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Thanks for resting your eyeballs here for a moment.(They are resting, right?) If you rest them a little longer, you may learn some interesting,(hopefully)entertaining, and, yes, ocassionally BIZARRE things about FRENCH COUNTRY LIFE (more…)

| January 27th, 2017 | Continued

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French Travel Secret REVEALED

 

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French Travel Secret Revealed  is where I reveal the down side of being DA BG.  Yes, Virginia, there IS  a negative smiley face in my otherwise blissful existence. A subtle frown that creases the face of carefree revelry.

Like a wine that is almost perfect, My French Life has a touch of tannin. The bitter flavor of (ugh) responsibility. Which means that the French Cycling Gourmet is NEVER on a carefree holiday. Because dear reader, he’s always thinking of you.  Thinking of how much you would enjoy what he is enjoying. And is therefore obliged to hip you to whatever trip he happens to be on.

bicyclegourmetThis one is to a region of la Belle France that doesn’t get a lot of press. And for me, and the folks who dwell herein, that’s jus’ fine.

It is above the too famed Provence, and borders the Haute Alps and the Alps Maritime. Folks, meet la Drome Provencal. The southernmost part of la Drome proper. (my non altzheimer readers may recall THIS POST)

Like it’s southern neighbour, la Drome Provencal has an equally agreeable climate. Allowing it to produce wine, fruits and herbs in massive quantities. Sharing a big slice of Mt. Ventoux, means that it’s some serious sport candy for cyclists of the lyra clad “speed thrills” variety. (my cycling opposites, as you are no doubt well aware.)

Other than the ubiquitous tourism, Lavender and herbs are La Drome Provencal’s main exports.

What rattles my cage about this region is that it’s “the road less travelled”, (with virtually the same climate as the road too often travelled) there’s NO industry, (so, no pollution) and, with more villages than cities, plus mountains all around, you can get lost here.

With your camera, bien sur.

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THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!

What are ya thinkin’?

French Gourmet 2020

French Gourmet. Is there any other kind? Any other possible adjective? Do not “French” and “Gourmet” go together like bread ‘n butter?, like salt ‘n pepper? And more importantly, like wine and cheese?

French Lemon Casino Caper

 

 French Lemon Casino Caper is indeed a cute title – n’est ce pas? but more than that it is also relevant. Because, as you will recall in my LAST POST the subject was oranges. (and alcohol, bien sur) So now, it’s time for Lemons. (and yes, I promise, the next post will not be about the Bells of St. Clemens!)

So – why Lemons?  Why is yer ‘ole pal DA BG  – goo-ru of French Country Travel Life, ramblin’ on about Lemons?

Well, it’s like this. I rarely watch TV. And on those rare occasions, my choice of fare is almost always a documentary. Over the past month, there have been three docs pass my screen totally concerned with, or referencing, the lemons of Menton.

Now, as you will recall from “French Geography for Smarties” Menton (pro: “mon tawn”) is at the tail end of the French Riviera. Smack dab against the Italian border. This factoid means that Menton is a “shopping portal.” The temporary destination of other Riveria-ites who pass through it to Italy. Where they shop ’til they drop at lower-than-French prices. And return. With no duty, no customs check. (That’s Europe, folks!)

Other than that singular point of distinction, Menton, is yet another fun- in- the- sun -on- the -cote- d’zur location. But, happily, without the faux glitz and nose in the air attitude of Cannes. Or the “jet set-we-bathe-in-$100-champagne” ambience of St. Tropez.

But in the hills above the city(what the locals who’ve never seen the Rockies would call “Mountains”) there grows the fabled Lemons of Menton.

Why all the fuss over these “citrons?” Well, first of all, the “LOM” is not as acidic as it’s non Menton Brothers. While it’s always a semantic minefield to attempt to “describe” a taste(unless you’re a nerdy wine snob) the lack of acidity gives the LOM a softer, more subtle flavor. Very much favored by Gourmet restauranteurs. Most of whom, on the Riviera, have a “dedicated” supplier in them thar hills.

 

As you might expect, this revered Citron is Menton’s prinicpal claim to fame. And as such is celebrated with  a yearly festival. Now in it’s 8Oth year. That’s the good news. The bad is that owing to the fact there are only about 15 “Lemonists” left in Menton, the majority, if not all of the  145 tons of fruit needed is imported from……you guessed it……Morocco!

Menton’s Lemons are partially, if not totally responible for Monaco’s Casino culture. This is because “back in the day” Menton was a part of Monaco. The heavily-taxed-for-it’s-Lemons part.

Finally, “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” the Menton-ites, taking a cue from Robespierre and his posse – revolted. Peacefully, I’m happy to report. The result left Monaco without the mountains  o’ cash the lemon taxes had provided. Viola – enter the Casino!

As you would expect there is a “Hotel Lemon” in Menton. Certainly “Tarte du Citron”. And tho’ I haven’t checked, I’d be willing to bet a bottle of  Chateau Pichon, Comtessee de la Lande 1984, that you could also find an organic juice bar offering “Lemon smoothies.”

Prove me wrong and get a great bottle of wine. Now, how cool is that?

THROW ME A BONE HERE,PEOPLE!

What are ya thinkin’?