We have another great entry into this month’s Challenge (#MWWC20) from The Winey Foody, who does not (yet) have a blog, but she wanted to write for this Challenge, so I am publishing her entry here. I think this is a first for the Challenge, but I certainly hope it is not the last!
The Winey Foody
“You need some spice in your life.” The scariest sentence ever spoken to me, and by someone I considered a friend. I chose the word scary because I didn’t know what that statement meant or how to achieve it. I am not a person of uncertainty. I have had a plan since I escaped the womb, and that plan never involved spice. I am pragmatic, thoughtful, and steadfast; in the most millennial sense, basic. I went to college, grad school, then joined the workforce and stayed there for eight years, predictably. In order to further support my practicality, one year my dad and I made a New Year’s resolution to obtain a passport. For a year, I researched all the places I wanted to visit before completing my resolution in December. I’m not a procrastinator, but methodical, maybe even boring. Don’t even get me started on buying a new car. I don’t take decision making lightly.
Perhaps the best of any long debated decision was the passport. My dad wanted to go somewhere together. Somewhere we both had dreamed. Spice things up. There’s that word again. Unlike myself, my dad is very spicy. He could have written this essay in one sentence. Variety is living. Although my dad and I have not travelled together yet, we have each travelled separately. My first adventure sent me to Paris. That could also have been my last. I could have stayed in Paris until my death. One reason was the afternoon wine and baguette breaks on any sidewalk cafe. In the middle of the afternoon, everyone would stop what they were doing, and fill the chairs facing the cobblestone streets and break bread. People were laughing, talking, and drinking wine at two o’clock in the afternoon! This was new to my lifestyle. I was in a hurry; I had museum tickets and dinner reservations. I thought, “I don’t have time to sit down and enjoy my vacation. I have things to do!” At any given time of any day, I could be mistaken for the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
One day on an expeditious journey to the magnificent Gallerias Lafayette, my friend, yes the spicy one, stopped at a café and asked the waiter if we could have a seat. I said breathlessly, “We can’t sit! We have two hours to shop before catching the train to the theater.” The waiter looked at me and said “Mademoiselle, relax, sit, have a glass of wine. You are in Paris.” That would be the first of many times I heard the words “Mademoiselle, relax.” So we sat and ordered a glass of wine with a warm baguette and butter from Normandy. Oh my God, the butter from Normandy! I ordered another baguette just to eat more butter. I had no idea I loved butter so much. Yet, I already knew I loved wine. Being from California I was a Pinot Noir aficionado, but honestly, I did not have experience with many other wines. Obviously, discounting the Boone’s Farm, curfew breaking nights in high school. Now, set in front of me was a Bordeaux, maison vin rouge. I was intrigued by the punch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wines were perfectly blended together like a modern family. All of the sudden, my wine world was spinning. What had I been missing in my post age of alcohol legalization? I needed to research more wines, after all, I was in France. So like any good research, I had my control, and now I needed a glass of each individually, strictly for statistical analysis. With a potpourri of wine glasses and breadcrumbs on the table we decided to proceed with our plans. We narrowly made it to the theater.
With my inaugural appreciation for trying new things, my friend and I rearranged our schedule to allow for new opportunities. Our adventures led us through Reims, Giverny, and Fourges. Each place was more beautiful than the last, with more opportunities to try a variety of wines and expand my repertoire. My eyes and palate were wide open. Each new town brought new cafes, friends, and more butter! We visited several wineries and learned more about the winemaking process. We also joined a cave tour in Reims, because you will never regret drinking more Champagne. With high recommendations from our concierge, Augustino, an Italian, we had lunch at Le Parc Les Crayers. With no reservation, my broken French spoken in a slurred American accent with a smile, was enough to be granted the best meal and wine pairing of my life. Still, to this day, nothing has compared to this perfect dance of food presentation and wine pouring. There were eleven courses and wine pairings in all, and a surprising addition of a coffee champagne cocktail, because there are no longer rules. At this point, the medley of wines was reduced to a stained tablecloth and purple tooth enamel. Finally, my thirst for trying a variety of wines had been quenched.
I returned home and have continued the Parisian lifestyle of relaxing and enjoying a glass of wine and trying new things. I even visited wineries in Michigan. While not Fear Factor level adventurous, that is out of most people’s comfort zone. Frankly, spice just means variety. Using the word spice was scary to me until I attempted to venture beyond my boring routine in the simplest of ways, trying different wine. Variety doesn’t have to be exotic, but it does have to be explored.