Category: wine

March 17th, 2014 by ptinfrance

Spotted these boxes in a restaurant in Burgundy. Note: “jaja” is slang in French for wine.

Posted in language, wine

January 17th, 2013 by ptinfrance

Posted in Bourgogne/Burgundy, photos, wine

July 28th, 2011 by ptinfrance

We’ve passed by a little village called Nolay dozens of times without stopping on our way from our house to Beaune. The place seemed unremarkable on the surface but we finally decided to visit it one day to check out the antiques stores on the main road.
nolay france antiques store bourgogne burgundy
As usual and luckily, we wandered around while we were there.
nolay france cats bourgogne burgundy
It turns out that Nolay is awesome.
nolay france bourgogne burgundy
Most people who’ve been here would cite the beautiful, arcaded central market place, which dates back to the 14th century.
nolay france arcaded central marketplace bourgogne burgundy
The roof is made of limestone (weighing 800 kg/1800 lbs per square meter) and the frame holds everything together with chestnut wood beams.
nolay france arcaded central marketplace bourgogne burgundy
But to me, the salon de thé right next to the central market place, La Thé dans la Vigne, is Nolay’s real gem.
nolay france le the dans la vigne salon de the bourgogne burgundy
With delicious home made desserts, light fare meals, fine wines,
nolay france le the dans la vigne salon de the bourgogne burgundy
an adorable, sweet and hospitable owner (Sylvie Blanchard),
nolay france sylvie blanchard le the dans la vigne salon de the bourgogne burgundy
eclectic quirky French decor,
nolay france le the dans la vigne salon de the bourgogne burgundy
antique books and newspapers in French and English. antique dishware and silverware and housed in a a building that dates back to 1810, you will only feel comfortable and happy in such a warm, cozy place.
nolay france le the dans la vigne salon de the desserts bourgogne burgundy
Everything we ordered was tasty and since we couldn’t decide which dessert to have, our kind hostess prepared a plate with everything on it, including a bowl of her whisky infused fruit – the latter being delicious but crazy potent!

Le Thé dans la Vigne
8, place des Halles 21340 Nolay France
Télephone :+33 (0)3 80 26 87 31
Open 10:30am to 9:30pm during warm months Tuesday to Sunday. Closed November 30 to April 1. Reservations recommended.

Posted in Bourgogne/Burgundy, Cote d'Or, food and drinks, pastries, people, restaurants, tips, travel and places, travel tip, wine Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

February 18th, 2010 by ptinfrance

The French had to do SOMETHING with all that surplus wine, I guess.

From AFP:

A French court on Wednesday handed out suspended jail terms and hefty fines to 12 wine industry figures for selling millions of bottles of fake Pinot Noir to US wine giant E&J Gallo.

wineThe defendants, including executives from wine estates, cooperatives, a broker, wine merchant Ducasse and conglomerate Sieur d’Arques, were convicted of selling 18 million bottles (135,334 hectolitres) of falsely labelled wine.

The wine was sold under Gallo’s popular “Red Bicyclette” Pinot Noir label, though made from far less expensive grape varieties.

The court in Carcassonne in southwest France, which heard that the accused made seven million euros in profit from the scam, gave them suspended jail sentences of between one and six months and fines from 3,000 to 180,000 euros.

The judge said that “the scale of the fraud caused severe prejudice to the wines of Languedoc in the United States.”

The scandal broke in March 2008 when France’s fraud squad became suspicious during an audit at wine merchant Ducasse.

Ducasse had been buying Pinot Noir at 58 euros per hectolitre when the official market price was 97 euros, and generic local grape varieties were selling for 45 euros.

Meanwhile, the volume of wine from the renowned Pinot Noir grape being sold to Gallo far exceeded the possible supply from the region.

After a year-long judicial investigation, the defendants were accused of substituting wine made from less expensive local grape varieties for the Pinot Noir, which is popular on the American market.

The industry fears that the swindle, which began in 2006 and ended in 2008, could undermine the credibility of fellow French winegrowers.

“If Americans lose confidence in French wine production, particularly the Languedoc region, which is already going through a serious crisis, the consequences could be terrible,” prosecutor Francis Battut told AFP.

Posted in food and drinks, wine Tagged with: , , , , , ,

December 11th, 2009 by ptinfrance

From the nytimes:

NOTHING about Châteauneuf-du-Pape is sleek or polished. It’s a rough-and-tumble wine, sometimes ungainly and fierce, but just as often warm, open, generous and full of pleasure.

It can be intense and complex — it’s not at all simple. Yet it sometimes can be as friendly as a big good-natured dog. Occasionally, it’s too friendly.

I was thinking about the overbearing side of Châteauneuf recently after the wine panel had completed a tasting of 20 bottles from the 2007 vintage. For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by two guests, Vanessa Treviño Boyd, sommelier at Adour, and David Gordon, wine director at Tribeca Grill, which offers what is most likely the widest selection of Châteauneuf in New York.

We found some wines we liked very much, yet on the whole the 2007s left me unexcited. Stylistically, they presented Châteauneuf’s too-friendly side. Châteauneuf is always a big wine, but these wines were huge — full of lush, opulent fruit with powerful, jammy flavors.

If you like fruit-bomb wines, you will love …

Continue reading

Posted in food and drinks, Languedoc-Roussillon, news, products, shopping, tips, wine Tagged with: , , ,

March 6th, 2009 by ptinfrance

michelin red guide paris france restaurants 2009 From newsweek:

“This week brought the release of the new Michelin Red Guide, prompting foodies to run and see which chefs had been awarded stars—the top honor in restaurant criticism.

The guide, whose English edition arrives mid-May, sells 1.3 million copies a year in its various editions.

Its star system rewards expensive restaurants, of course. But the guide also has a lesser-known rating for affordable restaurants. Toward the back of the guide, there’s the “Bib Gourmand” section in which Michelin recognizes places that offer excellent three-course meals for less than €35 ($44) each.

This year, 47 Paris restos are on the Bib Gourmand list—a record. Many of these spots are new additions to the list. My favorites include:

• Le Baratin,, 3 rue Jouye Rouve, 20th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-49-39-70

• Le Bistrot Paul Bert, 18 rue Paul Bert, 11th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-72-24-01

• La Cantine du Troquet, 101 rue de l’Ouest, 14th arrondissement, 011-33/1-45-40-04-98.

• L’Entêtée, 4 rue Danville, 14th arrondissement, 011-33/1-40-47-56-81

The above restaurants are not open every day of the week, so call ahead to confirm and to see if reservations are needed.”

More about The Michelin Red Guide France 2009

Posted in books/magazines, food and drinks, MOF Meilleur Ouvrier de France, news, paris, restaurants, reviews, tips, travel and places, travel tip, wine

February 20th, 2009 by ptinfrance

From timesonline:

“With gloom all around, President Sarkozy’s Government might have chosen another moment for its latest campaign. This one tells the French people to stop drinking wine.

To the anger of the drinks industry and disbelief of many patriots, the Ministry of Health has made alcohol one of the chief villains in a drive against cancer.

“The consumption of alcohol, and especially wine, is discouraged,” say guidelines that are drawn from the findings of the National Cancer Institute (INCA). A single glass of wine per day will raise the chance of contracting cancer by up to 168 per cent, claims the ministry’s brochure.

Forget those 1980s findings that antioxidants in wine were good for health, said the French experts. “Small daily doses of alcohol are the most harmful. There is no amount, however small, which is good for you,” said Dominique Maraninchi, INCA’s president.
Related Links

* Men’s alcohol-linked deaths double in 16 years

* Health chief wants ban on under-15s drinking

Authorities elsewhere have been telling people in recent years to go dry if they want to stay healthy. But the advice was especially sobering, coming from the Government of France, a country where wine is part of life and the national heritage.

The pleasantly illustrated ministry brochure makes grim reading. The INCA collated hundreds of international studies and summarised the relation between types of cancer with food, drink and lifestyle. Apart from wine, the dangerous stuff is red meat, charcuterie and salt. A pavé de rum-steakmight not sound so mouth-watering after reading: “The risk of colon-rectal cancer rises by 29 per cent per 100-gramme portion of red meat per day and 21 per cent per 50-gramme portion of charcuterie.”

Alcohol facilitates cancers of the mouth, larynx, oesophagus, colon-rec-tum and breast, say the guidelines.

The wine producers are crying foul, accusing the health lobby of trying to kill one of the glories of the nation. They note the suspicious coincidence that France now has its first teetotal President. Mr Sarkozy sips mineral water and orange juice when all around him are knocking back the champagne and burgundy.

“This persecution of wine has to stop,” said the General Association of Wine Producers. The growers say that the scientific evidence is contradictory and they point to a World Health Organisation study which found that moderate consumption helped to prevent cancer.

Xavier de Volontat, president of the wine producers’ assocation in the southwestern Languedoc region, said: “The extremists must not be allowed to take consumers hostage . . . Wine consumption has dropped by 50 per cent over the last 20 years in France but cancer has increased. You have to admit, that’s a paradox.”

“We never said that alcohol is not dangerous for health,” Mr de Volontat said. “We are for responsible, reasonable and moderate consumption . . . It is not in our interest to see our consumers dying of cancer or in car accidents.”

Vintage statistics

– 60 litres of wine consumed per head in France in 1997

– 56 litres of wine consumed per head in 2005

– 2 per cent decrease in the sale of wine in France in 2007 (by volume)

– 1 per cent decline in sales (by value)

– 2,134 acres of land estimated to be used for vineyards across France

– 5 million litres: the amount of wine estimated to be produced by France annually

– 34 per cent of the world wine market is made up of French exports “ [source]

Posted in daily life, news, weird, wine

November 11th, 2008 by ptinfrance

beaujolais nouveau hello kitty plastic bottlesFrom japantimes:

“This year’s first shipment of Beaujolais Nouveau arrived Friday at Narita and other airports in Japan, with worldwide sales of the French wine set to kick off Nov. 20.

Japan, one of the first nations able to taste the fresh, young red, which is traditionally drunk at midnight, is expected to import only 6.48 million bottles this year, down 20 percent, according to Asahi Breweries Ltd., a major importer and distributor of the wine.

This year’s batch has a good combination of ample fruitiness and moderate acidity, partially due to the sunny and cool weather the Beaujolais region received in September, the company said.

“Although pricey bottles, including those from select farms, tended to be a topic of conversation until last year, reasonably priced standard bottles may gain popularity again this year, partly because of an economic downturn,” a company official said.

On Thursday, Aeon Co. said it will offer this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau at a discount, thanks to cost-cutting efforts and a strong yen.

Aeon said its “special” Beaujolais Nouveau will hit store shelves in 750-ml plastic bottles instead of glass, and priced at ¥1,780, undercutting the average market price of ¥2,000 to ¥3,000.

Aeon said the discount was made possible by an arrangement that allows it to purchase the young wine directly from the winemakers.

Aeon said it will not accept advance orders for the wine and it will be available only through its 255 Jusco supermarkets in Honshu and Shikoku, it said.

But advance orders will be allowed for other imported Beaujolais Nouveau products, and the company will give out discount tickets worth ¥100 each for those.”


Related: Beaujolais Nouveau Wines to be in Plastic Bottles Because it’s Good for the Environment???, Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais Nouveau – November 17

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Posted in cultural differences, food and drinks, news, products, weird, wine

November 7th, 2008 by ptinfrance

From dailymail:

“Two amateur French wine makers have died after they were suffocated by the fumes from the grapes they were treading with their bare feet.

The victims had volunteered to help a friend make wine at his vineyard in the northern Ardeche region and had climbed into the six-foot wide vat to begin the traditional process of extracting the juice from the grapes.

But police believe Daniel Moulin, 48, and 50-year-old Gerard Dachis were overcome by carbon dioxide fumes that are given off during fermentation and collapsed.

Rescuers tried frantically to revive the pair but in spite of resuscitation efforts the two men did not … Continue reading

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Posted in food and drinks, news, people, stories, weird, wine

November 6th, 2008 by ptinfrance

vin de merde
When I wrote about the Vin de Merde (shit wine), I clearly didn’t expect to receive a bunch of emails requesting how to get some. My apologies for not writing back. I didn’t know the answer at the time. But now I do – because we bought 2 cases (12 bottles) and received them in the mail today. And they’re easy to order, however, you have to be in France.

How to Order Le Vin De Merde, le pire cache le meilleur (the worst hides the best)!

1. Order it by calling Jean-Marc Speziale: 06 11 52 73 94

2. Send him a French check for the required amount (6,50 € per bottle) and include shipping fees as well (approximately 15 € per case of 6 bottles). Make sure you include your shipping address. Mail your check to: Jean-Marc Speziale, Le Vin de Merde, 2AE Les terrasses, 36150 Aniane.

3. Receive your Vin de Merde.

4. Drink your vin de merde.

It took about 2 weeks from the time we sent out the check, so it’s not too long of a wait. It was recently reported that they sold out of their famous vin de merde, but they still have some or they made a new batch (or whatever a “batch” is called in wine language). I don’t know if this batch is any good. We don’t drink wine usually so we will give them all away to friends and family, as a silly gag gift.

A Note about bringing wine back to the U.S.: Most people think that when you go from France to the U.S., you’re only allowed one liter of an alcoholic beverage. That depends on the state’s requirements where you land, so check ahead for specific requirements. And it’s possible that the one liter limitation is only true if you don’t want to declare it upon arrival. For many states, you can actually take more than a liter with you provided it is for personal use, it’s packaged correctly, and that you pay duty and an IRS tax. (taxed at around 3%). I don’t really like dealing with even more redtape or lugging around heavy, fragile items after an 11 hour flight, so we’ll be taking just 2 bottles to the U.S.

Le Vin De Merde
Jean-Marc Speziale
2AE Les terrasses
36150 Aniane France

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Posted in daily life, food and drinks, Herrault, news, products, Provence, shopping, tips, weird, wine

October 15th, 2008 by ptinfrance

la savoyarde pizza in france from dominos

This spot for a new Dominos pizza was on the other night, and it made me realize that it’s so France specific. You wouldn’t find the French La Savoyarde pizza (topped with light Crème fraîche, Mozzarella, smoked fatty bacon, potatoes and a very strong smelling Reblochon cheese) in the U.S. just like you wouldn’t find the very American Bacon Cheeseburger Feast Pizza in France.

I suppose you wouldn’t find the “Orientale” in the U.S. either, which is topped with some veggies and “double merguez.” See the French Dominos Pizza List versus the American Pizza List.

Another silly bit of trivia I found was that you can order Côtes de Provence Rosé, an AOC wine, at any of the 136 Dominos in France. Yeah, there are THAT many in France!

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Posted in cheese / fromage, cultural differences, daily life, food and drinks, products, restaurants, tv and movies, wine

October 10th, 2008 by ptinfrance

petit coeur little heart wine glass etienne meneau france

Inimitable sculptor specializing in funky wine decanters and unusual functional glass sculptures, Etienne Meneau, just released a new work called, Petit Coeur/Little heart. It’s a verre à boire (drinking glass) very different than your usual wine glass. The dimensions are as follows:

Height : 7.9 inches (20 cm)
Content : 6.7 fluid ounces (20 cl)
Material : borosilicat glass (also known as pyrex)
Price : 1500 euros + shipping
limited edition ( 8 numbered and signed + 4 artist proofs )

Click here for more information:
Etienne Meneau

Email Etienne Meneau:

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Posted in art/culture/design, daily life, food and drinks, news, people, products, shopping, tips, wine

October 3rd, 2008 by ptinfrance

Our MOF Discovery partners in crime, Chloé and Jacques, told us about an MOF Chef named Serge Chenet who just opened a restaurant near their bed and breakfast in Saint Laurent des arbres. We all, of course, HAD to go check it out and have dinner there. On s’est régalé. Absolutely no complaints here. It was divine, and we highly recommend it, not only for the most scrumptious dishes ever but also for discrete service, and very reasonable prices.

Les mises en bouches / starters
apero 1 serge chenet
Brochette de boudin noir , sorbet de hareng sur canapé / blood sausage skewered wontons, herring sorbet with caviar on toast (there was a teeny triangle of lemon on top)

apero 2 serge chenet
Soupe d’artichauds , parmesan agé et coriandre / artichoke soup with aged parmesan and fresh cilantro

Entrées / Appetizers
foie gras serge chenet
Duo de foie gras : poêlé à l’hypocras et sa figue rôtie , farcie à la figue / Foie Gras Duo: Seared slice of foie gras cooked in a mulled honey wine with a roasted fig, non-seared foie gras stuffed with fig

lapereau serge chenet
Duo de lapereau : Médaillons de Lapereau , feuilleté de lapereau / Leveret Duo: Medallions of Leveret (some people call these bunnies), puff pastry with leveret

Course principale / Main Course
lieu jaune pollack dish with watercress serge chenet
Lieu jaune accompagné de purée de chou fleur sur un lit de mousse de cresson / Pollack with a puree of cauliflower in a bed of watercress mousse Read more of this article »

Posted in cheese / fromage, chocolate, food and drinks, MOF Meilleur Ouvrier de France, people, Provence, restaurants, tips, travel and places, travel tip, wine

September 22nd, 2008 by ptinfrance

From Timesonline:

“France may be home to some of the world’s finest wines but it could be about to join the tiny club of Muslim states that forbid their promotion on the internet.

Winemakers and other players in the drinks industry are fighting to avert a ban on advertising, sales and even vineyard websites that has been looming ever since a court ruled that the internet should be included in France’s strict laws regarding alcohol advertising.

The Heineken beer company was forced by the ruling last February to block French access to its corporate site. Since then, some of the biggest drinks brands have shut out French visitors for fear of prosecution. “Today in France, the sight of a bottle of wine has become as offensive as a picture of war or pornography,” said Daniel Lorson, a spokesman for CIVC, the industry body of champagne producers.

The industry complains that it is being demonised and that an internet ban would penalise hugely one of the glories of the French economy and the national heritage. A click from France on Courvoisier cognac, for example, elicits the message: “Sorry, the regulations of your country do not authorise us to give you access to our site.”
Web users from France are even banned from dropping in on Orlando wines in South Australia, because they are owned by France’s Pernod Ricard drinks group. The site does, however, welcome visitors from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Even the…. Read the article

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Posted in advertising & marketing, articles, cultural differences, daily life, food and drinks, french laws, news, politics, products, shopping, weird, wine

September 17th, 2008 by ptinfrance

le vin de merde

Tired of the constant criticism aimed at the wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, specifically that the wines were “crap,” an independent vintner responded with a revolutionary and rebellious idea and created, “Le vin de merde” (Shit wine). The wine label will be hard to miss if you ever see it on a shelf because there’s a big fat fly on it as if it were sitting on a pile of poo. Brilliant and funny publicity stunt. The wine, however, is supposedly not crappy at all. Would make a fun dinner party gift.

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[via Canal+]

Posted in advertising & marketing, cultural differences, daily life, food and drinks, funny, Languedoc-Roussillon, nature, news, products, Provence, shopping, weird, wine

August 13th, 2008 by ptinfrance

boisset wines with plastic bottlesFrom the Boisset Family Estates press release:

“…….”This year, Boisset Family Estates is the first winery ever to announce that all Beaujolais Nouveau wines imported to North America will be packaged exclusively in lightweight PET plastic bottles,” states Jean-Charles Boisset, President, Boisset Family Estates. “In addition, we will simultaneously debut Fog Mountain, featuring the first organically-farmed California Nouveau in 750ml PET bottles, to highlight our commitment to reducing the wine world’s carbon footprint by producing locally.”

“It is critical in today’s time, with the scarcity of our planet’s resources and the known environmental impacts of human activity, that we consider whether we should still ship thousands of cases of wine in heavy bottles via air throughout the world in order for the wines to arrive on time for their annual release date in November, when we can reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by more than half through a responsible choice of packaging.”

….Boisset Family Estates owns and imports Mommessin and Bouchard Aîné & Fils – two venerable Burgundy wine houses each with deep historical traditions in Burgundy and Beaujolais….”

This California company, importing wines from France, claims to be innovative and eco-minded.

Read the whole press release

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Posted in advertising & marketing, Bourgogne/Burgundy, business / economy, environment, food and drinks, news, products, weird, wine

August 10th, 2008 by ptinfrance

french maid wine ooh lala

I’ve more than had enough of the clichéd sexist depiction of French maids, and the misuse of “ooh la la.” First, French maids don’t look like this. Ever. Secondly, if there were any French maids like this, which there aren’t, they would never say “ooh la la” in a light-hearted, provocative way, drinking wine and sporting a mini skirt and some fish net stockings.

Although these wines are from the south of France, the California company‘s marketing people are obviously NOT French. I do see the silliness and play on words here and the wine might be legitimately good, but stop it, already!

In retrospect, I’m beginning to love the wine labels with the pissing fat guys.


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Posted in food and drinks, outside of France, products, shopping, weird, wine

August 8th, 2008 by ptinfrance

From time:
wine terrorism in france
“Too much wine, it is known, can cause violent behavior. But few have gone as far as the grape growers of France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region, the world’s biggest wine-growing area by volume. Hurting from overproduction and cheap imports and punished lately by the rising cost of gas, a small group of local winegrowers has resorted to “wine terrorism” in a violent attempt to shock the French government into helping them.

On July 26, police arrested a vineyard farmer from the region for production and possession of illegal explosives. Apprehended in a hospital where he was being treated for injuries suffered when those explosives unexpectedly detonated, 34-year-old Jérôme Soulère confessed to police that he’d been responsible for the July 2006 bombing of a tax-collection office in a neighboring village. He also admitted, police say, to authoring the failed bombing last year of a site the Tour de France was set to pass the following day.
Those incidents are just two of many in a series of violent and destructive acts by local grape growers over the past three years that has targeted public and private buildings, supermarkets, tanker trucks hauling cheap imported wine, and businesses accused of gouging growers with ever shrinking prices. Claiming responsibility: a clandestine group known as….”

Read the full article

Related: Don’t Mess with French Farmers

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Posted in articles, business / economy, food and drinks, Languedoc-Roussillon, news, products, weird, wine

July 26th, 2008 by ptinfrance

Visitors from other countries who’ve come to France know that it’s expensive here. But guess what? It’s expensive even for the people living in France! Prices have skyrocketed nonstop since 2002 and even the prices for the items that were usually very affordable, like vegetables, have increased exponentially. Over the last six years, it’s been continually increasing, and over the period of this last year alone, the cost vegetables increased by 18%. The media reports that the industry is blaming the bad weather.

People stopped buying because of the these recent high prices, so now the prices are starting to drop. A little.

Still, for many of us, times are precarious financially, so the best course of action would be to be very careful about how we spend our money without resorting to the high caloric, trans-fatty, cheap, processed foods. Here are some ideas to help reduce your monthly grocery bills while trying to stick to healthful alternatives. Feel free to contribute anything I’ve missed.

General Tips

1. Shop locally. If possible, within a distance where you can walk to the store and back. This saves enormously on gas if you don’t have to drive. Bring a rolling cart if necessary. There are so many now that are actually cute.

2. Shop alone. Studies show that when you shop with someone, you spend more.

3. If you have to drive to the market, consolidate your trips and buy more so you don’t have to make as many trips.

4. Before going to the market make a grocery list even if it’s short. Bring it with you and make sure you stick to it. This will focus your shopping task and not allow for whim items. Not on the list? Don’t get it!

5. Don’t go to the market hungry. Eat beforehand. This will curb your impulse buying reducing any items you don’t need.

6. Get a basket. If you don’t have much to get, don’t get a cart because you’ll fill it up unnecessarily.

7. Shop in the periphery of the store. Usually, this is where your healthier options lie. You will find some cheaper items hiding but if not, this area will house the fresh produce.

8. Eat less and eat out less. This may be hard for some people. If that is against your beliefs and just HAVE to go out to eat, go out to lunch instead of dinner. You usually spend less.

9. Meat Eaters – reduce the frequency of meat. From eating meat every day, eat meat just once a week.

10. Pay special attention to price per unit. Some items are cheaper if you buy the smaller amount than a larger amount. This is a dirty trick by our beloved commercants.

11. Forget coupons. Some people swear to them but in France, the coupons are not that great of a deal (i.e., 10 cents off or so). Besides, many couponed items are for expensive and unhealthful processed foods.

12. Be wary about what is on “promotion” (on sale). Oftentimes it is not a deal at all. Other times, something on sale is not edible, meaning near rotten or expired. Remember: cheap doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. Be particularly vigilant with meat.

13. Eat leftovers. Do not waste any edible food! Get creative with it and if you don’t know what to do with leftovers, try to find online recipes with items you have.

14. Grow your own, raise your own. Plant a garden of veggies, herbs, sprouts and fruit. This is late to start now and this is not a feasible option for some city dwellers. If you have the space, next year plant a potager/veggie garden, you will not regret it. Your veggies will be delish, you can skip toxic pesticides, and you will save so much money. And, if at all possible, have your own chickens for eggs.

15 Reduce and if possible eliminate junk food. Junk food is expensive, very unhealthful and puts on pounds. I know! This is hard.

16. Buy dry goods in bulk. Like dried beans, lentils, peas, rice and other grains. Know your beans, too. These are high in nutrients, usually a better value, and you can store them for quite a while. Plus, you don’t participate in wasteful packaging.

17. Eliminate eating at Fast Food places: MacDo’s, Quick, the American fast food joints, even Flunch. Ok, Flunch and other chain restaurants like it are cheap but….just leave them out, will you?

18. Check your receipts carefully. Sometimes money is wasted on mistakes.

19. If you grow your own fruit and vegetables, think about preserving them (mason jars) or dehydrating them – so they can last all year.

20. Eat produce that is in season. They are always cheaper in season.

Specific Tips

1. Wine – This comes from my dad-in-law, who is a wine connoisseur. Some of his favorite wines are half price at Aldi, so that could be a good resource for wine people. He’s seen the exact wines twice as expensive in Carrefour and Auchan. These aren’t just run-of-the-mill wines. Be flexible because they don’t often carry the same wines.

2. Negotiate for vegetables/fruits at Outdoor Markets – Merchants are really ok with you negotiating a better price. It’s no big deal. Besides, they know they’re overcharging you, so get them down in price as much as possible. Also, if you show up at the outdoor market before closing, you can get a really great deal. Many of them do not want to bother putting what’s left back into their trucks, so you can really bargain. In some cases, they just leave perfectly good veggies and fruit for the taking.

3. Make your own salad dressing – Most people I know do this already but if you buy the premixed version, try making your own at home. It’s less expensive, it’s better for you and you don’t have the same kind every time you eat a salad at home.

4. Frozen veggies vs. canned – If you can’t get fresh veggies, opt for frozen ones as opposed to canned. They tend to have more vitamins and nutrients.

5. Buy less expensive cuts of meat. If you’re used to getting, for example, filet mignon, faux filet or entrecôte, opt to get a bavette or ground beef. The bavette is a bit on the tough side so you might use it for stews and other long and slow cooked meals.

6. Don’t buy already skinned and de-boned pieces of chicken. Get their skinned versions as well as the pieces with the bone included. It’s much cheaper.

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Posted in advice, daily life, food and drinks, health, kids, shopping, tips, wine

July 24th, 2008 by ptinfrance

wine from napa valley chateau montelenaMichel Reybier, owner of legendary Bordeaux winery Cos d’Estournel, recently bought the Napa Valley California winery, Chateau Montelena from Jim and Bo Barret. The purchase price was not disclosed. An executive committee comprised of Bo Barrett, managing director Greg Ralston, and the winemaker at Cos d’Estournel Dominique Arangoits, with Jean-Guillaume Prats, general manager at Cos d’Estournel as president, will oversee the future operations.

Years earlier, the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 1973 won first place in the “Judgment of Paris” wine competition, beating French wines in a blind taste test.


Posted in aquitaine, news, products, shopping, wine

July 22nd, 2008 by ptinfrance

montre cul show your ass wine burgundy vin de bourgogne
For non-French speakers, it can be a challenge, if not completely impossible to correctly pronounce some names of French wines. Here’s another one that is not very easy to pronounce but if you could, you might not want to pronounce it. I found this excellent wall paper covered with wine labels in a brasserie in Beaune (Burgundy). One particular wine label stuck out, called, “Montre Cul,” which means “show your ass.” Burgundy vintners are silly and fun, apparently. The great thing about this wine is that if you’re looking for it in a store and the salesperson comes to help you, you don’t necessarily have to try to pronounce it. Just mimmick exactly what the woman on the label is doing…. THAT should work.

That isn’t too much to ask, is it? I mean, try acting out this label.


Posted in art/culture/design, Bourgogne/Burgundy, cultural differences, food and drinks, funny, products, shopping, travel and places, travel tip, weird, wine

March 28th, 2008 by ptinfrance

From decanter:
pawn shops paris accept wine

“For the first time in their history, Paris pawn shops have agreed to take bottles of wine in exchange for cash.

More than 350 bottles with a total value of €60,000 (£45,000) have been pawned – inlcuding a €5,000 Domaine de la Romanee Conti.

The initiative was launched by Crédit Municipal de Paris, the local authority pawnshop – which usually deals in family heirlooms and pieces of jewellery – last week.

The wine is to be stored in the 18th-century cellars under the Crédit Municipal building…”

Read the whole article


Posted in articles, news, paris, products, weird, wine

March 12th, 2008 by ptinfrance

chateauneuf du pape winetasting
Since our friends from the U.S. were visiting, we thought it would be fun to meet in Provence and go wine tasting. Some of France’s finest wines come from Chateauneuf du pape and everyone was up for that, so off we (three Americans and one French guy) went.

We stumbled upon a wine cellar that produced award-winning wine and received an informative presentation from the vintner, who spoke fluent English. We tasted 4 wines, and thought about buying a few bottles. They were excellent wines. While discussing what we would get amongst ourselves, the vintner blurts out that he expected we buy CASES of wine. He said something like, “Hey, I’m not a reseller, you know; I’m the producer.”

Me: “So!??”

Ok, I didn’t say that but wanted to. Yes, he’s the producer but he’s still selling it.

This, of course, made no sense anyway since he knew very well that Americans cannot take much wine back to the U.S. And because our friends just brought carry-on luggage, they wouldn’t be able to take any bottles at all with them. He began to annoy me with his greed. Still, we decided to buy ONE case (6 bottles): all the wines we sampled, including a gold medal awarded wine from 1999.

Things were rolling along and we paid our 104 euros ($159) for the six bottles until the vintner began filling the box with our order. He made sure we saw what he put in the case, then says, “and lastly, here’s the 1998 bottle.”

My sweetie says LOUDLY, “we bought the 1999 bottle, you know, the one that costs 26 euros (about $40). Not 1998.”

The guy tried to rip us off!

Anyway, I found that to be so rude, greedy and annoying, but ultimately pathetic. I mean, I could be recommending his little “domaine” right now but instead I simply can not.

How many Americans did he trick?

That just isn’t right.

Posted in food and drinks, products, Provence, shopping, stories, weird, wine

March 5th, 2008 by ptinfrance

massage in provence france
Maybe, just maybe once during your trips to France, you will venture out of “the comfort zone” of your little Paris. Yes! There’s a whole ‘nother world outside of Paris that might amaze you even more than looking at the teeny tiny, glass-enveloped, security guarded, popularity queen, The Mona Lisa, which could quite possibly be a replica (Ok, the latter is just my own conspiracy theory).

A little detour to Provence (south of France) will literally be a welcome breath of fresh air once you exit the cities. We’ve been in Provence, of course at our favorite Après La Sieste, the best place to stay in Provence, in our humble opinions. In addition to being the most beautiful and relaxing B&B ever, they have a heated salinated pool, (which is like being in a comfortable hotspring more so than like being in a chlorinated pond), and an in-house chef for a memorable gastronomic meal that goes perfectly with local wines from the famous Chateauneuf du pape.

After exploring the region’s lavender fields, the surrounding “most beautiful villages in France,” the seaside Camargue and Callanques, the wine cellars and vineyards for tasting award-winning wines and more, you may, after all the day’s activities, feel pretty beat albeit happy. Lucky you because if you stay with Jacques and Chloe at Apres la Sieste, you can get a heavenly massage, a perfect Provençale denouement.

Apres la Sieste’s newest addition is an in-house masseuse, who will erase your little aches and pains and simply make you feel wonderful. You might not ever want to leave.

Apres la Sieste opens officially for the season on March 21.

Après La Sieste
2 suites, 3 rooms; breakfast included
Contact: Jacques et Chloé (English and French spoken)
Website: Après La Sieste
(Visit their site for more room photos, massage and chef meals details and rates)
Telephone : +33 4 66 50 33 94
Mobile Phone: +33 6 61 84 58 40

Posted in health, news, Provence, Recommended Accommodations, travel and places, wine

September 29th, 2007 by ptinfrance

no more french wine and other wines. Global Warming is going to seriously crimp your wine life…well, and your life in general.

Say Goodbye to French Wines. Wacky temperatures and rain cycles brought on by global warming are threatening something very important: Wine. Scientists believe global warming will “shift viticultural regions toward the poles, cooler coastal zones and higher elevations.” What that means in regular language: Get ready to say bye-bye to French Bordeaux and hello to British champagne. [LA Times]

Say Goodbye to Light and Dry Wines. Warmer temperatures mean grapes in California and France develop their sugars too quickly, well before their other flavors. As a result, growers are forced to either a) leave the grapes on the vines longer, which dramatically raises the alcoholic content of the fruit or b) pick the grapes too soon and make overly sweet wine that tastes like jam. [Washington Post]

Say Goodbye to Pinot Noir. The reason you adore pinot noir is that it comes from a notoriously temperamental thin-skinned grape that thrives in cool climates. Warmer temperatures are already damaging the pinots from Oregon, “baking away” the grape’s berry flavors…”

[From Top 100 Ways Global Warming Will Change Your Life]

Posted in environment, news, wine

September 5th, 2007 by ptinfrance

“One in three bottles of appellation controlée wines produced in France is sub-standard, according to the French consumer watch-dog. A survey of wine professionals by the organisation, UFC-Que Choisir, concluded that the supposed local authenticity offered by the label “AOC” – appellation d’origine controlée – has become meaningless…” Read the complete article

Posted in food and drinks, wine

June 21st, 2007 by ptinfrance

Why not. Find romance in on a bottle of French wine. Soif de Coeur (A Thirst for Romance) offers wine with a possibility of finding your soulmate. Just buy a bottle of Soif de Coeur, gluggedy glug glug, peel off the bottle label and find a code and instructions on how to begin your soulmate search on their website. Just imagine, buy a 3 euro ($4) bottle of red, white or rosé wine, and who knows…maybe you’ll get a date!

I don’t think you necessarily need to buy any wine to participate in their online dating service, but I’m not sure. Maybe you do and the $4 you spend on a bottle is actually the dating service fee. Bargain! I really want to make fun of this; it’s so asking for it, but I’m trying to reduce the amount of invective I produce, so let’s just hope this is a good thing.

Soif de Coeur

Posted in websites, weird, wine

June 7th, 2007 by ptinfrance

escargot aux raisin

The longer I live in France, the more I realize that all Pains aux raisins are NOT created equal here. Take for example, the Pains aux raisins in Burgundy. Oftentimes in France, you’ll come across many examples where a French region has adulterated changed a staple food of France, even naming it something different to suit its own tastes (and specialities) and to fight for their own regional culinary culture. And yes, btw, the Pain aux raisins IS a staple food of France. At least chez nous.

Burgundy is known for a few things: its wine, its food, usually consisting of lots of wine: Coq au vin, which is chicken in wine, Boeuf Bourgignon, which is beef cooked in wine, Pochouse, a dish with 4 kinds of fish cooked in wine, Andouillette au chablis, which are sausages cooked in wine, Oeufs en meurettes, an interesting spin on eggs that are poached in wine, Les Tripes au Rosé de Marsannay, which is tripe cooked in wine. Are we seeing a pattern here? I think I now know why the people here are so friendly and happy.

Anyway – probably most famous of all foods from Burgundy is Escargots, the little rubbery, slimey critters, or as I liked to call them: snails. Escargot is world renowned and world consumed (usually not cooked in wine but eaten with a garlic butter parsley sauce) and you will find them all over Burgundy. (Nevermind that most of the Burgundy snails are actually from Poland, Romania and Russia. You’ll see “transformé en France” when they don’t want to say where they came from originally, and want to make you believe they are the real Burgundian deal, slime notwithstanding.)

I know. I digress. Sorry.

So. Given all of that food trivia à la Bourgogne, the Burgundy Pains aux raisins, became Escargot aux raisins. And, much like the region’s signature culinary dishes, the Escargots aux raisins are heavy. In fact, much heavier than the light, airy, flakey on the top, soft and custardy in the middle Parisian Pain aux raisins. The Bourgogne version with its different and cutely appropriate moniker seems to have way more raisins, and is bigger, thicker and breadier, thus softer and having no crisp to it at all. Not knocking it because it is pure yum especially dunked in a bowl of steamy hot coffee for breakfast.

Posted in Bourgogne/Burgundy, daily life, food and drinks, travel and places, wine

March 27th, 2007 by ptinfrance

wine label warming

Continuation of Part 1 and Part 2

7. Cook Meat Thoroughly – There were constant reminders in the U.S. about the dangers of eating meat that isn’t cooked very much. If you’ve been to France or if you live in France, you know that that is the exact opposite rule in the land of steak tartare. In fact, when I order meat in restaurants in France, and ask for it bien cuit (well done) they roll zee eyes at me. And even then, it’s not well done but that is how I like it. The French are notorious for liking their meat bloody, dripping rare. Lastly, some restaurants in the U.S. don’t even ask you anymore, how you’d like your steak or burger cooked. Should we wonder about the differences in meat quality?

8. Warning Labels on Wine – When packing for our trip to the U.S., I’d completely forgotten the Burgundy wine I was going to give my sister-in-law. So, I bought some French wine in California for her. Hee. It had a big label on the bottle warning of the health risks of drinking wine. Just like with cigarettes. I think there are some wines in France that have a itty bitty warning, but most don’t have anything at all.

9. Ultra-pasteurized milk advertised as good for you – Ultra-pasteurized milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated because it’s been heated to a higher temperature higher than normal pasteurization (280°F vs. 145°F). That’s why it has such a long shelf-life – but many Europeans believe that ultra-pasteurized milk not only has no nutritional value, but also may be harder to digest because of changes in the protein structures of the milk itself. That isn’t to say ultra-pasteurized milk isn’t present in France – It is, but it’s not advertised as being good for you. [an interesting related article on raw milk: The Udder Truth]

10. Wash your hands! – Signs reminding employees and the general public to wash their hands after using the toilet were everywhere. Yes, I want people to wash their hands after they do their thing, but I guess so many people don’t, they have to put signs all over the place. Well, in France, I don’t think many people wash their hands (I’m not sure about actual statistics but whenever I’ve been in a public restroom in France, I always notice people leaving without washing their hands. I notice less of this in the U.S.) I’m very OC about it so it grosses me out. My other half thinks people in France have a better tolerance to germs and illnesses and can withstand a lot of bacteria without getting sick because of non-hygienic ways…

11. Vegetables – In the U.S. my sweetie kept saying he was just buying something that resembled a vegetable, but it didn’t taste anything like that vegetable. Carrots, for example, looked like carrots, felt like carrots but didn’t taste like carrots at all. “We are paying for the shapes of vegetables!!” he’d say. What were we eating then?

Posted in advertising & marketing, cultural differences, daily life, food and drinks, health, travel and places, wine

March 18th, 2007 by ptinfrance

pool apres la sieste

Our friends, Chloe and Jacques are having a weekday special until the end of June at their fabulous bed and breakfast, Après La Sieste. If you stay 3 nights at Après La Sieste during the week from now until June 30, you can get the fourth night for free. The fourth night must also be during the week.

We love staying at Après La Sieste; it is one of our favorite places to stay in Provence, and this special is an excellent savings and great opportunity. We might have to squeeze in a trip there into our hectic schedule if possible. It’s a great base to explore many places in Provence, and it’s very near Avignon. Lastly, for those wine enthusiasts out there, it is a hop, skip and a jump from the famous, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Read my previous posts about Après La Sieste:

A Great Place to Stay in Provence: Après La Sieste

Our Favorite Place to Stay in Provence Has a Chef

Visit their website for more information and to contact them. They speak both English and French.

Après La Sieste
2 suites, 3 rooms; breakfast included
Contact: Jacques et Chloé (English and French spoken)
*Please ask when the chef will be preparing dinner
Website: Après La Sieste
(Visit their site for more room photos, details and rates)
Telephone : 04 66 50 33 94
Mobile Phone: 06 61 84 58 40

Note: Air France is having reduced airfares from the U.S. to France during Spring, so check it out here: Spring Specials from the US to Europe on Air France

Posted in news, Provence, travel and places, wine