David, Mary and I arrived in Geneva early on a crisp October morning and, after collecting our rental car, set off for the town of Arbois, crossing the border from Switzerland into France. It was a beautiful ride along steep, sinuous mountain roads. (more…)
Archive for the ‘France’ Category
On a recent trip to New York, I was lucky enough to share a bottle of this lovely little Loire Valley wine with Brooke and Ayse from the Formaggio Kitchen Essex shop. I was immediately won over by its fruity aroma and delicate frothy fizz. Since this is a wine not normally brought into Massachusetts, I had to special order it from New York and our two cases just arrived today!
Made by Agnès et René Mosse on their 13ha farm in Anjou, this méthode ancestral* sparkler is made with organically farmed Gamay, Grolleau Gris and Grolleau Noir grapes from 25-30 year old vines. (more…)
We carry a number of AOC cheeses here at Formaggio Kitchen: Époisses, Langres, Comté and Fourme d’Ambert, to name a few. As a result (and not surprisingly), one of the questions that we often field on the cheese counter is what the term AOC actually tells us about a given cheese.
AOC stands for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (translating to: Controlled Name of Origin) and is a designation of process and provenance that is used in France. There are equivalents of the AOC program in other countries – in Italy it is called DOC (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata) or DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta)*, in Spain it is called DO (Denominacion de Origen) and, in the EU as a whole, the designation is PDO** (Protected Designation of Origin). (more…)
To us cheese nerds, Comté can become an obsession.
Perhaps best described as a French Gruyѐre, Comté seems to display a wider range of flavors than just about any other cheese we sell, and we enjoy delving into the nitty-gritty details of each wheel: its age, the location of the co-operative where it was made, and even the weather at the time the cows were milked. (more…)
I admit the name of this wine can be confusing. The bright pink liquid in this bottle has nothing to do with the fruit (black currant) or with the liqueur Crème de Cassis. Instead, this Cassis is the name of a pretty little town on the Cote d’Azur of Provence just between Marseille and Bandol. Cassis is also the name of the tiny wine appellation surrounding the town. This tiny A.O.C. encompasses only 490 acres (the Bordeaux A.O.C. is 150,000 acres!). Cool nighttime temperatures (thank you Mediterranean Sea!) and limestone soils give these wines a freshness and minerality that might be otherwise difficult to attain in such a warm place. (more…)
Here at Formaggio Kitchen – despite our obvious allegiance to the Italian word “formaggio” – our dedication to French cheeses and other produits du terroir is the foundation for our entire selection. So, visiting France and meeting the folks who make the dozens of different products we regularly import is a special experience – kind of like when you visit a college friend at home and meet their parents, see their neighborhood.
Every two years, France hosts a huge fair in Paris, Salon de l’Agriculture, to celebrate the people and products that make up the country’s agricultural scene. Imagine eight convention centers, each with a different theme — one hall full of wine, another full of olive oil, and even one full of animals. It’s a giant country fair, complete with medals and honors – Paris-style.
We attended earlier this year specifically for the cheese show, Salon du Fromage. This particular salon is open only to industry professionals and is an opportunity for cheesemakers, affineurs and distributors to display their products and chat with clients. Cheese industry folks from all over the world crowd the hall to see what’s new and catch up with associates. We bounce from appointment to appointment: discussing packaging options for a new large-format Epoisses, for instance, then meeting with a cheesemaker from the Pyrénées to taste sheep cheese and learn about the new co-operative dairy they are building to support area shepherds.