lightly. If you’re using store brand or American butter, it’s really time to up your butter game. French butter is where it’s at. It’s smooth, creamy, nutty and actually spreadable. That’s right, a butter that’s spreadable and not all hydrogenated oils.
And you know a butter is truly great when you can just spread it on a slice of crusty bread and it’s full of flavor.
And we finish in the Gassac valley of Languedoc, where one of France’s most esteemed vineyards is located. Mas de Daumas Gassac wines are considered “cult wines” – a title that only a handful of estates in the world have achieved. (In layman’s terms, that means people will shell out some SERIOUS CASH for these wines if needed and continue aging them at home)
They have a very unique way of approaching their wine. I mean, can you really say you know of a vineyard in 2017 that still uses horses to plow and sheep to control the grass? They hand harvest and age in a thousand year old cellar. It is a truly organic experience from planting and harvesting all the way to the day you pop the cork!
As for the taste, it can’t be beat. The red is a blend of over 18 different grape varieties – from Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir to Tempranillo – and it gets even more complex as it ages. Check out their site and click through to their wines, Mas de Daumas Gassac vintages, Red, then look at their tips for the Five Lives of Daumas Vintages. Again, these are cult wines, so if you have the appropriate space to store this wine it can be enjoyed even 20 years from now!
The Rosé is another story, and best enjoyed within the first two years of opening. This wine is so bubbly and fruity and refreshing, that I found this offered the most fun experience out of all of them. And with a low alcohol content, I had no problem day drinking (but again, do I ever?)! Pair it with fruit, chocolate or creme brulee to round out a magical afternoon.
So why did I choose this recipe to pair with these wines?
Well, it’s amazing. But also, because sometimes we get so caught up in our jobs, electronics, tv shows and everything else that we forget to just turn off and listen. I’ll be the first to admit that we eat dinner at the table less often than I’d like. So at least once a week, Kevin and I like to sit down, unplug and just talk. Bonus points if it’s over an awesome spread like this.
Life moves too fast. Sometimes it’s good to just slow it down over a delicious meal.
It also tastes similar to a Croque Monsieur or its American counterpart – the Monte Cristo – a perfect blend of savory and sweet.
So the recipe below uses few ingredients and literally almost no prep or cook time, but it’s a seriously delicious treat. It’s great for parties and an intimate dinner alike – and it’s exactly how I’m choosing to celebrate the end of Spring.
Want to know more about these brands? I personally will back any one of these – I thoroughly enjoyed them all.
Until next time. X
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Prosciutto, Brie and Blackberry CrostiniPrint
Prosciutto, Brie and Blackberry Crostini is a fast, simple and easy appetizer that’s perfect for parties and a quiet dinner alike.
- Preheat oven to 500°F or broil.
- Spread about 1/4 TB of butter on each slice of bread and place on a baking sheet, butter side up. Broil 2-3 minutes, or until the butter has melted and the bread begins to slightly brown.
- Tear each slice of prosciutto in half and place on top of the bread, then put 1-2 blackberries on top and a slice of brie.
- Place back in the oven for about 1 minute, enough for the brie to melt.
- Warm the blackberry jam in the microwave for 30 seconds until thin enough to pour. Drizzle over the crostini and serve warm.
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