Feature Article #1

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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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Friday the 13th in France

friday the 13th in france

Friday the 13th in France –

Friday the 13th in France.

What’s it like? How is it different from Friday the 13th in America? Why does it even exist? What do the French do on Friday the 13th?

Answer to number one: Sunny and warm. A welcome relief from the previous few days of sunny and scalding.

Answer to Number two: The French take everything American with several large grains of salt. Especially superstitions and cultural oddities.

It took donkey’s years before Halloween made it over to this side of the pond. Even now, it’s not celebrated everywhere. Including some large cities. Certainly not in villages too small to have a boulangerie.

But don’t go thinking that the French are wishy-washy, unhip, and oblivious to what goes down in the excited states. After all – they’re the Nation that banned that “other Friday.” (The black one.)

Answer to number three: Friday the 13th exists to give us an excuse for screwing up. When you break a glass. No worries. Friday The 13th. When you open that paint can too fast, and wind up decorating your legs and half the kitchen floor.No worries. Friday the 13th.

Include acting erratic(or worse) during a full moon. Black cat crossing your path. Walking under a ladder. Etc.

Bottom Line: Friday the 13th is our excuse for not owning our mistakes.

Whenever life doesn’t treat us as nicely as we think it should – it’s not our fault. Friday the 13th is the bad guy.

Answer to number four: While, obviously, I can’t speak for the entire Nation(would upset M. Macron, n’est ce pas?) what I (honorary froggie)will be doing on this Friday the 13th, is sitting outside in my favorite chair, inhaling the sweet country air, and sipping(effete snobs never simply “drink”) a 2019 Touraine Savignon,Pascal Delauny, (with my phone turned off!)

This is an impressive dry white with a modest price for it’s quality.It’s not available everywhere. But you might get lucky and find it at your local “Bottles B Us” or (for Brits) Tesco.

But -if you don’t – please don’t blame Friday the 13th.

More Bicycle Gourmet here.


Christopher Strong – Bicycle Gourmet’s Organic Wine

Christopher Strong – Bicycle Gourmet’s Organic Wine

Christopher Strong Bicycle Gourmet's Organic Wine


Organic Wine, like Cryptocurrency, is on everyone’s lips. However, Wine grown organically, is definitely much more pleasing to have on your lips than a bitcoin. N’est ce pas?

The Popularity of Organic wine, is the result of a general trend to more natural, chemical/pesticide free products.

As evidenced by the label “organic” on virtually everything you put on or in your body.

The producers of organic wine verify that their grapes were grown naturally. Without chemicals,pesticides and/or fungicides. And, equally importantly, without “flavoring” yeasts added in the vinification process.

Does this mean that organic wine tastes better than wine with sulfites?
Depends on your taste buds, doesn’t it?

But with organic wine, you’re assured that, assuming you do like the taste, that nothing in it should have a negative effect on your health.

 christopher strong - bicycle gourmet's organic wine

Another variety of wine cultivation that could be described as “Organic on steroids, is “Biodynamic Wine.”

This is wine that shares all the positive qualities of organic wine, but is grown using a variety of esoteric practices that are not found in Organic wine cultivation.

Such as planting and nourishing the grapes by the phases of the moon,(Something farmers have done for centuries.) and treating the soil with various natural mixtures. Such as a duiluted solution of cow manure.

The concept of Biodynamic agriculture comes from the (late)German intellectual Rudolph Steiner. Best known outside the World of Biodynamics as the founder of Waldorf Schools.

The “big man” on the International “Bio” wine campus, is Loire vigneron Nicolas Joly.

 christopher strong - bicycle gourmet's organic wine


Often referred to as “the Pope of Biodynamics” for the number of vignerons he’s “converted” to the “gospel” of Bio.

His flagship wine –Clos du Coulee de Serrant, produced from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes, retails somewhere north of $100.(USD)

(Hint: If you order this in a restaurant, bring plenty of bitcoins.)

Curiously here in France, “Organic” and “Bio” are synonyms to those outside the World of Bio wine.
At any French Saturday market, if you ask if the veggies were grown organically, the response will be: “Oui, c’est bio.”

Bottom Line: Organic Wine or Bio wine? To paraphrase Billy Joel’s lyric:
“A bottle of red, a bottle of white, it all depends upon your preference.”

Get a chemical free taste in THIS VIDEO


Bicycle Gourmet Christopher Strong’s Big Cheese Fiesta



The Bicycle Gourmet has said, many times, that  its debateable whether France is most famous for it’s wine, or It’s cheeses. But both are absoultely worth discovering.

You can taste cheeses in any of the 7 cities where cheese festivals are held, but the most popular is probably Nice. If you have a taste for the Treasures of France, visit this southern French city for it’s wide variety of cheese and the International Bakers Festival.

The festival features a number of different events. You can play cheese and bread games and there are many good ones to choose from. This event is well attended by both locals and tourists, so you it’s definitely not just another tourist cliche.

The event hosts numerous stalls that sell cheese from the region and the festival has a number of guest judges as well. You can taste and buy cheeses.

But be aware that there will be a limit to how much you can take home. If you want to take something home, the festival has a dedicated cheese bar. It will not be hard to miss!

In comparison to the other cheese festivals, the Nice festival is quite small. There are a number of stalls that offer cheese samples, and you can taste a variety of cheeses from both Spain and France.
In recent years, some of the cheese samples have contained food coloring. So be sure you ask the producer if their offering is “the real thing.”

The main event of the festival is the Bakery Challenge. Bakeries in Nice offer an incredible variety of breads, cakes and mini-desserts. Well worth trying, and always well presented. As you would imagine,this competition is popular with tourists, many of whom come just for this gastronomic event.

And, as you would also suspect, the bakeries offer a multitude of free samples. Perfect for anyone with even a moderately sweet tooth. So- best to arrive as early as possible, to take advantage of those samples before they run out.

This year the festival is in July.Usually one of the hottest summer months. And, be warned – the height of the tourist season. So, if you want to experience the chesse festival and/or bakery competition, you need to accept, you will be “sharing the experience.”

Throw Me A Bone Here People!

What are ya thinkin’?