As I sat in my chair, an almost electric charge of anticipation coursing through my body caused by the glorious spread on the table before me, two thoughts entered my mind…1. The French have got this lunch thing right and 2. How the hell do they stay thin?
A three hour meal enjoyed with my French compatriot, his lovely Fiancee and their official candidate for cutest baby in the world turned out to be the perfect way to spend a Monday afternoon. I was lured to their humble abode with the offer of Rillettes, a hedonistic creation of Duck (in this case) stored and cooked in a large amount of it’s own fat with a combination of spices. Frenchy, as we call him, was in the process of making his own Pork Rillettes but had purchased some of the excellent Duck Rillettes from a great local shop, L’Epicerie, here in Calgary.
We began the afternoon with La Chouffe, a delicious Belgian Wheat Beer brimming with flavour. While we sipped the beer we began decanting my addition to the meal, a bottle of 2006 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Rouge from the Cotes-du-Rhone region of the Southern Rhone Valley in France. This wine turned out to be the perfect companion for the meal to come, brimming with wild herbs, spice, juicy berry and bright cherry (highly recommended!).
Fresh baguette and a simple salad accompanied the rillettes which was rich almost beyond description, seeming to melt in the mouth. Even as my heart begged for mercy the symphony being conducted on my palate was nothing short of euphoric. It was a magnificent harmony as the spice of the rillettes accented the wild, untamed spice of the wine even further and the richness of the dish was balanced beautifully by the wines acidity and plush mouth-feel.
I am not ashamed to say I continued eating to a point far surpassing gluttony. And as I sat on the couch afterward, enjoying a completely necessary round of fine Belgian chocolate, the aforementioned cutest baby attempting to eat the zipper on my sweater, enjoying the great company and the afternoon light streaming through the window the same two thoughts once again passed through my mind… the French have got this lunch thing right…and how the hell do they stay so thin?