Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bastille Day Picnic Menu

Paris, 2009
We have been celebrating Bastille Day since high school, largely because we will use any excuse to gorge ourselves on French cheeses and fresh baguettes.  With the holiday falling on a Sunday this year, there's no excuse not to indulge in some decadent foods and wines, and celebrate la vie en rose for the day!

To drink:

A good white Bourdeaux - Most Bourdeaux wines are red, but this region also turns out some really lovely, dry, not-too-acidic whites

Rosé - Domaine la Florane is a current favorite, crisp and light for a hot day

Champagne - Always buy the best you can afford, but for a picnic, Coppola Winery's Sofia Blanc de Blancs (a California sparkling wine) is a fun option, and is conveniently packaged in adorable pink cans

To eat:

Cheese - A good cheese plate should always have at least three options, and for a picnic, we like to bring cheeses that come easily packaged.  Fromage Des Clarines, which comes in its own little basket, has long been a favorite strong and soft cow's milk cheese, or Epoisses is slightly milder, but still deliciously rich.  Coupole, a dome shaped cheese that's the perfect size to share, is an excellent goat's cheese.  For a third option, you could go for a firmer cheese, such as Beaufort (similar to the Swiss Gruyère), or for a classic French option such as Roquefort.  

Fruit - Grapes, figs, sliced plums and nectarines all pair nicely with cheeses

Baguette -  We like to go with one loaf per two people

Lentil salad - Alice Waters has a lovely, basic recipe.  We prefer the variation of adding carrots, celery, and onion

Sandwich fixings - Sliced ham, mâche greens, grainy mustard, and cornichons can all be eaten à la carte alongside the cheeses and bread, or made into sandwiches

Galettes - A galette is similar to a tart, but more rustic.  We love this recipe, which gives each person their own - no need to worry about slicing, plating, or even forks!

Vive la France!

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