Friday, December 14, 2018

A French Winophiles Fête: Foie Gras, Pain d'Épices & Champagne Drappier #Winophiles #vignoblessignatures #clubvignobles #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the December #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

This month, Lynn of Savor the Harvest, is hosting the French Winophiles as we celebrate the holidays French-style. You can read her invitation: here. Merci beaucoup to Michèle Piron, Vinconnexion, and Vignobles & Signaturesour generous event sponsors!

I received four beautiful bottles of French wine and will share all of them in turn, but for this French Winophiles Fête, I'm sticking with a quintessential classic: Champagne. This bottle from one of the event sponsors Drappier.


There were more than a few discussions of what makes something 'French-style'. And you can see the outcome. If you are reading this early enough and are so inclined, join us on a live Twitter chat: Saturday, December 15th at 8am Pacific. Or search for the hashtag - #Winophiles - and read all the posts. These will come online live between Friday and Saturday. Cheers.

Here's the #Winophiles' French-Style Season offerings...

Foie Gras

As for me, I decided to do something I love: combining sweet and savory. And I also decided to do something I don't usually do: eat foie gras. Don't get me wrong, it's not the foie gras controversy that keeps me away (remember, my state of residence has banned foie on and off for years); it's just not something I usually buy. In fact, when something is banned - say a book or a food product - I am more apt to hunt it down and partake. Really. Besides, many a French holiday meal typically starts off with foie gras.

You might ask: is it ethical to eat foie gras? I say, yes. In this country, foie gras is produced by just a handful of farmers who have the highest of standards and practices for their animals. This foie gras is from Hudson Valley. If you're curious, you can google them. They have some nice clips about their process. And when compared to the mass-produced nightmare that is factory farmed meat, foie gras looks idyllic.

Pain d'Épices

I've had foie gras seared. And I've had it with a slice of toasted brioche. I love that combination. But when I read about pairing an unctuous slice of liver with grilled gingerbread slices, pain d’épices, I was sold. I made small gingerbread squares, places seared foie gras on top of the cookies, then added a smear of lemon marmalade for a rich, spicy, tart holiday nibble.

Ingredients makes lots more cookies than needed!
  • 1 C butter
  • 1 C organic dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 C unsulphured molasses
  • 6 C flour + more as needed
  • 1 C ground almond meal (or almond flour)
  • 2 T baking powder
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t ground allspice
  • 1/2 t ground white pepper
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom
  • Also needed: cookie cutters (I used a small rectangle), parchment paper, rolling pin



Procedure
Melt the butter and whisk in the molasses, sugar, and eggs. Add dry ingredients and blend till you have a stiff dough. Split dough into quarters and roll into a ball. Wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper to about 1/4" thick. Use cookie cutters and place the cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place the trays in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before baking.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on thickness. They should be firm and nicely browned. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for a minute or so before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining dough. 

Champagne Drappier

Drappier is a Champagne producer based in the Urville region of Champagne, at the heart of the Côte des Bar. Founded at the beginning of the 19th century, Drappier Champagne produces both vintage and non-vintage cuvee. And this one - Brut Nature - is a no added sulphur, 100% Pinot Noir wine.


To the eye, it's a beautiful golden color with flecks of rose. On the nose, I get citrus. And, on the tongue, it has a generous array of herbs and stone fruit. This is a lovely Champagne that paired beautifully with the foie gras.


And because I didn't want to leave the boys out of this fête, I tracked down some sparkling apple-pear juice from France.


Two more things are needed for a truly fabulous French-style feast, in my opinion: cheese and dessert. So, in addition to the foie gras, I served warmed Camembert with slices of bread. That's always a hit. 


And for a truly French-style seasonal dessert, I would present a Bûche de Noël. I didn't make one for this post, but we make one every year for our Christmas baby. And you really can't go wrong with a Bûche de Noël. Ever. This was our Nutty Bûche de Noël from a couple of years ago. And the one below was posted here.


Well, that's a wrap on our 2018 French Winophiles event. Thanks to all the bloggers who have sipped, posted, and taught me so many things this year. Join us, again, in January when we are exploring the Biodynamic Wines of France with Gwen of Wine Predator leading the conversation. À Notre Santé...Joyeuses Fêtes!

10 comments:

  1. Foie gras on gingerbread is intriguing! What a beautiful pairing with the Champagne. I will admit to avoiding foie gras, though I have had it and it is delicious. I will look up the research on the on the Hudson valley producer, perhaps I can find some that I can eat without guilt. (Keep in mind, I avoid lamb too. Baby animals and all).
    Your Bûche de Noël is beautiful! Do you have a post somewhere on making this?

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  2. I'm thrilled about your Pain d'Epices, a favorite and the spice combo just evokes holiday, at least for me. I like your French-style!

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  3. This is fabulous, Camilla. The foie gras looks amazing!

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  4. I have enjoyed foie gras many times, but never atop a slice of gingerbread. Now it's all I want! Cheers, Camilla, and happy holidays to you and yours.

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  5. Lovely! Happy holidays, Camilla~

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  6. I love the sweet and savory thing you've got going on there Cam. Thanks for the tip on the Hudson Valley foie gras company. Interesting line of produces. Happy Holidays!

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  7. Foie gras and gingerbread! That is so holiday, fun, and festive. Wouldn't have thought to pair those two. :)

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  8. I'm well familiar with foie gras and Sauternes, but I've never considered pairing foie gras with a sweet food before, what a great idea!

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  9. Sweet and savory are so satisfying! Happy Holidays to you and yours, Cam!

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  10. Sounds like a delicious pairing for the Champagne!

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