Les Hauts de Janeil, Rosé, IGP Pays d’Oc 2016 FIAF Summer in the South of France © WhereNYC
Escaping the summer heat at FIAF’s Bastille Day on 60th Street, celebrating the French national holiday, we dipped into the Summer in the South of France Tasting, one of two indoor events at FIAF. Invitees were greeted at the entrance of the tasting event with a typical Provence aperitif, a pastis-eau from sponsor Ricard. With each refreshing sip, the mood grew more and more spirited.
Gourmandise was a top priority for those attending. First stop, with cocktail in hand, was the fromage-charcuterie table. Guests filled their plates with a variety of cheeses from the famous French cheese maker, Président. Tastings included an array of France’s all-stars like nutty Comté, Emmental of the Alps, and the Pyrenee sheep-milk P’tit Basque, the creamy Triple-Crème Brie, and the pungent blue Rocquefort, served with toasts of French baguettes from Pain d’Avignon bakery. Charcuterie, including a pork paté and a chicken and goose paté, as well as a dried sausage from Les Trois Petits Cochons, was a huge hit.
Tasters made their own cheese pairings with the various wines on show, which came largely from the Southern Languedoc region, promoted by tourism bureau Sud de France. For those after a sudsy thirst-quencher, there were blond and blanche varieties of the French beer Kronenbourg 1664. The sparkling Crémant de Limoux, Thomas Jefferson by Gérard Bertrand was a crowd pleaser and finished off quickly.
Looking around the room, it was obvious that attendees were in the south of France spirit, with the majority of tasters opting for traditional summer choice of rosé. Happily most of the wines retail under $17, an attractive bargain for an upcoming dinner party. Some of the favorites were the crisp Domaine Hondrat rosé with its original looking bottle, and Lot 65 French Fusion white, dubbed summer in a glass.
Upon leaving the tasting, a certain je ne sais quoi was still missing from this escape to France. Stumbling right into an authentic crêpe chef still tossing sweets at the street fair outside was indeed the grand finale of the Bastille celebration.