Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 46

Anyone for Champagne?

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by : 
ElizabethS


"It smells a bit like cat food.”

This was my initial thought upon being handing my glass of champagne during a tour at the famous champagne producer, Mercier, in Epernay, a town in the Champagne region in France. However, I didn’t voice this thought, as there were lots of sophisticated people around who seemed to be enjoying their champagne, and probably wouldn’t have appreciated my “cat food” comment.

Not knowing much about champagne, the tour which had preceded the tasting was more interesting to me. Along with a group of friends, I went on a little train deep into the Mercier cellars (or caves as they are called in French) where the champagne is kept in bottles over a period of years until it matures.

In 1858, Eugène Mercier founded his champagne house, and from the beginning he embraced new technologies and ideas. Famously he built a huge barrel, the equivalent to 200,000 bottles, to take his new champagne to Paris. This caused quite a stir, as did his films about his champagne made by the Lumière brothers, who were first film makers in history. Both of these helped Mercier to expand his champagne business and become more well known and established as one of the finest champagne producers in the region.

Yet finest champagne producer or not, I still couldn’t help but think that this champagne was very expensive for something that smelt a bit odd. It tasted ok, quite fizzy and similar to wine and some people really enjoyed it. I think I’ll stick to other drinks from now on, but I’m glad I did the champagne tasting – tasting true French champagne in the Champagne region is an opportunity not to be missed.

There is, however, lots of other traditional French produce that doesn’t smell like cat food, that I would happily sit down and eat... pastries and cheese, anyone?

Discussion

What food or drink is your region famous for? 

Comments

MALINE's picture
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MALINE 22 April, 2014 - 19:44

Another famous drink is Pulque in ancient times this beverage was offered only to the Gods but nowadays mortal people is allowed to drink it too. lol
In the State of Puebla you can find Rompope and Sidra (kind of a fizzy apple juice) the best thing is that doesn´t have alcohol and everybody gets to taste it.

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MALINE's picture
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MALINE 22 April, 2014 - 19:37

In México you can find several drinks but maybe the most known all over the world is Tequila,and it has to be from Tequila,Jalisco otherwise it can´t be called a Tequila.

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Khaleesi's picture
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Khaleesi 22 April, 2014 - 16:10

I think we are most famous for our ham and cheese, especially ham and cheese from Njeguši. (Just mentioning it makes me drool)
And probably our 'kačamak'. It was once considered as food for the poor, but today it is regarded as 'traditional'.

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JoEditor 22 April, 2014 - 16:36

Hi Khaleesie,
Can you tell us more about 'kačamak'? What is it and what is made of? 
Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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Khaleesi's picture
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Khaleesi 23 April, 2014 - 12:33

Well, it's made of potatoes, wheat flour, white cheese and kaymak. (Kaymak is a sort of cream made of milk. I don't know if there is an english word for it.) First, you boil the potatoes and then add wheat flour and mix until It's cooked. And then you add cheese, milk, or kaymak. (And in some cases, butter) Depends on your taste. There are many different recipes, like when some people use corn wheat instead of wheat one. I researched a bit, and found out it is similar to the italian "Polenta", or the american "grits". It's served with yogurt (or soured milk).
I think my family only eats it twice a year. That is during the "Christmas Morning", when we toss rice at each other (Well, you are supposed to throw it only once somebody gets into the house, but we kinda broke that rule) and hunt for coins that grandma put in the bread. The second day is our "Slava"(Translation: glory). Most families here have different "slavas", dedicated to their saints/patrons. And they celebrate it differently. It's my family's tradition to eat yogurt and "kačamak".

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JoEditor's picture
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JoEditor 23 April, 2014 - 14:08

Thanks a lot for explaining this, Khaleesi. You learn something new every day! It sounds tasty. :)
Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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justcricketforme 14 March, 2014 - 13:46

In Pakistan, Lassi is very popular. In cities, mostly sweet one is drank and in villages sour is popular. It's made up of milk and youghart with salt or sugar. It's very refreshing in summers. It's fun when you're sweating like mad and then you get a chilly hlass of Lassi with ice! Aha! Summers, come soon!!!!!!!!

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Hanna 8 February, 2014 - 15:58

Borsch(kind of soup with beet and cabbage, sometimes we add prune. It has to be thick), lard and dumplings(pampushkas) are famouse examples of Ukrainian cuisine. In every region we have different variations of those dishes. For examples in Polatava region(where I'm from) borsch with prunes and dumplings is very popular, but we also serve dumplings(with different stuffing and without it) as separate dish(also in the center of our town we have monument for this kind of food. It's big plate with dumplings and spoon near it. Spoon is big enough, so when tourists come to Poltava they sit in it and look like big dumplings). In winter we have celebration of lard(or as we call it "salo"). There you can taste different sorts and kinds of it, like lard in chocolate and lard in champagne. And if we talk about alchohol drinks there is we make Mead(Medovuha) and really good vine(as I know few hundreds bottles of Ukrainian vine were booked for William and Kate wedding).

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Natalija 5 November, 2013 - 13:24

Serbia is famous for "rakija". Rakija is our traditional drink and brand; it's usually made from plum and it's called "Sljivovica". I don't like it, and it's usually too strong for women, but men drink it a lot.

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