Montmartre Museum, Renoir and Champagne

by Paige Donner

Wine and food pairings. A natural. Wine and music pairings. Love the original inspiration of this since a few years back.

Wine and Renoir pairings?

This was the theme of a recent champagne tasting in Paris held at the picturesque Musée Montmartre’s Jardins Renoir or Montmartre Museum’s Renoir Gardens which overlook the Clos Montmartre in the shadow of the Sacré-Coeur.

A more idyllic location in Paris on a sunny early Autumn evening could not be imagined.

All photos copyright 2014 Paige Donner All Rights Reserved And there was method to this artistic madness… A group of champagne houses from the Aube region, around the village of Essoyes, to be exact, banded together to show off their champagnes and display them with the particular Renoir painting they felt paired the best with their chosen cuvée. The historical reference is that Renoir lived in Essoyes with his wife and children during the summer months starting in 1895. There is now a foundation established to restore this heritage house where Renoir kept an atelier on the ground floor, overlooking the garden. Today the village welcomes art enthusiasts and Renoir-lovers in its L’Espace des Renoir et l’Atelier du peintre. They have fondly named this area the Côté des Renoir.  The participating champagnes located in and around the Côté des Renoir are Champagne de Barfontarc, Champagne Jacques de France, Champagne Drappier, Champagne R. Dumont & Fils, Champagne Rémy Massin & Fils, Champagne Thierry Mercuzot, Champagne Richardot, Champagne Cristian Senez, Champagne Charles Collin and Champagne Chassenay d’Arce. More information, including photos of the paintings each house chose to represent their champagne, can be found at

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Moby Chimes In With Hollywood Food Voices


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Originally posted on Local Food And Wine:


by Paige Donner

Check out this new video, just dropped today, West Coast time, by Moby and Hollywood Food Voices:

“We Need Our Bees A Lot More Than They Need Us” – Moby paraphrasing Einstein

“If the bees go, we’re next,” Moby said during an appearance on TakePart Live. “A huge percentage of our food supply is dependent on …

a guided tour of Moby’s four-acre home atop the Hollywood Hills, where over 30,000 bees dwell

full interview with Moby where he discusses his passion for bees, airing on TakePart Live on September 25th, and see snippets of the video.

Airs 7pmPST/10pmEST on PIVOT TV.

  honey bee colonies in the U.S. has dropped from over 5 million in 1940 to less than 2.5 million today

“Hollywood Food Voices” is an engaging and entertaining new platform whose goal is to create excitement, awareness, and a sense of empowerment…

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Winners of the 10th Annual Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards

Originally posted on Chérie Du Vin:

LRWWA_2013_BookFinalistThe jury is in, and the winners announced last week for the 2014 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards.

Held in London’s Piccadilly at the Royal Academy of Arts, the ceremony was attended by an international assortment of members of the wine trade and publishers from around the world as well as writers and journalists. It was noted that the event is becoming ever-increasingly more international.

To commemorate this tenth edition of the Awards ceremony, a special cuvée of Cristal 2006 was served in flutes, called Jamesse champagne flutes, that were designed by the head sommelier at Reims’ Les Crayères restaurant.








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Chilled Avocado Soup

The Avocado tree is native to Mexico and Central America…

avocado images

The vitamins and minerals contained in this recipe can do everything from speeding cell turnover (to reveal healthier skin underneath) to protecting skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Get plenty of moisturizing vitamin E from the avocados. Not only does vitamin E ease dry skin, but studies show it also may reduce free radicals and protect against damaging UV rays. Cucumbers are a great source of silica which, as a precursor to collagen, can help fight wrinkles. 

I like to serve this soup in individual glasses as a delicious appetizer. Sprinkle with a little dill and sprouted pumpkins.

chilled avocado soup

In a blender, mix the following ingredients:

  • 3 medium avocados, peeled and pitted and perfectly ripe
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 cup cold water (start with 1/2 cup; you can always add more)
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • Salt to taste

Pour in individual glasses and chill for a couple hours.
If you have no time to chill, lower the water content and replace with ice cubes.

Sprinkle Options
Chives, dill, mint & dehydrated pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped.
Inspired by Green Kitchen Story


♥Chérie Du Vin

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, It’s A Wonderful Life

by Paige Donner

Few things say Winter Holidays like the appetizing aroma of roasting chestnuts on an open fire.

Local Food And Wine - Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Local Food And Wine - roasted chestnuts

I remember, several years ago now, as I walked into the Tuileries from the Place de la Concorde entrance, buying a cone of still-hot roasted chestnuts from one of the street vendors who post themselves out front there just as the leaves start to turn golden, orange and brown.  The warm nuts were enough to abate my hunger for the afternoon and provide a good base for a wine tasting of reds.

Local Food And Wine - cone of chestnutsLocal food and wine Marron Chaud

Some Autumns I am tempted to gather up some of the millions of chestnuts that fall haphazardly from the trees all around Paris – throughout all of France, actually – and try to roast them myself or figure out how to cook them to add to roasted chestnut stuffing. Or perhaps even make that favorite of delicacies, sugar-glazed chestnuts. But I still haven’t found the courage to do this. Or perhaps it’s just a question of finding the recipe or the proper cooking equipment. One day…

It is usually about now, too, when the crispness of the air starts to get downright cold that California Dreamin’ descends upon me and stays rooted until, oh, about May of the next year.

local food and wine - la quinta poolIf any of you feel the same, here is a good getaway excuse…

And, honestly now, how many of you actually knew that this is where Frank Capra wrote It’s A Wonderful Life ?!

“Chestnuts & Capra” package which features guest room accommodations, dinner for two at acclaimed Morgan’s in the desert, breakfast for two at TWENTY6 and the ultimate pre-dinner perk – roasted chestnuts and cocktails (including the George Bailey, Mary Bailey and Poinsettia) for two.

Local Food And Wine - la quinta car clip_image004Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
Every Friday evening, visit the lobby for fresh roasted chestnuts

“It’s a Wonderful Life”
This famed holiday movie was written at La Quinta Resort – and is honored every year. Watch the silent version as it is projected on the Fiesta Wall.

Fudge Demonstration in Lollipops
Morgan’s famous Pastry Chef Patrick demonstrates how to create home-made fudge

Holiday Movie Showing
Enjoy a classic holiday movie in the movie theatre located behind the Main Pool.

The only question that remains is, do roasted chestnuts taste as good under the warm California December sunshine as they do in the Tuileries in a Paris Autumn?

Here’s their contact info anyway: La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort — a quintessential desert gem sporting five iconic golf courses, 41 pools and enough Hollywood nostalgia to make a scriptwriter spin.


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Summer Champagne Sippers by Paige Donner

It’s summertime and it’s time for champagne sipping.  Ok, well, it’s always time for champagne sipping…

Listen to Paige’s interview here on the Overseas Radio Network to hear some great Champagne Tips (Hint: #Lallier, #Lanson, Jacques de France) as well as get some delicious ideas for French rosé wines + food pairings.

Long version 45 minutes includes Paris travel and dining out tips for Girl’s Guide To Paris.  Short version is all about the champagne…

Happy Summering!




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♥Chérie Du Vin

Brunello di Montalcino – Mocali – 2007

Tuscany Food And Wine -

Like any good California girl, I love me some Sangiovese. So when I was able to get my hands recently on a bottle of the stuff from the Old World, my lips were smacking and my fingers trembling as we uncorked the bottle.

Garnet Hued * Vanilla * Spice * Red Berries

Hint of Earthiness

Balanced power between Tannins and Acidity

Tuscany Food And Wine -

Wine Spectator’s Notes On Brunello di Montalcino Vintages

  • 2008 91 A cool growing season with rain at harvest; those who waited produced aromatic, balances and elegant wines. Drink or Hold.
  • 2007 93 Hotter and riper than 2006; fruit-forward, rich and elegant, offering immediate charm and softer textures. Drink or Hold.
  • 2006 95 Complex powerful wines that impress with ripe yet fresh fruit, firm, dense structures and fine balance. Hold.

Excerpt from Wine Spectator June 30, 2013

Sangiovese is virtually synonymous with Tuscany and is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy. Brunello, a synonym for Sangiovese Grosso, or "fat Sangiovese," gets its name from the big ripe grapes that are produced from these vines in the prestige appellation (Brunello di Montalcino DOCG) of Montalcino, a classic hilltop village surrounded by slopes just 30km. south of Siena in Tuscany, Italy.

Mocali is owned by the Ciacci family and overseen by enologist Tiziano Ciacci. Their soils are mostly Galestro and Alberese that enrich the ground with mineral salts. Their Brunello di Montalcino wine – in fact all Brunello di Montalicino wines – are made exclusively with Sangiovese Grosso grapes.

Tuscany Food And Wine - localfoodandwine.wordpress.comTuscany Food And Wine -

This DOCG shares the top spot only with Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. Though winemaking in the region is recorded from as far back as the 14th century, the wines we associate today with this very first Italian DOCG emerged in the 1870s. It’s largely credited to the efforts of the esteemed winemaking family of Biondi-Santi, namely Ferruccio,who decided to implement a revolutionary technique (for his day) of making his Montalcino wines – vinify his Sangiovese grapes separately from the other varieties. (At the time in Tuscany all grapes were fermented together – even the reds with the whites.) As he implemented this and a few other techniques, the resulting wines gained a reputation of being livelier and fruitier than other wines.

In July 1980 the appellation was formalized as Italy’s first DOCG alongside Piedmont’s Barolo. It is mostly small farmers and family estates who produce this exquisite red wine today and number approximately 200, up from just 11 producers in the 60’s. One of the DOCG requirements is that vineyards are not planted above 600m sea level. Brunello must be aged at least 4 years and for the riserva distinction, a minimum of 5 years aging is required. More INFO at Tuscany Taste.


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♥Chérie Du Vin