The golden month of November is upon us and with that the beginning of many celebrations.
November 18th, The Language Learning Institute will be welcoming in the Beaujolais Nouveau in Saratoga. This once a year event in France, is well known and widely celebrated. Come join us at the Union Gables Bed and Breakfast at 6:00pm for fun, food, wine and laughter. This is a ticketed event for those 21 years of age and over, there are only 32 tickets: so purchase yours today by calling 518-346-7096.
Our October concert, The Sounds of Music: A Tour of France, Germany, Italy and Russia through Classical Music was quite the treat. The performers were amazing: Irina Petrik, Kelly Hutchinson, Vedrana Kalas, and Sariah Mae Patrick accompanied by Michael Clement. I was very pleased to be able to offer a concert of this caliber.
Culture Series – “Le beaujolais nouveau est arrivé”
One of the most popular rituals in the wine world.
Beaujolais nouveau is the wine harvested this year. This “New wine” is made from “Gamay” grapes grown in the Beaujolais region. It is fruity, lightly bodied and tannin-free. It will always surprise you with some specific little fruity flavor like strawberry, banana… It comes from the Lyon region of France in the center of the country and heart of the fine cuisine.
On the same day every year, the third Thursday of November, all around the world approximately 80 millions bottles are released on the market, with 30 million dedicated for export. This tradition started in 1951.
You will find the “Beaujolais nouveau” in every French bistro and restaurants but it will also be the favorite “guest” at any family reunion or friends party. It will usually be served with sausage, salami, cold meat and salads. It also goes very well with the traditional cheeses and French Baguette! This is a time of friendship, a time to enjoy company.
So enjoy and we can all say together the traditional phrase:
“le Beaujolais nouveau est arrive”
All guests must be over 21 to join us in celebrating the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau. Just as in France, we believe in enjoying wine in moderation and always have a designated driver so we can all be safe on the road.
We are a growing and expanding school, specializing in the learning and study of French, Italian, Spanish and newly added Russian and Ukrainian. We are looking for energetic, enthusiastic and talented people to join our team.
Stop by and get a good meal, gift, or check out our latest promotional material!
Le Gouvernement et les Nouvelles Françaises
This week the French Senate approved an important bill in French political history.
The highly contested bill that would increase the age of retirement from 60 to 62 was voted on this past Tuesday, October 26th. The bill was approved with a narrow margin, primarily because of the UMP-Union Centriste alliance. The bill had 177 votes for, and 151 against. It is expected that this bill
will be put into effect by mid-November. This bill had the third-longest debate in the history of the French Fifth Republic, clocking in at 143 hours, which spanned over 16 days.
However, despite the UMP’s success, the left-wing parties, along with trade unions, are planning for a massive protest on Thursday to try to stop Sarkozy from signing the bill into effect. However, since Sarkozy and his party were the ones to propose and draft this bill, it is unlikely that these protests will pursuade him. The Senate was the last major hurdle for this bill, as it has already passed through the National Assembly, the lower house, and now they just need to approve it once more to pass on to the President. These strikes will take place on the national level and will affect most metropolitan areas on Thursday.
Croque-monsieur (Hot Ham and Cheese Grilled Sandwich)
It originated in France as a fast food snack. Its first recorded appearance was on a menu in a Parisian café in 1910. Serving a Croque-monsieur with a fried or poached egg on top is called a Croque-madame.
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
8 slices of sandwich bread
4 ozs. baked ham, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese, divided
4 Tbsp butter, softened
Preheat the broiler to the lowest heat setting. Evenly divide and spread the mustard on 4 slices of bread. Place a few slices of ham, followed by 1/2 cup Gruyere, on the mustard-side of the bread. Cover the cheese with the remaining slices of bread and spread the butter on the outside surfaces of the sandwiches.
Place the sandwiches on an ungreased baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes, turn them over, cover with the remaining cheese, and continue cooking until they are crispy and golden brown, about 5 additional minutes.
Eleonora’s Secret – A Journey through Italian Wine Regions? Piemonte!
This year I would like to take you on a tour of the many wine regions in Italy.
Lombardia – More than just Milano
History and Tradition
Bounded by the Po River to the south and the Alps to the north, Lombardy is a rich plain. It’s home to Italy’s fashion capital, Milan, as well as the tourist areas of Lake Garda and Lake Como. Lombardy is also home to Italy’s best sparkling wine, Franciacorta and some lesser known, but interesting red wines, including Valtellina, crafted from Nebbiolo grapes.
First inhabited by Gallic tribes, what is today Lombardy was conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C. and became part of the Cisalpine Gaul, which in Latin means “Gaul on this side the Alps.” In A.D. 569 the area became the center of the kingdom of the Lombards, an ancient German group that gave the region its current name.
After many more centuries of unrest and changing leadership, the region was under the rule of Austria as a part of the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom from 1815 until 1859, when they once rejoined Italy as a part of the united Italian Kingdom under the rule of the House of Savoy. At the end of WWII, the Savoy family was expelled from Italy and the Italian Republic was born. In 2003 the provision exiling the former royals was revised to allow the members of the Savoy family free entry onto Italian soil as private citizens. Today, Lombardy is considered the industrial and commercial capital of Italy.
Although most agriculture in Lombardy focuses on food production rather than grape growing, and its grapes and wines have a difficult time when compared to the surrounding northern regions, Lombardy is a respectable wine producing area. The wines of this region come from six main noble grape variety zones.
The Oltrepò Pavese, which means beyond the Po River, has a long tradition of excellent wine. Only recently has its wines acquired a well-deserved recognition that goes beyond the national borders.
The Valtellina DOC zone, centered around the province of Sondrio, produces some of the most appreciated regional wines based largely on the local version of Nebbiolo, the Piedmont noble grape known here as Chiavannesca. The Valtellina Superiore DOCs, which are usually differentiated by the area where the grape was grown, are especially good.
The province of Brescia, which includes the Franciacorta zone with its rich reds, excellent whites, and outstanding sparkling wines, is the third major wine producing area. There are about 70 wineries within the Franciacorta zone, and some of them, such as the Berlucchi, producers of arguably the best Italian sparkling wines, and the Ca del Bosco, are recognized national leaders in quality and prestige. In addition, there are two more DOC zones, the Cellatica and Botticino, which are closer to the city of Brescia; and other notable wines, such as the Trebbiano di Lugana, are produced on the Brescian shores of the Garda Lake.
The three other main producing areas, though less noteworthy, create some respectable wines such as the Valcalepio DOC in the province of Bergamo, the Lambrusco Mantovano, produced around Mantova near the border with Emilia-Romagna and the tiny zone of San Colombano al Lambro, in the province of Milan.
For more information about the wines of Lombardia visit:
Thank you to all who responded to last month’s “Do You Know?”
Question: What city is considered the culinary capital of France?
Answer: Paris may be the destination of choice in France, but Lyon should not be far behind. The appeal of the country’s second-largest metropolitan area, inhabited by more than 1.6 million people, begins with its fabulous restaurants. Known as France’s culinary capital, Lyon has more top-rated restaurants than any European city outside of Paris.
This Month’s “Do You Know?”
What does Italy have that is the smallest in the world??
“Just got tested by Latvia’s French Cultural Ctr., where I plan to take 60 hrs of French in 3 weeks in January; could not pass up the quality and/or the price. I got credit for a semester’s worth of class work from our classes this past year and shall get a certificate of accomplishment after the intensive course here. This, to let you know that your work in the States is appreciated.”