May 2012


Central Market (CM) in the Dallas area is allowing us to live, even if for just a brief moment in time, in the culinary hideouts of France from May 9-22, 2012. Oh to be in France! Those magical moments in time…err…to be in France while having your feet planted in Texas, I mean, which to some Texans it is even better.

Each year CM “armchair travels” us to a country known for its culinary riches, and wow, have they hit the high mark with France. The event is called “Passport France”. The employees greet you with a “bon jour”, and occasionally take a peek at their mini laminated phrase card – hey, you have to start somewhere!

During this period, there are offering all things culinary French!  In Part One of this review, I mentioned many products to indulge in.  This week they have even more to offer (view brochure).  In terms of wine, they are spotlighting a Burgundy Pinot Noir, a Fourrey Chablis, a Provence Rose, and an Alsace Pinot Gris.  On all French wine, they are offering 20% off 6-17 bottles, and 25% off 18 bottles or more.  Food – oh la la!  Triple creme Belletoile brie, a rich yet mellow cheese; rustic baguettes; herb infused vinegars, apidis honey (wild lavender, acacia, spring flowers, or forest); truffle mustard or mayonnaise; and of course big, beautiful, sunflowers reminescent of the south of France.

As CM says:  “If French cuisine is your scene, then don’t miss Passport France.”

Central Market (CM) in the Dallas area is allowing us to live, even if for just a brief moment in time, in the culinary hideouts of France from May 9-22, 2012.  Oh to be in France!  Those magical moments in time…err…to be in France while having your feet planted in Texas, I mean, which to some Texans it is even better.

Each year CM “armchair travels” us to a country known for its culinary riches, and wow, have they hit the high mark with France.  The event is called “Passport France”.  The employees greet you with a “bon jour”, and occasionally take a peek at their mini laminated phrase card – hey, you have to start somewhere!

You may know already that Dallas is a culinary mecca – the restaurants, the artisan bakeries, wine bars, etc.; however, I quite do not have the cash to imbibe in many of these experiences.  I must live vicariously through others (real and virtural friends); however, there is something for everyone, at any price point, to enjoy “Passport France.”  Just check out their beautiful hand out.  How about a jar of herbes de Provence actually FROM Provence (what a concept), a savory ham and Gruyere crepe to share with a lover, some Comte cheese aged 18 months, or a large pail of mustard from the heart of Burgundy?  None of these could even break MY budget!

But, let’s see for a moment, what else we can put our hands on:  cassoulet (a rich, slow-cooked casserole with pork shoulder, garlic sausage, and white beans), bouef bourguignon (say hi to Julia), 20 different varieties of French bread, steak au poivre finished with brandy, cognac, or vermouth pan sauce – oh, how my palate sings!  Just walk in and see what happens when you allow your taste buds give in to your senses!

Feel free to try samples around the store:  wine, champagne, cheese, bread, pastry, you name it.  Also feel free to purchase all the luxurious delights which will only be in the stores for a short period of time.  Now that I think of it, I am out of herbes de Provence to place in my French grinder.  Darn, I’ll have to take a trip back to

– A La Votre –

I had a terrific opportunity to attend a Sigel’s event at the Park City Club in Dallas with Jasper Russo at the helm. Have you ever had two and a half hours to taste 40 Pinot Noir wines?  Well, I hated to be put in that position, but I tried!  Did I also mention tasting the appetizers served to compliment the wines:  herb crusted beef tenderloin, smoked chicken quesadillas, New England style crab puffs, fresh fruit, and of course artisanal cheeses?

When you think of a Pinot Noirs, you usually think of the region of Bourgogne (Burgundy) France.  The majority of red wine from that region is Pinot Noir; where the majority of white wine from that region is Chardonnay.  The Pinot Noirs for tasting that night were not just from Bourgogne, but a large sampling from California, Oregon, New Zealand. Most were great, and some were good.  It’s all a preference of one’s palate.  What tastes great to me, may be so-so for you.  No biggie!

Now, let’s take a look at the top five fabulous wines that Sigel’s had to offer that evening (in my opinion):

1.  Louis Jadot Pommard – 2007 –  Product Description:  Big, fresh, vibrant red raspberry and cherry flavors followed by impressions of spice and earth mark this generous, robust Pinot Noir, which finishes on a full, ripe note underscored by firm tannins.

Louis Jadot Pommard, Cote de Beaune, France label

2.  Bertrand Ambroise Nuits St. Georges – 2009 – Producer Notes:  This modern, dynamic and reliable producer ensures his wines offer intense, juicy and generous fruit characters whilst still maintaining the mineral, floral and licorice elements of good Nuits St Georges.

3.  Lucien le Moine Bourgogne  – 2009 – the style of 2009 has a broad appeal for wine lovers because of the ripe, pure fruit flavors and fleshy textures.

4.  Coup de Foudre, Sonoma Coast – 2010 – coming out of nowhere!  This bottle was indeed a “Thunderbolt of Love.”   The 2010 Pinot Noir possesses an expressive bouquet of spring flowers and black raspberries. The palate consists of hints of fresh porcini mushrooms, dark cherries, black currant and cream, underlined by spicy notes. It displays great balance of structure and richness as well as abundant tannin.  Believe it or not, this was one of the most expensive wines of the evening running around $100/bottle.

5.  Loring, Rosella’s – 2010 –  very velvety in structure, with a density and purity of fruit beyond anything the winery has seen in prior vintages.

Although my list of top five Pinot Noirs at the tasting were not all from Burgundy, most were.  Visiting the Burgundy region of France is beautiful and a wine lover’s paradise; a perfect place to learn about wine making. Some wine drinkers will maintain that only Burgundy provides the most haunting  bottles, memories of which may last a lifetime.

Come to Burgundy where “the price is right” and with the strong dollar to the euro right now, good time to consider an “extraordinary wine travel experience to France.”  Because it is a value, consider buying the French Pinot Noirs.  And where do they buy the better valued wines? At Sigel’s and Sigel’s Elite in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area!

French Burgundies rule!

This is Burgundy country: rolling hills, lush valleys and vineyards as far as the eye can see. You can stop at many of the little “caves” along the route to sample the fine Burgundy wine. In France, wine cellars are called “caves” so where you see a sign for Caves, you will find wine tasting and wines for sale.

I am hoping to take an intimate group of 10-12 epicurean enthusiasts to the Burgundy region through Epicopia Culinary Journeys, and would love to get your input.  Do you have a favorite region of Burgundy?  I am also curious if any Red Burgundies have given you the “chills”, in a good way!

I live in the Dallas area, and perhaps we could have our own Burgundy experience here to whet our appetites?  What do you think?  Anyone game?  A Burgundy wine tasting, an after-party or dinner…

A la Votre ~~