Friday, September 5, 2014

Food of Europe: Of Wine and Pavlova

In my last post, I whined a little about food. That was yesterday. We had the most wonderful dinner of our entire tour last night at a spiffy little hotel in Castellane named Nouvel Hotel de Commerce. If anyone stumbles across this post while searching for a hotel in Castellane, this is the place to stay. After a few places that have acquired nicknames in our group like, "Hotel Albania" and "Hotel Warsaw," this place is a very welcome change.

I have never been a wine aficionado. My experience with it has been very limited. But this trip has opened my eyes to a few things. We are served wine every night with dinner, but our real discoveries have been on our own. 

Things started off with a bottle of Burgundy that our innkeeper suggested when we were up in the Alps.

Until I drank that wine, I didn't think I liked reds. This one was probably the driest red I've ever tasted, and I loved it, as did Mark. La Framée Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaume Mouillard. I don't know the correct way to refer to the wine, but there you have it. Apparently, it is produced in the northern part of Burgundy. We will be on the lookout for it when we get back to Utah, but I'm not too optimistic about finding it there behind the alcohol wall.

I drink rose from time to time at home, but I've had a fair bit of it on this tour as part of the wine provided with our dinners. Last night, I partook of the best rose that I've ever tasted.

I considered finding a new home for that ceramic wine chiller - mine.

It is apparently produced east of Marseilles and above Toulon. In doing a bit of research on the Internet, I discovered that 16 generations of the same family have been producing wine at Salettes. Their website states that "Château Salettes is located on the Mediterranean coast between Toulon and Marseille, at the foot of the hilltop village of La Cadière d'Azur. The vineyard stretches over 100 acres amid pine trees, olive trees and broom. The vines, planted out on terraces above "Golfe des Lecques" bay, benefit from an ideal exposure and a unique soil quality combining clay, limestone and crushed rock. Boasting an exceptional 3000 hours of sunshine per year, this area of Provence brings together all the ingredients that go to make Château Salettes one of Bandol's finest wines."

Once again, we'll be on the lookout for this wine once we get home. We may even buy a bottle to take  home, especially since tomorrow is the last day of our tour and we'll be able to repack everything before heading to Rome on Monday.

As I mentioned, dinner last night was wonderful. The dessert, pictured in the lead photo, I guess could be referred to as a species of pavlova. Two large meringues cradled vanilla ice cream coated with crème Chantilly festooned with fresh strawberries. It was delicious. I can't wait to see what we're having for dinner tonight!

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