French Digestifs

Uncorking the mysteries

Image You know the scene: after finishing a great French meal, you’re feeling a little tipsy and definitely very full. You find yourself being offered more to drink. This time, the bottles your host opens bear mysterious labels: Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Eau de Vie, Crême, Genepy, Cointreau,. What is in those bottles?  Why are they only served after dinner?  Known as digestifs, these French after-dinner drinks are served after a meal because that is when your stomach is full enough to handle their high alcohol content (at least 35%)! Continue reading “French Digestifs”

La dolce vita

French sweet wines for the holidays

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Taverne Henri IV © WA Dudley

Mystified by the sweet wines of the cellar?  A stranger to the liquoureux section?  French holiday meals provide the fare with which to pair sweet wines. Some sweet wines are sweet because their juices became sweet on the vine. These are called vins doux naturels(VDN), with examples like Sauternes, Vouvray Moelleux, and Coteaux du Layon.  Others are sweet because alcohol was added to the wine after the winemaking; these are vins fortifiés.  Examples of the fortified kind are Maury, Banyuls, and Rivesaltes.  Fortified wines generally have an alcohol content higher than wine but less spirits. Continue reading “La dolce vita”