Beaune Appetite and a Swinger-Biter to Boot

The next day we headed to Beaune and, upon arrival, was promptly hit by an oncoming driver. I find that in most cities or countries, when one sees a stalled car blocking the road, one stops – or at least slows down. In France, it seems, they speed up. I won’t go into detail, as it’s a sore spot for the German, but we spent the next several hours filling out an accident report in French. Note to all: BUY THE INSURANCE.

With plans slightly detoured, we sprang back and eventually met up with friends, Stacy and Greg Lill of DeLille Cellars, who had just come from celebrating Greg’s 5-0 at the Monaco Grand Prix via Cannes, where they spotted Brangelina. (Admission: I have a weird, obsessive crush on Angelina – more like a stalker then a schoolgirl, but anyway…) And Bob and Cathy Betz of Betz Family Winery, who had been traveling in Italy for the past month and come to France to visit family. Somehow, the stars aligned, and there we were, in Côte de Beaune.

Being in Burgundy with the likes of Bob Betz, a fluent-French, master of wine, regional expert, and simply, one of the world’s nicest guy – was truly a privilege. He reserved a table for six at the local Michelin one star restaurant Loiseau de Vignes, which is known for pouring all 70 wines on its wine list BY THE GLASS. The open bottles are stored in an oxygen-free, totally closed, aquarium-like tank that preserve the wines for up to three weeks. We gave Bob the reigns, and away, he steered. (Below is the best recollection we had of what we drank.)

• Chablis premier cru, La Forêt, Raveneau
• Etienne Sauzet, Puligny Montrachet
• 2001 Domaine Humbert Frères Gevrey-Chambertin

Over appetizers, cheerful banter lead to where we all met: Cathy and Bob have known each other since they were both 19; Greg and Stacy met at Celebrity Waiters, and the German and I – Match.com. I described it like Sears catalogue shopping during Christmas. The German’s perspective was more like an “all-you-can-eat” menu (Yes, he kept a straight face. He’s German for God’s sakes!). Speaking of all you can eat, Greg coined the new Wikipedia- worthy term, “Swinger-Biter” – a wife, in this case his, who barters a bite of her husband’s appetizer for a bite of another man’s appetizer. Go Stacy!

As an entrée, I had the local, specialty Quenelles. Foodies don’t require an explanation, but for us amateurs, it’s worth describing. It’s a mousse-textured dumpling, in this case made with Perch instead of the standard Pike, poached in a rich, lobster sauce. Being a low on the food-risk-taking scale, this was a gamble, which paid off! The meal finished with rich, chocolate and lemony-strawberry gorgeous desserts, the best in the world being the German’s Soufflé Grand Marnier. Beaune Appetite, indeed!

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