A little Serge, a little Edith. Some Quiche Lorraine and good French wine: It’s a party!

The week between Christmas and New Year’s my parents hosted a fabulous party for Nicolas and me, which turned out to be quite the celebration. We had decided a French theme would be appropriate, so before leaving France, Nicolas made mix CD’s of Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg and found room in his suitcase for such delicacies as authentic French spice bread and chocolates (all of which made it across the Atlantic unscathed). The day of the party we made Quiche Lorraine (which I am cutting in the “action shot” above), and scattered cards identifying all the French foods on the decorated table.

But nevermind the food. What about the wine? Comical as it is, we received more compliments and inquiries about our wine selection than about our decorative array of Frenchie hors d’oeuvres. To be honest, I couldn’t be more delighted. Dad, Nicolas, and I had devoted quite a bit of time — and two trips to the wine store — to our reds and whites, and we wanted them to be special.

Of course they had to be French.

We had chosen two whites, a Vouvray and a Picpoul, and two reds, both Grenache blends from southern France. Dad encouraged me to write little identification cards for each wine as I had for the food.

And that’s how the wine stole the show from our mini macarons and baked brie.

As you can see, I had a lot of fun. How did I know “picpoul” meant “lip stinger?” I looked it up! I looked up all four of the wines and was just squirming with excitement to share what I learned. I had to take notes and narrow down the choices of what I wanted to share in order to fit a few short tidbits onto the cards. At the bottom of each, to bring it closer to home, I wrote the time it would take by car to travel from each vineyard to Dijon.

The cards not only helped people choose which wine to try, they also became conversation starters. (“Five hours and twenty-three minutes from Dijon? I love it!”) Some people told me they had never heard of Pigeoulet before, but they liked it. One friend said she felt compelled to taste all four. Most flattering was the elegant lady who was still talking about the wine days after the party. Calling to ask the name of the Vouvray, she gushed, “It’s the best wine I’ve had in my life.”

Wow! What a compliment!

I should note that the food was well appreciated too. After all, many more hours were spent creating Mom’s beautiful spread than on our well-researched wine selection. But sheesh, it seems with the wine as center of attention we might simply have served mixed nuts and gougères and everyone would have been just as happy.

A lesson for future celebrations?


Filed under Christmas, Culture, Food, Wine

9 responses to “A little Serge, a little Edith. Some Quiche Lorraine and good French wine: It’s a party!

  1. I want to see/hear more about the macs (bien sur)!

  2. Cat

    Looks like a great time!

  3. I am so much in love with this blog post.

    And, OMG, where did you *find* blackcurrants??? They’re no longer native to the States.

  4. Donna

    Dear Emily: Looks like a good time was had by all. I plan to purchase your wine selection and try them for myself. Sarah is being transferred to Boston very soon and I am hopeful that you can travel to Boston and we can get together to celebrate your engagement and the success of your blog. I will choose the restaurant and you can certainly choose the wine or better yet we can choose a few and stay in at Sarah’s and just enjoy the many and not have to drive.
    Best to you and your family and keep writing.

    Love to you and Nicholas,

  5. David Navarre

    Emily, that’s perfect! I have always found that it’s the interesting tidbits, like “lip stinger” or the detail of your driving time, that people remember the most when trying to recall a wine. When you can put the wines together with interesting food for friends and family, then people have a story to share days, weeks and months later. At some future dinner, your friend will be pouring a Vouvray for someone and the wine will transport her back (like the food critic tasting ratatouille) and she will tell them about YOUR dinner. When I drink Vouvray, I am always reminded of meeting Phillipe Foreau and, if the audience allows, tell of my stumbling attempt to ask for a ‘degustation’.

  6. Pingback: Guest Post: Je voudrais du Vouvray: an encounter with Philippe Foreau | EmilyintheGlass

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