Articles
12/15
2014
The Comptoir gourmet recipes    

Gourmet Recipe #5

Gourmet News and the Comptoir du Champ join forces to present recipes to you every week with in-season ingredients!

Yeah! The holidays celebrations are coming sooner and sooner! Here at Gourmet Quest, the party has already started. Today we have some roasted pork tenderloin with vanilla honey, because we love sweet & savory dishes :)

Roasted pork tenderloin with vanilla honey

Preparation: 15 min
Cooking time: 45 min

Ingredients (for 5 people):
- 1 kg of pork tenderloin roast
- 1 vanilla pod
- 4 tablespoons of honey
-2 tablespoons of olive oil
-30 g of butter
- 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, crushed

Preparation:
In a saucepan, melt the honey and the butter, and then add the coriander seeds, salt and pepper. Sear the roast in a frying pan with olive oil. Put it in a dish, coat it with the spiced honey and put it in the oven for 30 minutes (160°C), basting it regularly with the sauce. 
3 minutes before the end of the cooking time, turn on the broiler to roast it. Check that it is done with a needle: push the needle to the middle of the roast, when you pull it out, the top should be warm and there shouldn’t be any red juice.
Let the meat rest in the oven for about 15 minutes. 
Serve with some nice Jasmine rice and the cooking juice.

Want a wine to go with it? Gigondas or Chateauneuf du Pape for some, a dry white wine for others. 


In partnership with

Le Comptoir du Champ
9 Belle Cour 44140 Montbert
02 40 04 71 77
www.comptoirduchamp.com


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12/05
2014
The comptoir gourmet recipes    

Gourmet Recipes #4

Gourmet News and the Comptoir du Champ join forces to present recipes to you every week with in-season ingredients!




The holiday celebrations are coming soon… Here is a dessert recipe that will melt your heart… and your taste buds!
Bon appétit :)

Sévigné Fondant, Citrus Fruit Sauce

Preparation: 30 min
Rest time: 12 hrs
Cooking time: 10 min

Ingredients (for 6 people):
- 270 g of dark chocolate*(for baking)
- 160 g of butter*, softened
- 4 eggs + 6 yolks
- 30 g + 140 g of sugar*
- 1 pinch of salt*
- 50 cl of skimmed milk*
- zest of 2 oranges
- zest of a lemon

* products available at the shop or on the Comptoir’s website in season

Preparation:

Prepare the fondant by separating the egg whites from the yolks. Melt the chocolate using a water bath, and add the butter to the chocolate once off the heat. Let rest for a few minutes and add the 4 egg yolks. Whisk the egg whites with salt. When the size doubles, add 30 g of sugar and continue to whisk until the whites become stiff and shiny. With a spatula, gently add the egg whites to the chocolate.

Press a cling film onto a humidified cake mold pan. Pour the preparation in the pan, then tap the pan a few times on your kitchen counter so there are no bubbles left. Fold the film over. Refrigerate for 12 hours.

With a thin grater, zest the lemon and oranges. Heat the milk without boiling it. Meanwhile, whisk the 6 egg yolks with 140 g of sugar until the mixture become white. Keep stirring while pouring the milk in the egg-sugar mixture.
Pour the preparation in a saucepan and let it cook for about 10 min, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon: the mixture should never boil. When the sauce is coats the spoon, take it off the heat, add the zest and let cool. Keep it refrigerated until you serve it with the fondant. 

In partnership with
Le Comptoir du Champ
9 Belle Cour 44140 Montbert
02 40 04 71 77
www.comptoirduchamp.com

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11/28
2014
The Comptoir Gourmet Recipes    

Gourmet Recipes #3

Gourmet News and the Comptoir du Champ join forces to present recipes to you every week with in-season ingredients.
 


We thought you might need some tips and recipes to prepare for the upcoming winter. So today we’re sharing a chicken broth recipe and a pleasant dessert to warm your cold days…

Bon appétit! ;)


Chicken Broth

Preparation: 20 min
Cooking time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
- chicken leftovers* with meat (carcasses, legs, wings) or 6 chicken wings
- 2 carrots*
- 1 celery stalk*
- 1 leek*
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 1 garlic clove*
- peppercorns
- coarse salt*

* products available at the shop or on the Comptoir’s website in season

Preparation:
Peel 2 large carrots and slice them into coins. Wash the celery stalk and cut it into strips. Remove the ends of the celery and split it in two parts. Put the vegetables and the chicken parts into a saucepan filled with 3 litres of water, a big pinch of salt, a whole garlic clove, 3 bay leaves, 5 peppercorns and 3 thyme sprigs.
Let it boil, skim the top regularly if necessary, and let it cook for 2 hours over low heat. Filter the broth through a strainer.
Keep the meat for other recipes like chicken pot pie or salad…

TIP: once cold, pour the broth in an ice-cube tray and put it in the freezer. This way, you will always have some on hand!


Pears poached in red wine

Preparation: 10 min
Cooking time: 40 min

Ingredients (for 6 people):
- 6 pears* peeled (Conference)
- 50 cl of red wine*
- 300 g of sugar*
- 2 pinches of cinnamon*
- the juice of a lemon

* products available at the shop or on the Comptoir’s website in season

Preparation:
Boil the wine with sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. 
Add the pears and let it cook over low heat. Drain and serve.
You can also reduce the liquid and use it to coat the pears before serving. Accompany with vanilla ice cream and langues de chat (or other buttery and crispy biscuits).

Le Comptoir du Champ
9 Belle Cour 44140 Montbert
02 40 04 71 77
www.comptoirduchamp.com



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11/15
2014
Zoom on...    

The Cat Cafés
After spending a hectic month fighting against the Insipids to save the French cuisine, I can finally relax! As I am passionate about cats, I will take great delight in going to a special place… a cat cafe, or Neko Cafe as the Japanese say.

Beginning in 1998 in Taiwan, it seduced the Japanese very quickly. Since the opening of the first feline café in Japan in 2004, these new cafés multiply and become very popular. Some even specialize in colors or cat species. The aim remains the same: spend an affectionate moment drinking a tea or coffee.

Good news for cat lovers: this wave is coming to Europe! The 1st Neko Café of London opened last March: “Lady Dinah’s Cat Empire”. If you are nearby and like cats, go and drink an English tea in this typical-looking neo-tearoom.

The first French cat café opened its door in 2013 in Paris, in the Marais neighborhood. The success of the “Café des chats” (Cat café) was so good that a second one is opening only one year after the first one, in another Parisian neighborhood, Bastille. This is another opportunity to express one’s feline love, play, caress, and take photos of these adorable creatures formerly abandoned or born in the streets.

So I’ll just sit here to have a break and a well-deserved snack… and have fun playing cat with CAT trip! From puzzles to landscapes, I’ll go find my treasure: delicious biscuits! Meowmm :)

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10/29
2014
Sam's Ideas    

Halloween Special Menu


One can’t miss Halloween each year. 
Fan or not, it is an opportunity for all kind of foodies to cook imaginative recipes ;-)
Here’s an appropriate menu for this week!


TERRIFYING MENU

Starters: Witch’s fingers

Strasbourg sausages rolled up in puff pastry with her nail as an almond
Served with tomato sauce

Main course: Bat Wings with earthworms stir-fry

Chicken wings pickled with Tabasco, apple cider vinegar and black food colouring
Accompanied by long, black pasta

Dessert: Ghost cake

Chocolate cake with its haunted icing

Bon appétit and Happy Halloween!


Personally, I love Halloween! You might know it is originally a Celtic celebration. More than 2,500 years ago, the Celtics celebrated their New Year on October 31, the transition between the light season (summer) and the dark season (winter). The legend says that on this day the doors between the two worlds open and the dead visit the living… So the living would put candles behind their windows to lighten the road for the spirits, they’d keep their door open and an empty space around their table. Then, they would leave the meal of the death behind their windows for one or two days. 

The jack o’ lantern comes from a character of a 19th century Irish tale, although the term was already used in the 17th century to describe the phenomenon of ignis fatuus, the will-o'-the-wisp. Stingy Jack, a malicious and manipulative drunk, managed to trick Satan and made him promise not to take his soul to Hell. But he wasn’t eligible to go to Heaven either… so once dead, he was condemned to wander between the two worlds. Satan threw him embers with a mocking tone to guide him in the dark, and Jack had the idea to put it in a turnip, his favourite vegetable. With the arrival of the Irish in America, the pumpkin replaced the turnip, a rare vegetable in the New World. 

Myth or not, I can’t get tired of these stories… So when will we have a Gourmet Quest episode about Halloween?!


Find the recipes here:

Starters: Witch's fingers by Le Journal des Femmes 

Main course: Bat wings by Ricardo Cuisine 

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10/18
2014
The Comptoir Gourmet Recipes    

Gourmet Recipes #2

The "Semaine du Goût", or the Festival of Flavors!

At Comptoir du Champ and Gourmet Quest,
we take the celebration of the "Semaine du Goût" (Week of Taste) very seriously. It all starts with an aperitif and here, we see things in a BIG way. 

Several fast and delicious recipes to make for a party apperitif!

Keep a (very) small place for the next meal :)!

Drinks:
No aperitif is without a proper drink. For children and adults, fruit juices are in place: apple juice, raspberry and apple juice, and white or red grape juice. 

Let’s not forget the multi-coloured and sparkling aperitif star: the Chanteaumière! Pink, blue, green, or plain, each color has its particularity: grapefruit, lemon, or curacao. You choose the one that suits you best. 

If you prefer wine, you will also find a great selection with one or some of the following: sweet wine (Siorac or Symphonie), dry white wine (Muscadet or Chardonnay), red wine (Merlot, Siorac, Cabernet), and rosé (Siorac or Cabernet Rosé ). 

And for those who love bubbles, they will find the Bouffay beers (blond, white, or amber) and ciders (dry or half-dry). 

Careful not to abuse those delicious liquids!

Vegetables to munch on: carrots, cauliflower, radishes, or diced tomatoes, are served with yoghurt or fromage blanc based sauces, that can be seasoned with a spoonful of cream, a squeeze of lemon juice, spices (curry, paprika, etc.), or fresh herbs (parsley, chives, mint..)

Diced cheese: you can cut the cheeses into small cubes: Tomme de Saint lumine or Saint Lumine cheese, goat cheese or fresh cow cheese, plain or with cracked pepper or herbs... 

Prunes amuse-bouches
Preparation: 5 min - Cooking time: 30 min
For 4 people:
- 200g of bacon
- 20 prunes
- Pepper
Cut the bacon into strips. Wrap the prunes with the bacon and bake in the preheated oven (220°C) for 8 minutes. 

Beets in verrines
Preparation: 5 min - Cooking time: 0 min
- 1 ½ cooked beets
- 1 boiled potato
- 1/3 of cream (whipping cream, for example)
- Salt and nutmeg
Mix the potato and the beets. Bring the cream to a boil with the added nutmeg, then whisk in the creamy mixture with the mashed vegetables and add salt to taste. Put in verrines. Keep in the refrigerator until serving. 

Cold zucchini soup
Preparation: 20 min - Cooking time: 30 min
- 4 zucchinis, chopped
- 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 melted cheese or gruyere
- 1 tablespoon of crème fraîche
- 2 bouillon cubes (chicken)
Boil the broth with the bouillon cubes. Stir in the zucchinis and the potatoes. When the vegetables are cooked (after about 20 minutes), remove excess water so the soup won’t be too liquid. Blend the vegetables, adding the sour cream and the melted cheese or gruyere into it. Warm up the soup a little to thicken it if there is too much liquid. Store in refrigerator and serve very cold!

Mini pizzas
Preparation
: 20 min - Cooking time: 5 minutes
- slices of sandwich bread
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- tomato sauce
- Tomme de Saint Lumine cheese, grated
- slices of ham - a couple Parisian mushrooms, sliced
- Provence herbs
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven at 240 ° C. Prepare the sauce: simmer the tomato paste and the tomato sauce in a saucepan with the herbs, salt, and pepper. Prepare the filling: cut the ham and the mushrooms into small pieces. Add the filling to the sauce and mix. Spread the mixture over the slices of bread and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Grill or bake in the oven slightly for 5 minutes and serve. 

Roasted peppers
Put a pepper on the barbecue grill or under the broiler in the oven. Turn it when the skin is black before it is completely burned. Put it in a sealed container or plastic bag for about ½ hour so that the skin comes off on its own. Remove the seeds and rinse it, then cut the pepper into strips and season it. You can keep it for several days in a marinade of oil flavored with garlic, thyme, tarragon or other herbs. 

Spread cream cheese drained
- 1 fresh goat cheese (about 150 to 200g)
- 1 tomato (cut at the equator with the seeds removed)
- 1 onion or shallot
- ½ roasted pepper (optional)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- tarragon, chives or other herbs
- olive oil
- Optional: pickles, cucumber, parsley, ham, nuts, vinegar, seeds... 
Cut everything into small pieces (the smaller, the prettier!). Mix it with the fresh cheese, add a generous hint of olive oil, season, and if possible let stand in a cool place. 

There you go ! You are ready to party for the sake of Taste ! Keep me posted if you try these recipes :)

Bon appétit!



In partnership with
Le Comptoir du Champ
9 Belle Cour 44140 Montbert
02 40 04 71 77
www.comptoirduchamp.com


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10/11
2014
Sam’s Ideas    

Eat pumpkins, my love !

"Un conseil Madame, un conseil Monsieur
Mangez sain, mangez frais, mangez des citrouilles !

Mange des citrouilles, mon amour
Mange des citrouilles, nuit et jour
Ça donne bonne mine
C’est plein de vitamines
Vitamines A, B, C
C’est bon pour la santé ……"

This is the (remixed) beginning of Elvea’s famous song (1961) sung by Jack Ary: “Mange des tomates”, which literally means “Eat tomatoes”. Yes, French people do have silly songs… But if you haven’t heard it, which I suppose you haven’t, go listen to it NOW. Light and enthusiastic, it brings you joy in just a few notes of a springy cha-cha.
 
Here is a primitive translation, of the “remixed” one ;) : 

"Some advice Madam, some advice Sir
Eat healthy, eat fresh, eat pumpkins!
Eat pumpkins, my love
Eat pumpkins, night and day
It makes one look well
It is full of vitamins
Vitamins A, B, C
It’s good for your health….”

But the tomato season has passed…. Oh noooooooo, don’t be sad! Autumn is a fabulous season, it’s PUMPKIN season! They are often used as an element of decoration rather than prepared to be consumed.

I say STOP! Stop hijacking the pumpkins! Yes to its consumption! Pumpkins deserve an autumn-y cha-cha to honour them. Moreover, pumpkins provide vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, fiber, and minerals like Zinc for example. Its nutritional value is in its high amount of beta-carotene (what makes it orange) which is an excellent antioxidant. In fact, I bet Gourmet Quest chose this orange color because of this marvelous vegetable whose benefits are too many to count.

One tip: the more orange the pulp, the more beta-carotene there is

Did you know? A 200g portion of pumpkin fills one serving of vitamin A a day

Now you know what to do!

Eat pumpkins, my love
Eat pumpkins, night and day


If you like combining music and gastronomy, I suggest you to fit in the event Le Millésime, festival œnologique & musical de Grenoble (The Vintage, wine and music festival of Grenoble). You still have time until October 29 to enjoy the explained tastings, the composers’ evenings, meetings with authors, video projections, gastronomic and musical events during the day, and festive evening events…

For more information (French):
Le Millésime, festival œnologique & musical de Grenoble

Link to the original song: "Mange les tomates"

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10/06
2014
The Comptoir's Gourmet Recipes    

Gourmet Recipes #1

Gourmet News and the Comptoir du Champ join forces to present recipes to you every week with in-season ingredients. Today, we’ve made you a menu: chard custard and an apple and pear pie with honey caramel… Yummy!
You do know apple and pear but you might not know what chard is. Chard is beet’s cousin, a vegetable whose bright green leaves and fleshy stalk we eat.

Chard Custard

Preparation: 30 min
Cooking time: 30 + 30 min

Ingredients (for 4 people):
- a bunch of chards*
- 4 eggs*
- 125 g of plain yoghurt
- salt*, pepper*
- chives
- 1 onion, chopped
- grated cheese, Saint Lumine cheese for example*

* products available at the shop or on the Comptoir’s website in season

Preparation:
Separate the chards’ stalks from the leaves and boil them separately, in a little water for the leaves (5 minutes should be enough), and in a lot of water for the stalks (30 min cooking time).
Mix the chards and add the yoghurt, eggs, and the onion. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and sprinkle the grated cheese on top of it.
Bake it in a bain-marie (hot water bath) at 180° C for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Apple and pear pie with honey caramel

Preparation: 20 min
Cooking time: 35 min

Ingredients (for 6 people):
- 2 apples (Jonagored, for example)
- 2 Guyot pears*
- 1 short crust pastry made with 100% butter
- 2 tablespoons of crème fraîche*
- 2 tablespoons of honey*
- 30 g of salted butter*
- 1 tablespoon of caster sugar*

* products available at the shop or on the Comptoir’s website in season

Preparation:
Peel the apples and pears and cut them into thin slices. Spread the pastry in a cake pan, then put the fruits slices in concentric circles.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, then add the honey.
Once the "honey caramel" is brown, remove it from the heat and mix in the crème fraîche. Pour the caramel cream over the apples and pears. Dust the caster sugar on top, and then put it in the oven for 35 min at 200° C.
Let the pie cool so that the caramel hardens slightly.

If you are in the area, I strongly recommend you to shop at the Comptoir du Champ, not only because the ladies are really nice and very welcoming, but mostly because you will find your culinary happiness there. 
Fresh products coming from local farm producers and their famous baskets filled to the brim with vegetables, meats, eggs, and cheeses selected every week according to a pre-made menu, so you just have to work your magic in the kitchen!
And if you live in the Loire-Atlantique department, there are many delivery spots. On Saturdays, the rounds are done by horse-drawn carts… Quite unique, isn't it? :)

Le Comptoir du Champ
9 Belle Cour
44140 Montbert
02 40 04 71 77
www.comptoirduchamp.com

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09/27
2014
Zoom on...    

Cargo Bikes, Pedicabs & Food Bikes
For some time now, food bikes have started stealing the show from food trucks, and pedicabs are spreading all over the city. Thrifty and suitable to urban areas, most of them are delivery tricycles, a three-wheeled cargo bike. But let’s get back to the origins of this trend.

Cargo bikes appeared in 1900 when the first bicycles with gears were on the market. Milkman, mailman… this two or three-wheeled transportation was soon adopted by many professions.
In the 1930s, the enthusiasm was so intense that well-attended races were organized in Paris.
After the Second World War and the arrival of the automobile, cargo bikes lost their popularity and were forgotten until the 1980s when the Christiania Bike was invented, a Danish three-wheeled cargo bike. A little history lesson: the Christiania Bike was invented in the town of Christiania, which was self-declared free in the hippie period in 1971. It was a true micro state in Denmark that enacted 9 pacific laws, one of which was the ban of car use.

With more than 50% modal share of cycling in the centres of Copenhagen and Amsterdam, Denmark and the Netherlands are without doubt the spot for bikes, and cargo bikes. They estimate an average traffic of 40,000 cargo bikes in Copenhagen!
We also are witnessing an increase of this very useful and ecological transportation in all of Europe. And among its uses, pedicabs and food bikes are trending today.

In France, pedicabs, also named bike taxis or cycle rickshaws, first arrived in 2003 in Lyon. Soon they expanded to the big cities of France and arrived in Paris in 2007. 
As for the food bikes, those three-wheeled bikes that offer snacks, pastries, and real meals, they are riding their way to the Street Food stage and landing in the French cities for a little while. Lyon, Lille, Paris, Bayonne, Toulouse…, it is still hard to find them at every corner of the streets because like their older brother the Food Trucks, they suffer from local authorizations. For the gourmands and the curious, it is possible to follow them on social media. 

We are also there, join us ;)

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09/21
2014
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Social Dining : Supper Clubs & Underground Restaurants
For a few years now, you’ve heard of Social Dining, Supper Clubs, and Underground Restaurants. If you’re a little lost, let’s briefly clear things out.

1. Let’s start from the beginning: Wisconsin Supper Clubs, Midwestern USA.

The Chicago Tribune suggests a definition using the characteristics of the traditional supper clubs.
“A Wisconsin supper club is an independently owned, fine-dining destination restaurant, typically in a picturesque locale on the edge of town. The menu comes from yesteryear, void of pretense and decidedly non-froufrou — prime rib, broiled white fish, shrimp cocktail — with enough complimentary sides and trimmings to satisfy a second meal. A relish tray should begin the meal, and three hours later, is bookended with house-made bread pudding or cheesecake. On Fridays they should serve an all-you-can-eat fish fry. A band might be performing. Mixed cocktails such as Manhattans and brandy old-fashioneds are preferred over wine or beer. If you leave hungry, you have not dined in a supper club.”
Popular since the 1930’s, supper clubs have become rare, too old-fashioned to the taste of the new generations. A lot “mutated” to survive. Some are equipped with big screen television, resembling more a sports bar, while others changed the menu.
However, supper club remains the trademark of Wisconsin and we can see a rebirth of this institution. For a few years, those nostalgic have given rebirth to it, mixing tradition with modernity. They look like taverns, but respect the traditional characteristics of supper clubs: simplicity and freshness of the products in a very family-friendly atmosphere. Locals and visitors, we’re part of the community, we feel like we’re at home.

2. Here, we proceed to the recent definition of Supper Clubs: the Underground Restaurants.

Again, we feel like we’re at home, or maybe more like at friends’ place, but with strangers, in front of an excellent meal we paid for (and we’d almost forget that!). The underground restaurants or supper clubs or even closed-door restaurants like they often say in Latin America, all take over the Social Dining concept: food as a social link.
Diners are organized in places kept secret until 1 or 2 days before the event. Houses, apartments, or places more unusual like art galleries and barns… No need to clarify that the legality is doubtful; since they are not restaurants, no inspection is needed. Then, the event is posted on social media or spreads by word of mouth that the invitations and reservations are being done. Menus are announced, reservations paid for in advance, and the prices remain reasonable. It is common to lower the cost and bring drinks yourself. Arriving with a bottle of wine in hand, warmly welcomed by the hostess, you won’t see any difference from the last dinner you had at a friend’s. Except you don’t know anyone. However, you are surrounded by passionate food-lovers who are socially adept and you feel comfortable. You are here to share: no fuss, just foodies around a table tasting and talking…



Is it a little clearer now? Perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself? Tell me everything :)

More on the Wisconsin Supper Clubs:

Portal Wisconsin: “Supper Club Taste”
Chicago Tribune: “Taking the pulse of Wisconsin supper clubs”


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09/12
2014
Sam's interviews    

#5: The Great Chef

Hello friends!

Due to my pseudo-namesake’s interview where he let himself go in form and content, anarchy has broken in Gourmet News… First consequence: longer interviews! For the greatest pleasure of our taste buds... Because today I'm interviewing Sylvain, our production manager who is also a very fine gourmet :)

Sam: What do you do in Goumet Quest production?

Sylvain: I am in charge of the production’s organization and management. Otherwise I put my oar almost everywhere to make sure the team works in the same line and on time… when possible!

Sam: What is your favourite dish?

Sylvain: There are so many… yes, I do like to eat! Then I will just talk about French food, like Gourmet Quest season 1 is currently doing! For winter, I would choose sausages and lentils, with green lentils from Le Puy (south central France) and according to my mood, Morteau or Montbéliard sausage and a nice slice of smoked lard! In the spring, I sure vote for legs of lamb served with a lot of unpeeled garlic! The summer irresistibly calls for grilled meat, and I kept from my childhood in the Southwest the taste for grilled duck hearts, and offal brochettes… is it ok Sam? Alright. For autumn, I would go for pan-fried ceps with chopped parsley and garlic. So sad I can’t talk about “Truffade” (south-central dish with potatoes and Cantal cheese), “cotriade” (fish stew from Brittany,) or about buckwheat crepes… baeckeoffe or tielles (southern squid and tomato pie)… stop, it’s making me hungry!

Sam: It's making me hungry too... What do you like most in Gourmet Quest?

Sylvain: The atmosphere, the walks along the stories dotted with easy-to-play puzzles, and mini-games linked to the scenario. 

Sylvain is surely the most well-informed among us foodies… Autumn is approaching quickly, I will keep in mind the pan-fried ceps with chopped parsley and garlic, and will give a recipe made by Sam when the time comes. 

Stay connected ;)


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09/13
2014
Zoom on...    

Wine tourism

Grape harvesting season has started: why not make the most out of it and discover the French vineyards? 3,420 different wines are produced in 80 departments and 16 great vineyards: Alsace, Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Burgundy, Bugey, Champagne, Corsica, Jura, Languedoc, Lorraine, Loire, Provence, Roussillon, Rhône, Savoy and Southwest. 

People visiting the vineyards is an old practice, but enotourism, or wine tourism, is a new term. 
Atout France (France Tourism Development Agency) lists the main wine tourism services:
- visits of the vineyards
- wine routes and wine country touring
- wine country walking and hiking
- short stays in town and escapades in vineyards
- wine classes and tastings
- wine-growers’ agritourism offers (accommodation, food and leisure)
- wine fairs, festivals, and events
- business tourism offers (seminars, incentive trips…)
- wine therapy offers
In addition to this non-exhaustive list, any offer that combines wine and tourism can be considered. 

Although France is the most popular destination in world tourism and the leading wine producer worldwide, it has only been a decade since the enotourism business began developing and organizing in order to promote France as a wine tourism destination. 
A wine tourism cluster was created in 2000 and today bands 53 professional and institutional representatives of French vineyards together. The label “Vignobles et Découvertes” (Vineyards and Discoveries), awarded for a 3 year period, has standardized the line of business since 2009 and guarantees the quality of the offers; 40 destinations are approved today. Finally, the High Council for Wine Tourism unites all these partakers and awards the exemplary initiatives regarding wine tourism promotion with the National Wine Tourism Prize. 

Grape harvest time is wine tourism high season. It is the opportunity to share with the wine-growers, taste, separate, and measure… follow the grape’s path and know all about the wine’s origin. Harvests have started in late August in some regions like Bordeaux or Languedoc-Roussillon. In the Beaujolais region, they started at the beginning of September, and they will not start until mid-September in Burgundy or Champagne. Furthermore, the Champagne region recruits the most (about 100 000 pickers), because the grapes have to hand-picked. This year, 45 million hectolitres of wine are expected to be produced. It is an increased production that will allow vineyards to fill the low stock level and answer to the strong international demand. 

The grape harvests are also moments of sharing and friendliness. The meals and celebrations of the harvest gather lovers of wine and gastronomy, pickers, and wine-growers. This old tradition still remains in some regions and is back again in others. Among the most known and attended is the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival, happening this year between the 8th and 12th October.


More on Wine Tourism in France: Rendez-vous en France

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09/06
2014
All roads lead to Gourmet Quest    

Sam's pain au chocolat
It is back-to-school time, and back-to-school time always makes me a little nostalgic. 

Little Sam liked this time of year, a bit to see her friends again, but not so much for school itself. What she REALLY loved about it was the “pains au chocolat” (chocolate croissants) her mum used to buy her on the way home from school. She used to eat them up (still hot!) before even getting home… It was a ritual, a symbol, the very essence of “going to school”.
Today, the taste and the smell of this little pastry bring this memory back. And like Proust and his madeleine, I feel an extraordinary joy every time I have one, mostly when it’s still hot :)

What about you? What is your madeleine?

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08/30
2014
Zoom on…    

The Gourmet Burger


The hamburger is far from the "Hamburger Stück" the sailors passing by Hamburg used to take with them when crossing the seas in the 18th century. It is also far from what it was not so long ago… You could not have missed it, as the “gourmet” burger is everywhere and it’s a hit! Free from the junk food cliché, it is associated today with freshness and gastronomy. 

Prepared with fresh ingredients, it is on the menu of many bars and restaurants. And it's starring in "gourmet food trucks", those kitchens on wheels that offer takeaway food cooked by chefs. 

There are many recipes. Here, we add a French touch to this American food using local ingredients: "foie gras", regional cheese and cooked meats... 

Personally, I like them with Brie cheese, served with a glass of red wine and homemade French fries of course! Taste for yourself! With the eyes only, it’s delicious…

What about you? How do you like it?


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08/23
2014
Sam's interviews    

#4 : The Man For The Character

Today, I am welcoming Samuel, our 3D CG artist, the creator of our characters (including me?!). Unsually, he was much more talkative than the others… But we liked it!

Sam: What do you do in Gourmet Quest production?

Samuel: From the beginning, I designed the graphics of the game with Sylvain, mostly the characters and everything related to it (from the creation to the animation). It is a long-term project that demands a lot a patience and retouching if we want to offer lively and attractive characters :)

(I think this smile means he finds me attractive…)

Sam: What is your favourite dish?

Samuel: Since I was little, I’ve always had a soft spot for “crepes” (French pancakes). Probably because every weekend with my family, we used to make loads of sweet crepes and eat them while watching the “Saturday Trilogy” (former French TV show).

Sam: What do you like most in Gourmet Quest?

Samuel: I love the musical theme, it will “be stuck in your head” for days! More seriously, I especially like the richness of the gameplay. Gourmet Quest is filled with mini-games accessible for all but sometimes even stimulating for the brain cells!

Now my turn to ask you a question Sam: Didn’t you steal my name?!

(This must be a hidden way to say I have a pretty name! Spare the rod and spoil the child, right? He definitely has a crush on me…)

Ahah… Well played! It feels funny to swap places… To answer your question, my name is just Sam whereas your name is Samuel. So when you’re called Sam, YOU are actually stealing MY name ;)

That was a nice interview… I love it when one feeds my ego, even in a (very) twisted way. 
Next step, I will take the Ice Bucket Challenge!

Stay tuned,
Sam

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08/15
2014
Summertime!    

Sam's holidays

Summer is a season that allows you to do plenty of outdoor activities. Between the coast, the mountain, and the city, we are lucky enough to have many options in France.
For my summer holidays, I always choose a city close to the sea. I like to surf and bask in the sun. In the evening, I like to stroll around the sea port and enjoy fresh fish and good wine at a table outside a restaurant… It’s the perfect summer day!
My favorite place? The Mediterranean!

Look at these landscapes… Respectively, Marseille (southern France) and Ajaccio (Corsica):

I hope you all are having a very good summertime!
Talk to you soon,
Sam :)

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08/08
2014
Readers' opinion    

Who are the Insipids?

Hello!

You remember my article where I mentioned the possible identity of the Insipids?
Well, here is Stephanie’s theory:

“Hi Sam!

I might know who the Insipids are and why they want to destroy good taste...

Either they want to become successors to the famous magician Gérard Majax, or Gérard Majax himself is the brain behind the Insipids and wants to perform the biggest trick of his career!
Sam, white rabbits are disappearing in large numbers… Surely, you are aware? What is the meaning of it, if not practice? All this can only be an act of the magicians! And abracadabra, taste is gone!

I hope someday we will defeat the Insipids for good... Long live taste!

Sincerely yours,
Stephanie”

Magicians? Hmm, I am contacting the GAG right away! All the possibilities need to be explored, you know... And if Stephanie’s theory is justified, taste is surely hidden somewhere! Then it’s up to us to foil the plans of these illusionists...
Ok, I will keep you posted!

Deliciously yours,
Sam

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08/02
2014
Recipe Ideas    

My Sweet cabbage

How many among us have been traumatized as a child by cabbage? Have many have shown a face of disgust when this vegetable is mentioned?
Stop food discrimination! It’s time for creativity!

Here are some cabbage-y ideas and recipes for your summer (or whenever!).

Sorry, all these recipes are written in French, but I’m sure you can find them in English if you search a little. If you don’t find anything, write me and I will translate them for you :)

Red cabbage by chef Alain Passard  
An Indian cauliflower recipe by Le Gourmet Végétarien  Twitter Alain Passard @ArpegeLive
Whole oven-baked cauliflower by Hana
 jveuxetrebonne.com Oven-baked cauliflower recipe
Green cabbage by "Feuille de Choux"
 feuilledechoux.fr Stuffed mini cabbages recipe
And next Winter, don't forget the garbure soup. Nathalie gives us the recipe!  lacuisinedenathalie.com Garbure Recipe

With all these nice recipes, if you still tell me cabbage is not "sweet", I will come and cook it myself! :)
See you soon foodies,
Sam






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07/30
2014
Sam's interviews    

#3: The Master Builder

My dear readers,

After a telepathic dream last night, I decided not to keep you waiting any longer and immediately interviewed our master builder: Alexandre M., game designer.
You know the rules: 3 questions and short answers.

Sam: What do you do in the production of Gourmet Quest?

Alex M.: I am the architect of the game, that is to say I define the game rules and interactions and I coordinate the team of screenwriters.

Sam: What is your favourite dish?

Alex M.: A nice dish of Basque chicken, served with white long-grain Camargue rice!

Sam: What do you like most in Gourmet Quest?

Alex M.: Writing about the Insipids and hiding clues in each episode so the players know a little more each time about this mysterious group...

Hmm, the Insipids... I have always wondered what motivates them to destroy the taste of classic dishes... Is it because they can't enjoy the flavours that they want the world not to be able to enjoy them too? Or are they sent by unscrupulous manufacturers who are trying to erase any trace of good taste? Or perhaps is it simply an act of aliens? The disappearance of taste would then only be a first step...

Well, these are only my theories... What are yours?
Send them to me and I will publish them here, or share them directly on our social media. I can't wait to read them!

sam@gourmetquest.com
Gourmet Quest Facebook page
Gourmet Quest Twitter account

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07/26
2014
All roads lead to Gourmet Quest    

Sam in Toulouse

- Ah Toulouse… The home city of my first love!

- Er… No Sam, this is Capri, and it’s in Italy!- Ah our long walks along the Canal du Midi…

- Stop, Sam, we’re not alone here! This is turning in to a mushy romance novel…

- Normal: we’re in the « Pink City », pink is romance!

- Do you know why it is called "Pink City"? Is it because of their rugby team… those beautiful males in their pink shirts sticking to their skin…

- Come on Sam, aren’t you done yet? And no, you got it wrong! "Pink City" because of the red brick buildings giving the city this pink color that suits it so well.


Toulouse, one of the main cities of the South West, the capital city of the Haute-Garonne department, fourth town of France, has it all.
Museums and historic monuments and lively streets with shops and bars, all under the smiley sun of the South. What more could you ask for? To eat of course! Well you could taste the cassoulet, the foie gras. Toulouse-style cassoulet is made with Toulouse’ sausages.. and to eat it in Toulouse would make it taste that much better! You would also enjoy foie gras made from duck or goose, grey colored Toulouse goose. Those tall ladies whose males can reach 13 kg! And don’t forget to savor the tasty meat of the Bigorre pork, that dear neighbor coming from the Hautes-Pyrénées department.
Or perhaps you have more of a sweet tooth and would only wish to have dessert? In that case you could have a slice of Fenetra, a delicious cake made with almond shortcrust pastry, candied lemons and apricots- you would not be disappointed!
Finally, anytime of the day, you could refresh yourself with violet candies and cachous, liquorice candies.

- Doesn’t life seem beautiful in Toulouse? If you stay long enough you might even be lucky enough to acquire this hot and dreamy accent that captures every girls imagination, especially the girls who would be reminded of their first love...

- Oh no, there she is starting again!

 *referring to a French popular song about a love story that ended, and which started in Capri, Italy.


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07/18
2014
All roads lead to Gourmet Quest    

Thomas Jefferson: foodie and more

The whole world knows him as the author of the Declaration of Independence. A few know him as an architect, inventor, botanist, gardener or farmer. However, President Thomas Jefferson- known as America’s first foodie- was a lot more than that.

Strongly inspired by the Enlightenment, he believed in experience and shaped botanical and agricultural America. Similar to the work he done on his Virginia home Monticello and his retirement home Poplar Forest by introducing flowers and vegetables from Europe, Africa and even Asia, he promoted the transplantation of flora and fauna (eg upland rice and the olive tree) in America.

Even if he probably never made any wine, Jefferson was undoubtedly America’s first viticulturist: according to Monticello’s official website, he made 7 major experiments in his 2 vineyards (a total of 25,000 square feet), planting in 1807 no less than 287 rooted vines of 24 European grape varieties!

And yes, he was not only America’s first foodie but also the “only epicurean President”. Unlike the other Founding Fathers meat wasn’t his favourite food. He would rather use it as a condiment for his main diet: vegetables.

President Thomas Jefferson was a vegetable lover and a pioneer in the history of American food, “linking the garden with the kitchen into a cuisine defined as ‘half French, half Virginian’”.

After being the American ambassador for 4 years in France he had a deep feeling of friendship for that country, and kept pronounced culinary influences. The first year of his presidency he even hired a French chef, Honoré Julien, who also trained his enslaved cooks.

A lot more can be said about the most unique President America ever had so feel free to read more on the subject. Why not start with the sources of this article, listed below?

monticello.org
poplarforest.org

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07/12
2014
Sam's interviews    

#2: The Magician

Julien, the MagicianHey there!

It is time to interview another member of Gourmet Quest family. Today, we have Julien, our magician, or programmer developer.
Rules are the same : brevity, brevity, brevity. You see, I don't like long speeches... Julien does! But, here, I'm the one who decides!

Let's start.

Sam: What do you do in Gourmet Quest production?

Julien: I write the logic that links the player's fingers to the pixels on the screen, and the pixels on the screen to the server circuit.

Sam: What is your favourite dish?

Julien: A good old pork chop with ratatouille!

Sam: What do you like most in Gourmet Quest?

Julien: I love the scenario of Gourmet Quest, it is well-crafted, as a roast leg of lamb should be!

Sam: Thank you Julien!

You probably understood, Julien is a foodie. We all are in the family, but Julien is known for being hundy, almost all the time... Besides, this interview made me hungry... What about some roast leg of lamb?


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06/14
2014
Sam's interviews    

#1: The Big Boss

Alex S., the Big BossHello!

My name’s Sam and I am… Well, I will tell you all about myself later.
I will see you here, regularly, for some interviews around the game Gourmet Quest.

Today we have Alexandre S. Yes, I start with the Ace.

I asked him 3 questions. One single rule: keep it short. (This is not so easy for him...)

Sam: What do you do in Gourmet Quest production?

Alex S.: Recruit talents, and energize the team.

Sam: What is your favourite dish?

Alex S.: Phò, a vietnamese soup.

Sam: Your last bad culinary experience?

Alex S.: At a restaurant’s grand opening… Service was bad, the fries weren’t cooked enough and the meat was more like rubber than proper meat!

Sam: Thank you Alex!

Well, that’s all for today. 

If you want to know a little more about Alexandre S., you may look at the Gourmet Quest family pictures on the homepage.

See you soon!
Sam

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06/07
2014
The 6 ingredients for a tender and juicy Gourmet Quest beta    

MUST-HAVES!

1. A computer, PC or Mac, and an internet access.

Friends or family members are not required but it is strongly advised to invite your surroundings so they share the experience. Be caring and generous !

2. Download and installation of the Unity 3D plug-in, using the clickable link on the game homepage.
No worries, it is free and secure.

3. An environment where a firewall does not restrain your access to the game.
If you are in a professional environment, you will probably have to hold your longing to taste the forbidden fruit and play once home.

4. Patience, because the time to download the game can vary between one to a few minutes.
It depends on you connection speed, and it might also depend on your star.

5. Sense of humor, because it is a beta test, and you will have the pleasure of meeting bugs and weird things… in small amounts, promise!

6. Last but not least, you will receive a little questionnaire, few days after you’ve played. Please take the time to answer. This is the key that will allow us to improve the game for its launch. Thanks to you, everything will be almost perfect. Almost, because perfection doesn’t exist. 

HAVE FUN!

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05/27
2014
Gourmet Quest Beta Opening    

Taste it!

Hello Everyone,

We are proud to announce today the first beta version of our game GOURMET QUEST®.
The gastronomic adventure that will make you travel in France, through its regions, will step into a next level!

This BETA is a test, a non-definitive version of the game. This means a large number of functionalities will not be available and you could encounter a few bugs.

We will take all your suggestions into consideration to offer you the best gaming experience on the day of GOURMET QUEST® release.
Thank you for your trust!
XIWEN games whole team

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05/19
2014
Gourmet Quest - The beta    

Release on May, 27th 2014

This is the first out of 15 episodes, which takes place in Auch, southwestern France, where a terrible fire… Wait, I’m telling too much ! Here’s what to expect : a quality game with a highly entertaining storyline and eye-popping graphics. But above all, you can expect to have real fun playing Gourmet Quest, alone, or with family and friends.

This beta version will allow us to identify potential errors and bugs, thanks to our game testers. Thus, by analyzing their reactions and behavior towards the different areas of the game, we will be able to make some fine-tuning and improve Gourmet Quest even further, before its launch.

The final version of the first 3 episodes will be available on the web this summer, then you will be able to play on your smartphones and tablets, surely before the end of the year !

We hope you will have some very yum… er… fun moments, and we thank you a lot for your participation.
And we’ll be looking forward for your feedback and suggestions !

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