Wednesday, May 1, 2013

tasting the jura, part 1

Somehow, TA-ing a course entitled Food & Communications got even more enriching than it already has been; I had the fortunate opportunity to join the professor and 8 students in the Jura for three days of critical exploration to "gain an in-depth understanding of France's relationship to local foods, taste, and 'terroir'" as we "follow[ed] the renowned Comté cheese from cow to consumption." Talk about embracing "eating well".
We arrived in a small town three hours Southeast of Paris around 11am. Once we settled into the gite, French taste educator Claire Perrot led us through a study of "taste" and its implications by all the senses.
Then, we prepared lunch: fresh radishes with salt and butter, vegetable lasagna, green salad, and a medley of incredibly local goat cheeses with sliced bread. The meal began with a champagne toast, too, of course.
Following our leisurely déjeuner, we went out for a hike led by the gite's botanist. He not only explained the Jurassic history of the region but pointed out edible plants as well, most notably, stinging nettles.
While we had our second round of taste education, the botanist cleaned and prepped the stinging nettles we'd collected for two dishes. We prepared dinner after, and set the table with bouquets of wild flowers. 
And soon, dinner was served: stinging nettles croquettes and soup, river trout (caught by the neighbors) in a cream sauce with wild rice, another cheese plate, and an apple tart. Sitting at a table surrounded by others who were just as conscious and appreciative of the delicacies made the experience all the more special. It truly proved that "taste and pleasure are not about breaking the rules, but about reconfirming our relationship to the places from which our foods come, our ties with others, and our own sense of self." This glorious notion of terroir would continue as I met farmers, cheese makers, and cheese agers in the days to come...

8 comments:

  1. I stumbled upon your blog from Alyssa's and I'm so happy I did! As a fellow travel-lover, I'm looking forward to reading along on your journey abroad :)

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    1. I'm so happy you did, too! Glad to have you :)

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  2. I love love love this! This is sustainability, not only for yourself, but your region and friends. This is what I want to bring here since France does it so well. I learned there, I loved there and I'm so happy you're experiencing all of it too!

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    1. So true, so true. I'm so excited for the work you're doing!

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  3. Wow, Danielle. What an incredible experience!

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  4. Lately, I've been reading about the history of agriculture and food in France. What a strong history of activism and respect for the environment much of which has carried through. Thanks for this timely post.

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    1. Yes, exactly - sharing my recent experience with such a history is my pleasure.

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