France: Cheese by Wine by Cheese in Photos
France treats a food and wine lover right.
Of course occasionally there is a hang-up, like when a train that was taking you to a Chinon winery you were aching to visit is cancelled due to country-wide strikes. I like to think of this side of the country as a much-needed practice in letting things go. After all, there will always be an almond croissant, fantastic bottle of Chenin Blanc, or thick wedge of raw-milk cheese waiting to offer you comfort around the corner.
Overall, a trip to France is delicious, and such a trip is especially tasty when you spend part of it with a wine importer like I did. He will take you, and the other wine sellers in the speeding car that he's driving half-hazardly through the French Alps, to meet the winemakers whose beautiful creations you've been selling and enjoying for the past four years.
Once at a winery, the winemakers feed you fantastic regional fare, and delicious, massive amounts of it. As do the other two to three wineries you visit every day. After eating luscious fare like saucisson cooked in cream and white wine, the three men with whom you are traveling also want to go out to eat at hearty bistros. Now is a good time to point out that not everyone looses weight when they visit France like some European diet articles suggest.
After spending time speeding around the Alps on the aforementioned trip, I also visited cheese caves and met wonderful cheese people in France. Of course I ate more too. I also met one person who hated cheese, but because she invited me to visit her in the Loire Valley and made delicious dandelion and bacon salad (see below), baked bread, and fed me her grandmother's quince jelly and her own jams, I forgave her unfortunate digust (I later questioned my decision when she made me keep my raw-milk cheeses on her balcony with the window closed because of the smell, but I knew I did the right thing later when she introduced me to the French cheese MOF and turned out to be one of the most charmingly sweet people I've met). I love France.
And the photo story begins.
The young dandelion green salad with lardons and dijon vinaigrette that made me love someone who hates cheese.