The bicycle world’s Tour de France consists of 21 stages over the course of about three weeks in July. While the thought of that spectacle is daunting and exhausting, we like to think of a wonderful idyllic saunter through the culinary landscape of this country that seems to ooze gastronomical finds from every square inch. So, set your own pace and journey to France via a Tour de DLM with these specialties.
In the great city of Reims, the heart of Champagne, we like to think of bubbles that make any occasion special. Guyot Choppin Brut Champage is tangy, full of fresh apple fruit, and mineral driven—begging for a bowl of clams simmered in white wine. Add a refreshing twist to a salad with Champagne Vinegar by J. Leblanc.
Not far from Paris is the commune of Meaux and the great Brie de Meaux, which is perfect on a warm baguette with a glass of wine, or with a preserve, such as Bonne Maman or L’Épicurien… ooh la la!
In years past, Strasbourg has hosted Tour de France riders. It’s also home to the wines of Hugel, a family estate since 1639. We’ve had the pleasure of sitting with family members of the estate and tasting their Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Gentil, which is a blend of several varietals making it crisp, vibrant, and lively
Heading not far south, one comes to the region of France where you’ll find one of the great cheeses, St. Antoine Comté Gruyère, made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. This cheese melts in your mouth, leaving you with flavors that range from dense and smoky to sweet and fruity; cut into small straw-like pieces on a cheese tray or use in a fondue with a splash of white wine.
While in Burgundy, one must have the mustard, cheese, escargot, and of course, the wine! The 2016 Côtes Salines Bourgogne Chardonnay is one of our favorites this summer and it showcases the fruit perfectly. Try with a roasted chicken or cheese plate (and include a generous dollop of Edmond Fallot Mustard while you’re at it). A favorite cheese of ours from Burgundy is the Époisses de Bourgogne, which is a pungent, soft-paste cow’s milk cheese that is simply heaven in a little round container.
In the south of France is one of the great blues of the world—Le Papillon—and it started as any good French story: love. A young shepherd was distracted by a shepherdess. Forgetting his rye bread and sheep’s milk cheese in the cave of Combalou, he left to pursue the girl. He later returned to discover his meal covered in a blue-green mold. Famished, he tasted the cheese and was delighted. Roquefort was born! Another great, P’tit Basque, is a sheep’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Enjoy with with charcuterie, fruit, or grilled veggies. Southern France also has so many superb wines, but a great warm-weather favorite is the 2017 Picpoul de Pinet Florensac. It’s minerally, crisp, clean, and perfect for summer entertaining. Other delights that we’d be amiss to not mention include Maison Pébeyre Truffle Mayonnaise founded in a small southern French village in 1897 and Vinaigre de Banyuls.
Loire is where many of the fairytale castles of France can be found. We love to pour a glass of La Vigne des Sablons Vouvray, a deliciously dry and mineral-driven wine, with a chilled plate of oysters—simply a magical pairing.
M. Gilles Hervy Fleur de Sel is a yummy grey natural sea salt harvested from the Atlantic.
Pierre Biscuiterie French Butter Cookies have been made in the French Countryside since the 19th century. Another sweet delight from this region is one of our favorite whipped creams in a can, Isigny Sainte-Mère