Take a Sip of the Best French Red Wines

Red is regarded as a sexy color and taking a sip of a French red wine can make you ooze with an irresistible sex appeal. But more than the lustrous and captivating color of French red wines, the main reason why they have become very famous all over the world is because of their amazing taste combined with their rich and fascinating history passed down from one generation to another.

French Red Wines

For many centuries, France has been regarded as part of the Old World of wines, producing the highest number of wines that are being exported to different corners of the world. But with the emergence of the New World, slowly, French wines have been taken out of the shelves to be replaced by wine varieties that came from the newer wine producers. However, nothing beats the original and just recently, French red wines have started to fight back to reclaim their position.

Whether you are a wine connoisseur, wine lover, wine aficionado or just another ordinary person who wants to enjoy a couple of glasses to finish off the long week at work, there is no denying that there are several wines that have been held in higher esteem in the world of wines.

Here is a quick guide into the best French red wines that you might want to try, if you haven’t yet.

Merlot Wine
Merlot deserves the highest respect in the world of wines, not to mention that it also tastes good with food. Known for its regional names including Blaye, Côtes de Bourg, Fronsac, Pomerol and St. Emilion, the primary characteristics of the taste of this particular wine is the soft finish, easy tannins and red fruits. But aside from being smooth, it is also slightly chameleon, partly due to the way it has been vinified and mostly because of the location where it was grown. Merlot wine is a great match with a plethora of food varieties because of its middle position in the spectrum of red wines. Generally, Merlot is a great pair with chicken as well as other kinds of light meats. It also goes perfectly with slightly spiced dark meats. Thanks to its low acidity and medium tanning, you will find that this can pair well with a lot of foods. However, this will not pair well leafy green veggies or fish unless these have been cooked in a specific way or braised. Also, spicy foods might overwhelm the nuanced flavors of Merlot.

Grenache Wine
The distinctive cinnamon flavor and candied fruit roll up is the main reason why Grenache is easily recognized even by the expert blind tasters. This particular French red wine has a medium to a full weight in its taste, although this is semi-translucent and has a deceiving lighter color. Grenache’s spice makes it an ideal pair to herb and spiced foods such as vegetables, roasted meats and many types of ethnic foods.

10 Things Americans Won't Understand in France

10 Things Americans Won't Understand in France
Americans come to France in droves yet may not be prepared for some of the cultural differences existing over here. Our countries were founded under freedom, have similar colored flags, and we both love French wine, so what could be shocking? Here are 10 things that Americans have to get used to when in France.

Hours of Operation
Store hours in France are frustrating. Most establishments are not open 7 days a week and often close early in the evening. Likewise don't expect to go shopping, banking, or errand running around lunch time because you may be greeted by a locked door.

The French take their breaks very seriously. Fifteen minutes before closing means not getting inside.

Luckily some French stores have started extending their hours of operation, especially around touristy areas. Many Americans don't shop at Walmart at 3AM but it's comforting to know we have the liberty to do so. We take this for granted in the States.

The Food
The French will drench snails in garlicky butter yet call peanut butter or pumpkin pie "disgusting." A whopping 89% of Americans and Canadians eat peanut butter, the other 11% have food allergies or are just plain weird. Well in France, there are no Reeses cups, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter beer, peanut butter cheesecakes nor PB brownies. If that doesn't make you cancel your flight to Paris CDG, I'm not sure what will.

But, my fellow Americans, it gets worse. I once went camping with a few French friends and asked who brought the ingredients to make "s'mores."

"S'mores, what are s'mores?"

"What are s'mores?" they said.

They looked at me as though I had 3 heads. I peered over the mountain's edge to see if jumping from this height would kill me and magically take me back to the States.

What else about "food" would bug Americans in France? After living here a total of 2 years:

London and Barcelona

I'm currently on vacation in London and in a few days I'll be Barcelona watching Messi do what he does best.

Since I'm traveling without my laptop, I won't be publishing any articles during this 2 week period.

———

Je suis actuellement en vacances à Londres et puis à Barcelone. Puisque je n'ai pas d'ordinateur, je ne vais pas publier des articles pendant ces deux semaines.

John Elkhoury,
Frenchcrazy.com

La Tête de Veau: A French Delicacy

Vegetarians and PETA supporters should leave now.

I ate a baby calf's head, and it was delicious.

La Tête de Veau
Warm, tender meat surrounded by a gelatinous skin and coated with a flavorful gribiche sauce. Soft to the bite it was easily washed down with a glass of local red wine. Potatoes, carrots and freshly baked baguette slices served as an accompaniment. 

This was all created by a wonderful friend from Besançon, France who invited me to his home for the occasion. He's retired, but he worked as a chef for a living. After spending hours in the kitchen to prepare the feast for fifteen guests the platter of food was finally ready.

My expectations were blown away.

I also had a big helping of calf tongue on my plate, which is the best part. Miam !

But where did this meal come from and why isn't it as well-known abroad compared to escargot and frog legs?

Fluent in French NOW: A Guide to Realistic French Mastery

Exciting news! Fluent in French NOW: A Guide to Realistic French Mastery is now available for purchase on the Amazon Marketplace! Whether you're a seasoned veteran, a previous French student, or a first-time learner this eBook will help you find your way towards French fluency.

I'm John Elkhoury, I'm fluent in French and I currently live in France. With over a decade of learning French I know what it takes to get there.

Learning any language (including French) requires time. Fluent in French NOW tries to help you become more efficient with your time by guiding you towards better techniques. Equivalent to the length of 25 articles, this book shares a wealth of knowledge and can help answer your personal questions regarding learning French. This book does not contain long lists of vocabulary or practice exercises, if that's what you seek then there are plenty of other resources out there.

Within the book we'll talk about:
  • The realistic and ideal ways to attain French fluency
  • How to increase your French speaking, reading, and vocabulary capabilities
  • How to make French friends and kept them for the long haul
  • How to up your reading skills
  • Things that need to be tackled as an adult learner
  • Common pitfalls when learning French
  • How to maximize classroom learning
  • Many personal stories and accounts to help illustrate these concepts
  • And much more...
I'm not going to bore you with all the marketing speak, if you like the free content on this blog then you'll enjoy this book – hands down. I've spent the last few months writing it and then I had it professionally edited to make sure that you're delivered a well-polished, extraordinary product.

I'm putting it on the market at just under five bucks.

For a book that could possibly change the way you learn French (or another language) this is small price to pay considering that people will blindly throw hundreds towards language learning software, college courses, and language instruction abroad. Heck, one hour of tutoring costs more than this book, I know, I'm both a French and English tutor. For less than an espresso in my favorite Parisian café you can own Fluent in French NOW and get started working on your language skills immediately.

Consider this book as your manual, let it be a training guide. It shall lead you towards fluency. The principles within the book have helped me perfect the French language and I'm sure they can help you too.

Interested? 

Buy your copy today and help show your support for FrenchCrazy.com.

Check out the book's US Amazon page (UK)/(CA)/(AU)/(FR)/(DE)/(ES)/(IT)/(JP)

Je Suis Charlie – How Terrorism in France Strengthened a Nation

Je Suis Charlie
January 7th, 2015, two armed assailants executed a methodical assault in the 11th Arrondissement. Armed to the teeth, their gunshots rang within and around the main office of French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. These journalists were targeted due to their edgy depictions of radical Islam and the terrorists aimed to silence them.

The French president and other various people of political importance lashed out against the attacks calling them a form of barbarianism. One video circulating the web shows the murderers in cold blood executing a wounded police officer on the ground. Twelve people in total were killed on January 7th, several being journalists, while others were injured.

The shots were heard across the world and struck a chord with those working as journalists. This attack became a reminder of how harmful words and pictures could be perceived. These gunmen were emotionally hurt and decided armed conflict was the best resolution. I guess the pen really is mightier than the sword.

There was a large reaction, worldwide. In Paris roughly 1.6 million people gathered. The words « Je suis Charlie » or "I am Charlie" spread across the internet and was found on storefronts across France and in the arms of activists everywhere. A grand movement of solidarity could be palpated on the French streets. During the night I managed to participate in a vigil with commonplace citizens simply trying to give a moment of respect to the victims. We weren't the only ones doing so. The Eiffel tower momentarily shut its lights off to pay tribute to the victims just as schools across France held a minute of silence during class the next day.

While the country mourned, thousands of police and military forces were mobilized for the enormous manhunt. The scenes depicting this vast search is reminiscent of finding those responsible for the Boston bombing. Eventually the attackers were subdued after a tense hostage situation.

But why do people feel so strongly about the attacks? These gunmen, the Kouachi brothers, attempted to silence journalists and place fear into the country. Unbeknownst to them, they've only strengthened France and multiplied its national coherence. They've made their victims into martyrs and even gave increased publicity to the magazine. Likewise, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are pillars of democracy – they are fragile unless protected. This heinous attack only solidified France's conviction to protect those rights. France will not falter, that's the message. As these killers momentarily escaped justice the publications continued and they shall continue long after their demise.

We are most certainly experiencing a snippet of history. What happens to France or Europe next is the real question.

Feeding Europe's Islamophobia
There are several layers to the attacks and one underlying problem is that France already has a negative view of the Muslim community. Moments after the attack, several Imams arrived on scene and began denouncing the event in front of TV cameras. The Islamic priests mentioned that the attackers weren't real believers and that Islam does not support such violence. While the words of these priests were sincere, I'm not certain their damage control will manage to quell Europe's anti-islamic sentiments.

Days later, a kebab shop was bombed and several mosques in France were attacked in retaliation. One week later over 50 reports of anti-islamic attacks and threats were reported in France alone. People somehow forget those wise words, "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".

What a world...
Islamophobia is alive and well in Europe, and it's being fed by political parties such as the Front National. There exists French people who believe their country and its founding Christian values are under attack by Muslim invaders. Some of these people see Arabs inherently as not French (despite some of them being born in France). A small group practically sees them as second class citizens. So even though these two gunmen attempted to "avenge" their prophet, they've only managed to make the lives of fellow Muslims and Arabs more difficult. 

What I find ineffective is how people try to fight hate with hate. Not surprisingly a bunch of oh-so-jolly people rushed towards social media to broadcast hostility. Being a devout Pastafarian, I don't take a side. As a third party it is disgusting to watch how people of one religion can treat those of another. What happened to taking the high ground instead of reverting to in-group out-group psychology?

Only time will tell how much damage has been done to Europe's social dynamics due to these attacks. The Economist has a simplistic article on the matter.

« Le Septembre 11 français »
The famous French newspaper, Le Monde, came out with a headline the following day calling the terrorist attack "France's 9/11". Whoa. In one case France is unified in a similar way that the U.S was after that grim September day. Also France and the world over was shocked by the events that occurred. I would argue that the caliber of the Charlie Hebdo attack is not equivalent to the one on U.S soil. Most people who have a problem with the headline point to the fact that there were many more casualties during 9/11. While I believe that the quantity of deaths can be a factor, it's not why I'm in disagreement. The two events are different due to the reasons behind the attacks.