Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wine and Cheese

Think of Paris. What is the first experience that comes to mind? Is it standing in a long line to see the Mona Lisa? Or maybe going on a dinner cruise on the Seine? Or is it sitting on a balcony or hanging out a window, drinking wine and eating cheese? For me, I had thought of that last option as just a bonus between outings. Not so though. It is an attraction and experience in itself.

When I look for wine, I seek out something that has an interesting label or that's been a personal recommendation, but most often I do base my decision off of the label. So, what does one do when all labels look the same and nothing is in English? Well, naturally, pick the one that stands out for other reasons: the bottle is mis-shapen and it's a rosé. Two characteristics that no other wine seemed to have, problem solved. I must've struck gold.Now then, cheese. When in Paris, fromage is everywhere. Camembert, beaufort,
chevre, blue, brie, époisses... The list is almost endless. To make the choice even more difficult, cheese also can come soaked in wine or brandy, in a skin or nude, as a wheel, block or a wedge, soft or hard...or rolled in nuts or fruit. I'll be honest, since I was a little kid I have been in love with raisins. They are my comfort food. As I peered through the glass front of the cheese case, I made my decision: Chevre en robe (goat cheese rolled in raisins).

I opened the wine and the tart smell overtook me. I unrolled the cheese and couldn't slow myself down. At that moment I understood what so many cheesecake makers have tried to create: the perfect balance of tang, sweet, creaminess and perfection, add to that the plump, still juicy raisins, and it was the perfect pairing with the most unusual wine I could've found.

I opened my window and looked out over Montmartre. The smell of Paris wafted in and mixed with my sweet afternoon snack. The sounds of the street joined forces with the squishing and popping of the raisins. I was encapsulated by my surroundings. This is the experience that I didn't plan on or even imagine could've taken me away the way it did. I understand now why Paris exists: to surprise you with every moment.

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