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In Pursuit of Abraham the Sequel – First Chapter

In Pursuit of Abraham the Sequel A novel by Francine Fuqua Chapter One: Paris, France August 1947 Georges Moncel smiled as he handed the book he had just autographed to a large woman with wiry red hair. “I hope your daughter will enjoy the book, Madame, and thank you very much for your interest.” He &hellip Continue reading »

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In Pursuit of Abraham – First Chapter

When bombardments force Dr. Georges Moncel from his position as distinguished university president in France, he begins to research and write a historical novel – one that ultimately incites the suspicion and wrath of the SS. In 1943, against the adamant wishes of his wife Suzanne, Moncel escapes France with the help of the French Resistance and travels to the Middle East.

In order to complete his manuscript, Moncel plans to retrace the path taken by Abraham almost 4,000 years ago. His journey takes him from the abject misery of occupied France in World War II to exotic Egypt and it’s archaeological wonders to the world of Abraham and Sarah three millennia earlier.

While trying to pacify Suzanne back in France and come to terms with the arrests of his friends and colleagues by the Nazis, Moncel encounters espionage, danger, betrayal, and a controversial love. But it may all be worthwhile when he makes a remarkable biblical discovery.
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French Champagne – All You Want to Know

French Champagne, All you want to know. French Champagne is the most famous wine in France, and the most imitated. Champagne gets its name from the Champagne region of France where it is produced. Champagne existed before Don Perignon to whom its invention is attributed in the 16th century. At that time, it was believed that its sparkle was a defect. Don Perignon decided to keep its sparkling quality and enhance it further. This method is called Methode Champenoise.

Champagne is made with black Pinot grapes (75% Pinot, 25% Chardonnay.) The Pinot grapevines cover the largest part of the vineyards of Champagne. Only Champagne called Blanc de Blancs is made from white grapes. Chardonnay grows, in Champagne, exclusively on the ‘Cote de Blancs,’ south of Epernay.
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Wine Growing in France

Wine growing and harvesting: A grapevine produces for 30 years. It takes three years for a young grapevine to begin producing and six years to reach its normal production. Pruning takes place in winter and the vines are sprayed several times a year in order to eradicate the grapevines’enemies: mildew,phylloxera, oidium and vicoses. Artificial clouds protect against frost.

Winegrowing methods vary from one region to another. In Burgundy harvesting the stems begins without delay. In the Bordeaux region, however, harvesting takes place over three weeks, especially for the sweet white wines, and the grapes are harvested as soon as the grape reaches absolute maturity, and not before. The workers go from grapevine to grapevine each day picking only the fully ripe bunches to ensure the sweeteness of the grapes. They are called “rotis” (roasted by the sun.)

In Champagne, the grapes are carefully cut off the vine with scissors and any grape that isn’t perfect is removed.

The grapes are then transported in special carts equipped with springs. Once they reach the winegrower’s facility the grapes are stripped from the stems, either totally or partially depending on the region and placed into vats where the grapes are pressed to burst the skins; certain wines, however, retain their grapes intact, with the skin on. The pressing (foulage) is now done by machines, except for very small private wine growers. For centuries this was done by men. The author remembers spending hours under a hot September sun, jumpings in vats with several other little girls, squashing the grapes. It took months to get rid of the stains on our legs. The skins were collected and thrown to the side and chicken gorged themselves, until they were drunk, falling and running in circles. They loved their “vin nouveau.”

Once the skins are removed, the grapes are placed in vats where they will ferment. For many centuries these vats were made of wood, but these days they have been replaced by stainless steel vats, with the exception of certain grands crus wines.
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History of French Wines – Part Two

History of French Wines – Part One brought us from Moses to present-day. In part two, we are going to fly over the many vineyards of France and the region they occupy. If you have not travelled in France, you will recognize many of the names you have read on labels. So follow me on &hellip Continue reading »

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History of French Wine – Part One

The History of French Wine – Part One. Please join me in the dicovery of French wines from the beginning of time (almost.)

In the immense anthology of wine, I have selected this note from the French poet and diplomat Paul Claudel:

“A great wine is not the work of a man; it is the result of a constant and refined tradition. Wine is the liberator of the mind and the illuminator of intelligence.”

Wine is mentioned 521 times in the Bible (of course, it is a very large book!). The oldest known winemaker is Noah. After the deluge it is said that his first act was to plant a grapevine, and then he drank somewine and got inebriated . . . (he probably had his fill of water.)

All the people of antiquity knew wine, but the Greeks were the uncontested specialists of viticulture. They transplanted grapevines in Marseille (south of France) when they
founded that town in the 6th century B.C. This is a widely accepted theory, but Mr. De Kerdeland in his book “The History of French Wines” asserts that the Gauls knew viticulture before that date and that notably, at LaCote-Rotie, Gaul wine was renowned, a long time before the arrival of the Greek.
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History of French Cooking – Part 3

The empire of Napoleon and its magnificence brought La Bonne Table back in vogue, though the emperor didn’t give much thought to food. Scores of writers of all countries have let gallons of ink flow on the subject of Napoleon. Brillat-Savarin found only this to say about the great man: The man ate quickly and &hellip Continue reading »

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History of French Cooking – Part 2

History of French Cooking, Part 2, starts with the Renaissance.  The Renaissance period saw a refinement of cuisine and tableware introduced by Catherine de Medicis and her Florentine cooks.  That is how creams and zabagliones appeared, as well as spinach.  Contrary to popular belief (no doubt brought about by the story of a “chicken in every &hellip Continue reading »

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Good things in June

June was a good month for me.  My novel is doing great on the web. I went to Knoxville, Tn, for a booksigning with the members of the Alliance Francaise.  Sold many books and reconnected with some friends whom I had not seen for several years.  Also made great new friends.  My novel generated a &hellip Continue reading »

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History of French Cooking – Part 1

French cooking through history will take you back  not to the Deluge (the great floods), but to the time when France was inhabited by the Gauls. I believe you will find this gastronomique trip interesting and amusing.   The present grandeur of France might be contested by some.  The greatness of her cooking and her “wit” is not &hellip Continue reading »

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