In the last week I’ve been lucky enough to visit two very different wine events. The first was the Salon des Vins in Thoiry, where 48 different, and largely independent, producers from all over France were exhibiting. Entrance and tasting was free, you just needed to pay the small sum of €4 for a glass (which you get to keep) with which to taste the wines.
With so many producers to choose from it was hard to know where to start. There were a few regions and specialties that I wanted to try out and also I was with people who had been before and they were able to introduce me to some of their favorites. Obviously I couldn’t sample every stall, but there was so many different wines to try at each that despite being there for about 4 hours, I actually only made it to about 10 stalls in the end. However I definitely got my €4’s worth of use out of my glass.
Fairs like this are a great way to find some different wines form producers that you are unlikely to come across in the shops. I was on my bike and so as a result I was a little limited in how much I can by (it was an interesting ride home!), but in the end I got 5 really special bottles including two very unusual Alsace wines (a lemony Riesling and a rose scented Gewurztraminer) and a delicious sparkling pink Cerdon.
The other wine fair I visited was a very different affair – it was Lidl’s Foire aux Vins! Here you don’t get to sample the delights (which is a shame J) but you do get a huge variety of wines to choose from at great prices. A lot of the wines are award winning as well! This time the catalogue was 40 pages long and covered most of the major wine regions of France. Unfortunately in my store they didn’t have quite every wine from the catalogue that I’d had my eye on, but they still had a pretty good selection.
While Lidl’s normal selection is a little more hit and miss, I have never had a bad wine from their previous Foire aux Vins. So with many gold medal winning wine available for less than €3.50, and having a car rather than a bike to get my goodies home, I went a bit mad and bought 28 bottles. I don’t think I’ll need to go wine shopping again for a while now!
I’ve not just been buying wine this last week; I’ve also been doing some cooking! The two dishes that I wanted to share this week both involved showcasing one really good ingredient as the center of the dish, in these cases tarragon and goats cheese respectively.
To start the week I made a wonderful dish of sautéed chicken with a creamy tarragon sauce. I’m a big fan of tarragon and am always looking to include it in dishes so to make it the star of the show was a real treat. This dish is quick to make as well as being tasty which makes it a lovely meal to whip up on a work night when you don’t want to spend too long at the stove. Despite the creamy sauce this is actually quite light and works for these last hot days of summer.
The other big dish I made this week was the French classic salade aux chèvre chaud. Another quick supper this was a great way to use up more of my spicy salad leaves which have been growing profusely over the last week. I love the contrasts of this dish; the unctuous melted goats cheese and the crisp baguette, the tang of the cheese itself and the sweet pepperiness of the dress leaves – you can see why it’s so popular.