02 February 2013

Wine, Cheese and Gourmandise

No movie this week, as I am out of town for a meeting. Luckily for me, my meeting is in Paris, so I thought I would share what I did with my companion on Friday afternoon…

My companion and colleague had done some research before we left Montréal and found a printable free pass for two to the 6e Salon Mer & Vigne et Gastronomie. So we ventured forth! We were to get a shuttle from the Château de Vincennes metro and we thought we would test the lovely new tram that actually stops right behind our hotel in Pantin and arcs around the periphery of Paris, at least to the place we needed to go! A little walking…okay, a lot of walking…and we were at our destination, waiting for the shuttle in the rain!

A little local humour, as the information guy outside the metro station pointed to the shuttle pulling away (as we arrived) and tried to say there wouldn't be another for two hours. He couldn't keep a straight face, though, so we didn't lose a lot of time fretting over that one.

The exposition centre was in the Parc Floral de Paris. You might imagine that this is not the best time of year for flowers but no worries: we were there for wine…and cheese…and other such goodies! In the exhibition room next door was a sport fishing exhibit that we didn't go to, although we did notice the booth of a Gaspé salmon fishing guide (home will follow you anywhere). On the inside of the thing we were going to there was another Québec-based exhibitor, but we didn't spend our time tasting any of the products we take for granted at home.

For me, largely a story of chocolate and cheese, with just enough wine tasting to make me feel a bit tipsy! We were not classy enough to use the spittoon as we tasted, so there was a cumulative effect. I ended up buying a bottle of rosé and something else that needs a paragraph to itself, and my companion bought two reds. My chocolate purchases were not highly remarkable, but they are going to be very tasty and this is all you get of them. ;-) Note also the little set of sauces (pistou and such) that I am not even mentioning, so you can imagine how much I will share those, too.

My other bottled purchase. A cute and very flirty boy having us taste his aperitifs…one flavour after another. Each had a slang name that was rather racy, so he did get me revved up enough to buy the one that finishes with a chocolate taste. This one was named La turlutte au chocolat, which he informed us was another word for a blowjob. For all the flirtiness, he sort of lacked in perception, mistaking my companion and I for a couple, when he ought to have noticed my drooling and her disinterest.

Likewise the guy who sold me the monk's head cheese. Sounds awful, but it's a delightful cheese, and I got a nifty device that skims a thin layer of cheese from the top of it, leaving me with a cheese flower. This guy, also not very perceptive, offered the cheese flower to my companion, leaving me to whimper about his not having a flower for me. Nope, he wasn't going there.

Our final cheese experience was at the insistence of my companion, and it was served up by a lovely young woman (quelle surprise!). She told us some lovely stories about the very specific cattle breed that seems to have grudgingly given a little bit of milk to make a limited quantity of cheese. It's usually a meat cow, don't you know. So a giant slice from one of the huge special wheels for my companion, and a quarter round of a lovely soft cheese for me.

And with that, we were off. I pushed us into the metro (instead of repeating that long walk) and I got off at the right place to catch the tramway back to the hotel while my companion went further in the metro in order to have a good walk back. Lovely outing.

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