Today's stage of the Tour de France begins near the city of Reims, in the Champagne-Ardenne region. I remember going to the Veuve- Clicquot cellars when I was about twelve years old and giggling with my classmates through our sip of champagne.
I have twice lived and once attended elementary school in Reims thanks to a very robust student exchange. In South Florida I was enrolled in magnet program that was jointly funded and accredited by the Miami-Dade County public schools and the French government. Other than a requisite English course each year, all of our classes were taught in French (including Maths and Science) by native francophone teachers from Grade 3 - Grade 10 . As I moved away to prep-school and then college, I had to mostly conduct independent studies because few classes had been tailored for native French speakers. I consider myself enormously fortunate to have learned French in this kind of immersion environment and for the International Baccalaureate degree. It has allowed me to travel abroad confidently, work as a professional translator and a cheese monger (I used to have a cheese blog), and confuse everyone with my easy accent.
I would love suggestions for contemporary French literature.
Not surprisingly, I developed an affinity for French food at a young age. As part of the Tour de France Knit-Along I'd like to share a special recipe, wine suggestion, or favorite cheese when the knitting content around here is a bit sparse. I'll try to keep it relevant to the stage of the day whenever possible.
Le Chaource, pictured above, is a creamy cow's milk cheese best from July to October. It is ripe when the middle sags a bit and the edible rind yields a creamy-almost-liquid pâte. It is an excellent complement to champagne. Try it spread on a piece of baguette or with strawberries. Other than in its namesake town, Chaource is made in the departments of Aube and Yonne in the Champagne-Ardenne region, conveniently, the blue feed zone area through which the cyclists pass today.