As promised, here are some of my favorite things I tasted in the French wine country.
First off, we went to a huge indoor market in Bordeaux where my friends and I needed a little something to hold us over until lunch. Croquettes were our option which the lady in the photo below freshly dished out into a plastic to-go container.
We then wandered through the outdoor part of the market, which we learned is a privilege passed down through generations. World War I left many widows, so the city tried to help them earn money by allowing them to go into the indoor market, then only for distributors, buy some items, and resell them outside. Now, only their relatives have the right to sell on the street, but it is something the city will soon end since the need is low.
In the same indoor market, I found this cheese vendor. Needless to say, I was in heaven.
Our tour-leader bought us mini Cannelés Bordelais. They’re a bit crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle (the texture for which the unique mold was invented), and have a licorice-rum taste. There is a story behind these dense little cakes: winemakers in the region use egg whites to ferment their wine, therefore having an abundance of unused yolks. They gave them to nuns, who came up with this very temperamental and difficult recipe.
Though we didn’t get to eat there, we went into one of the best restaurants in Bordeaux to watch how they prepare some of their meet delicacies. PS The woman on our left was our adorable tour guide.
After that, we stopped for lunch and to have our first bottle of Bordeaux in the region. There were various foods like a pâté, another meat delicacy with parts of a pig not used for the pâté, and some intestine. Though I forced myself to try some of the dishes, I mostly stuck to the camembert and chèvre.
Wine from lunch
Later that night, we went to a wine bar called Wine More Time. Though white Bordeaux is not my favorite, the atmosphere of this bar was very chill, drinking on top of stools in front of wine barrels.
The next day in St. Emilion, we had a brief tour in the morning followed by time by ourselves for lunch. My friends and I sat outside, at salads, pizzas, and more, and had this delicious bottles of wine, one of our favorites from the trip.
Wine at lunch
St. Emilion is famous for a different style of macaroons. They are made with egg whites, sugar, and almonds, and are fluffy beyond belief. They come in a box on the parchment paper they were baked on because they are too fragile to take off and package. I bought a larger one and split it with my friend. Definitely worth it.
Lastly but certainly not least, we did a wine tasting. We walked through various vineyards and reached Chateaux La Fleur Picon, a vineyard that makes Saint-Emilion Grand Cru.
We learned a bit about how the wine was made, all by the same man whose family has been making the wine for 9 generations. They make one vintage a year, and we tasted both 2009 and 2010. The newer of the two was a bit more acidic but tasted just like the kind of wine my mom would love. The 2009 was smoother. Confession: I bought 3 bottles.
All in all, it was a beautiful 2-day break in the wine countryside, and made me realize how much I want to move to Northern California some day and run a vineyard with horses à la Dennis Quaid in The Parent Trap. A girl can dream, and until then, I got a small dose during my trip to Bordeaux and St. Emilion!