Monthly Archives: September 2013

More wine… :)

Cardinal Richelieu, the French clergyman, noble and statesman said, “If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good?” His full name was Armand Jean du Plessis, cardinal-duc de Richelieu et de Fronsac (9 September 1585 – 4 December 1642). I so agree with this quote 😉

And, thank goodness, that a large body of research assures us that wine has some serious health benefits. Here are a few:

-Promotes Longevity

-Reduces Heart-Attack Risk

-Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

-Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

-Lowers Risk of Stroke

-Cuts Risk of  Cataracts

-Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer

-Slows Brain Decline

So, what’s there not to like about wine ;)? Just don’t abuse the quantity imbibed, that’s all!


The foodies say yaayyy :)

Did you know about the Geographical Indications and Traditional Specialities in the European Union? All foodies will say a resounding YAY to this!

Three European Union schemes of Geographical Indications and Traditional Specialities known as protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI), and traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG) promote and protect names of quality agricultural products and foodstuffs. This Regulation ensures that only products genuinely originating in that region are allowed to be identified as such in commerce. The purpose of the law is to protect the reputation of the regional foods, promote rural and agricultural activity, help producers obtain a premium price for their authentic products, and eliminate the unfair competition, and misleading of consumers by non-genuine products, which may be of inferior quality or of different flavour.

These laws protect the names of wines, cheeses, hams, sausages, seafood, olives, olive oils, beers, Balsamic vinegar and even regional breads, fruits, raw meats and vegetables. These laws also cover the following three varieties of the Turrón, a confection from Spain, that have Protected Geographical Status under EU laws:

– Xixona (Jijona) (PGI) – Valencian Community
– Torró d’Alicant (PGI) – Valencian Community
– Torró d’Agramunt (PGI) – Catalonia

Foods such as Gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Piave cheese, Asiago cheese, Camembert, Somerset Cider Brandy and Champagne can only be labelled as such if they come from the designated region. To qualify as Roquefort, for example, cheese must be made from milk of a certain breed of sheep, and matured in the natural caves near the town of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in the Aveyron region of France, where it is infected with the spores of a fungus (Penicillium roqueforti) that grows in these caves.

Maintain this distinction and purity, we say! 🙂


Who knows what is turrón?

I didn’t, until the beautiful gift I got today from a friend who recently returned from Spain. Those who know ‘nougat’, well, it’s the Spanish version of the nougat…but made with toasted almonds, honey, sugar and egg-whites. Here’s the picture of the turrón I got today, complete with the packing!

2013-09-01 19_39_40I have to say it is absolutely delicious, although very rich. The ingredients are the same but the cooking method may vary, producing either the hard and crunchy type, from Alicante, or the soft and chewy kind, from Jijona, a city north of Alicante, where it’s been known since at least the 15th century. The one in the picture is the latter. It is eaten in Spain, the Latin-American countries, and in Roussillon in France.

It is traditionally a Christmas treat in Spain, and no home is without it at that time of the year. However, nowadays it is available through the year!



At the End of the Day…

…what really matters, is how grateful we were for what we already have, and how successful we were in keeping our spirits high!!! This isn’t easy, you say? Sure – no one said it would be easy,  but if you care about what the rest of your life is going to be like, and want it to be good, then being grateful is guaranteed to be the shortest way to it! Loving what we already have, brings us all else that we wish to have! This, you can take to the bank! 😉


Did you hear the one about… :)

…how wines affect us? According to Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, French lawyer and politician, who gained fame as an epicure and gastronome:


untitled“Burgundy makes you think of silly things,

Bordeaux makes you talk of them,

and Champagne makes you do them.”


He also said: “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine” 🙂


Toasting in France:

This is how the French toast people, or say ‘Cheers’: The French expression à la vôtre is the most common way to toast people. It’s a contraction of à votre santé, Use à la vôtre with a group of people in an informal situation.

In a more formal situation, whether talking to one person or to a group, it’s better to start with à votre santé. After someone says à votre santé, you can then respond with (et) à la vôtre. To toast just one person in an informal situation, say à la tienne. Again, it can be in two parts: À ta santé ! Et à la tienne ! Be careful about the difference between the formal and the informal — the French can be very offended if the distinction is not maintained!

A group can toast itself with À notre santé ! and À la nôtre ! My friends and I quite regularly use this last form…

All the ‘toasting’ related information is from Laura K. Lawson, of Thank you, Laura — being a Francophile, I just adore your column!