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Adam Balic

A week in the Dauphine

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Adam,

Since I have a batch of vin de noix going right now, I am curious to hear a description of the vin de noix you tasted in the Dauphine. Were you served vin de noix maison with your ham and cantaloupe, or was it a purchased product? If it was purchased, did you find it to be very sweet?

The reason why I am asking is that I have been putting a lot of thought in to the vin maison issue this week, and discussing it with a number of people who do their own of various kinds. One comment that I am hearing again and again is that the vins on sale from mass production that are touted as specialties of the region are almost always too sweet.

Any thoughts?

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No problem. I just have had some very good Italian there. The relationship between Grenoble and the Italians is an interesting one. They occupied the area in the early years of WWII. They were quite lax in administration and enforcement. This, more than the proximity to the resistance redout in the Vercours, made Grenoble a center of the resistance in France. At some point, (prior to Italian surrender to the Allies), the Germans moved in to replace the Italians and things got much worse. At this point my grandfather in-law was captured making bombs and sent to Camp Dora near Buchenwald.

I would say overall I used to be dissapointed with the quality of restaurants in Grenoble. At least on the high end there seems to be very little. However, as I spend more time there, we find more and more great small/family type places. In the end, thats more important to me anyway, as most of my restaurant budget goes to such places. My French in-laws tell me that we Americans are too obsessed with the guide rouge anyway.

Grenoble has some great North African places. If you return try La Belle Etoile on Rue Lionne right across the river from the Musee de Grenoble. Excellent couscous and merguez.

I am planning to move to that area in about 12 months so we will see how lucky I am! Love to see more pictures.

DCMark - I didn't mean to imply that all the Italian places in Grenoble were poor, just the places I saw. My friends tell me that the Italian population is quite large there and the food is also good. Sorry, bad expression by me.

I don't know the name of the restaurant at all sorry. It is in a square at the back of a large church (catherdral?) near a large park....

What also looked very good in Grenoble was the North African restuarants. I only had time to grab a mint tea though.

You know I think that the these areas are one of the most beautiful areas of France that I have seen. I have many alpine flower shots (some of which can be made into local booze, so I will post these later), birds animals etc. It seems that there things of beauty on all scales in this region. You were very lucky.


Edited by DCMark (log)

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[...]

Veal with ravioles and a morel cream sauce[...]

Wow, I wish I could have that for dinner tonight!!!

What was slightly odd was the amount of pizza places (Grenoble is relatively close to the Italian border) that sold terrible looking pizza for a similar price that seemed to be packed with tourists and locals alike, compared to the restuarant that we ate at.

I see others have addressed the quality of Italian restaurants in Grenoble, but I'll also point out that there's lots of terrible pizza available in northern Italy. (I'm actually thinking specifically of Tuscany, where I've spent a fair amount of time, not places further north than that, as I haven't been further north in Italy than Tuscany, Umbria, and a brief visit to a part of the Marche right near Umbria. However, I love Tuscan focaccia.)


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Adam, thank you for yet another whirlwind visual treat.

Did you get to try the goat cheese from those cute goats eating all those wild herbs?

How was the meal you cooked received? I'll bet they loved it.


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Adam,

Since I have a batch of vin de noix going right now, I am curious to hear a description of the vin de noix you tasted in the Dauphine.  Were you served vin de noix maison with your ham and cantaloupe, or was it a purchased product?  If it was purchased, did you find it to be very sweet?

The reason why I am asking is that I have been putting a lot of thought in to the vin maison issue this week, and discussing it with a number of people who do their own of various kinds.  One comment that I am hearing again and again is that the vins on sale from mass production that are touted as specialties of the region are almost always too sweet.

Any thoughts?

Lucy - I drank homemade vin de noix that were being sold in the local bar and I have bottles of the Croatian version here. I haven't drunk any commercial versions. Both have a sweet element.

I think it needs some sweetness, otherswise it risks being unbalanced and bitter. Sweetness balances the bitterness. But I can see it getting too sweet, it requires balance, but you are going to drink it so you should make it to you preference.

Goodluck!

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I would say overall I used to be dissapointed with the quality of restaurants in Grenoble.  At least on the high end there seems to be very little.  However, as I spend more time there, we find more and more great small/family type places.  In the end, thats more important to me anyway, as most of my restaurant budget goes to such places.  My French in-laws tell me that we Americans are too obsessed with the guide rouge anyway.

Grenoble has some great North African places.  If you return try La Belle Etoile on Rue Lionne right across the river from the Musee de Grenoble.  Excellent couscous and merguez.

I am planning to move to that area in about 12 months so we will see how lucky I am!  Love to see more pictures.

I had a quite walk through and a mint tea in the Arab quarter (North African restuarant street). Judgeing from the quality of the Moroccan creramics I saw, I imagine that at least some of this food will be good?

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Adam, thank you for yet another whirlwind visual treat.

Did you get to try the goat cheese from those cute goats eating all those wild herbs?

How was the meal you cooked received?  I'll bet they loved it.

No worries, my pleasure.

The Chevre was one of the best I have ever had, creamy, herb with out a hint of bitterness or chalkness. I am going to cook a meal based on some of the stuff from the region on saturday, so I will post some other images of the cheese etc then.

I think they enjoyed the meal :smile:

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No problem.  I just have had some very good Italian there.  The relationship between Grenoble and the Italians is an interesting one.  They occupied the area in the early years of WWII.  They were quite lax in administration and enforcement.  This, more than the proximity to the resistance redout in the Vercours, made Grenoble a center of the resistance in France.  At some point, (prior to Italian surrender to the Allies), the Germans moved in to replace the Italians and things got much worse.  At this point my grandfather in-law was captured making bombs and sent to Camp Dora near Buchenwald.

I guess the Italian relationship goes back even futher then WWII as until Savoy was largely absorbed into France in 1860 (as part of the political agreement with Napoleon III that brought about the unification of Italy) along with Nice, Grenoble would have been even more of a border town.

I looked up some recipes from Grenoble, on is pasta baked with poultry or game. The pasta are called Fides, which suggests that they are the same family as the Spanish Fideos or Italian Fidelanza/Fedelini. They are even cooked in a similar manner.

What a pity that it isn't possible to see and hear this part of France, pre-Italian unification. I wonder what he people sounded like at what they cooked then.


Edited by Adam Balic (log)

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I think its sort of a joke but you do see 'Savoie Libre' graffiti from time to time so there is still some sentiment for an independent Savoie and Haut-Savoie.

arton489.jpg


Edited by DCMark (log)

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After twelve hours of standing in a Scottish river, here is the my Grayling or Ombre in French. Not a Ombre Chevalier as discussed above.

gallery_1643_1443_698302.jpg

Thanks for the picture, great looking fish..


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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You're vaguely North African meal looks pretty good to me.

I always enjoy your photographs Adam. They are like slice of life portraits.

To say thank you to my hosts for their generosity I nipped down to the Saturday market and bought some ingredients to make a meal. As I was too scared to cook a traditional French meal and due to the ingredients avalible I cooked a vaguely North African meal.

Grilled peppers (including an excellent green type called 'beef hearts'), zucchini and braised carrots, grilled eggplant gratin with tomato; chicken tagine with coco beans, olives, lemon and honey; potatoes roasted with lemon and garlic; baked lamb stuffed with apricots, walnuts, barberries and onion and couscous.

gallery_1643_1525_86763.jpg

The lamb was very, very good. Given the amount of damage I saw to the alpine plants when hiking that the sheep had done, I was unsure about buying the lamb at all though.

The coco beans after shelling, but before cooking. The beans become a uniform tan colour after cooking, but taste excellent.

gallery_1643_1525_695791.jpg


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Great photos!

and one quick question: donkey sausage?? what did this taste like? I remember seeing a donkey sausage dish on a menu in rural italy many years ago (I didnt order it.)

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Great photos!

and one quick question: donkey sausage??  what did this taste like?  I remember seeing a donkey sausage dish on a menu in rural italy many years ago (I didnt order it.)

I don't know yet (I suspect it tastes a little like horse, just cuter), but I will be cooking a French Alpine* themed meal on saturday to wrap up thread so I will let you know.

* Given the number of cook books I own, I am annoyed about the almost complete lack on information on this cuisine I have.

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You're vaguely North African meal looks pretty good to me.

I always enjoy your photographs Adam. They are like slice of life portraits.

Comming from you Farid, I take that as a great compliment, thanks.

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and one quick question: donkey sausage??  what did this taste like?  I remember seeing a donkey sausage dish on a menu in rural italy many years ago (I didnt order it.)

I find it a surprisingly undifferentiated taste. One can get them from your friendly neighborhood horsemeat shop in Paris and see for yourself.


John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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A few things I cooked on the theme of French Alpine cooking.

Saucission sec, left to right: Walnut (common around the Grenoble area), Donkey and Wild Boar.

gallery_1643_1525_20640.jpg

Truite aux noisettes (trout with hazelnuts)

gallery_1643_1525_372291.jpg

Poulet aux fides. Fides are pasta, essentially the same as the Spanish fideos and cooked in a similar manner (fried until brown, then cooked in small amount of broth). We alos had two gratin, one of swiss chard, the other of ravioles and chanterelle.

gallery_1643_1525_247068.jpg

Autumn has come early to Scotland, so I was able to cook these with the Fides.

gallery_1643_1525_606015.jpg

Dessert was Tarte des Alpes, made from Tayberries (which are Scottish, not French)

gallery_1643_1525_46797.jpg

Tayberries

gallery_1643_1525_616485.jpg

And Gateau Grenoblois (Walnut cake)

gallery_1643_1525_295932.jpg

To after dinner we had a local drink made from an Alpine wormwood (Artemisia genipi, glacialis or mutellina)

gallery_1643_1525_184391.jpg


Edited by Adam Balic (log)

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To finish off this thread, I thought that a game might be fun. These are various Alpine flowers that I photgraphed while hiking in the Dauphine. One of these is used to produce a local liqueur. Can any body identify which plant and what it is called?

1.

gallery_1643_1554_462489.jpg

2.

gallery_1643_1554_707585.jpg

3.

gallery_1643_1554_440157.jpg

4.

gallery_1643_1554_752111.jpg

5.

gallery_1643_1554_458047.jpg

6.

gallery_1643_1554_343061.jpg

7.

gallery_1643_1554_188785.jpg

8.

gallery_1643_1554_1088554.jpg


Edited by Adam Balic (log)

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Nope, as a clue I will identify the booze as gentiane liqueur. :smile:

Well, I'd guess it's the first since it's the most purple/violet and gentian violet stain for tissue derives from it. On the other hand, the Google images look nothing like any of the above. In any case Adam, these are spectacular pictures. Thanks.


John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I was a bit tricky. It is actually No. 5, the giant yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea). This looks rather different to more usual gentians, being 1.5 metres high with multiply yellow flowers. It is the large starchy root that is used to produce alcohol, the most famous being "Suze".

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