Saturday

Went to the wine fair in Marseille, conveniently ignoring the pile of work I have to do (well, I did finish one task that morning, so I wasn’t totally unproductive). Had to stop at the Gare Routier because my friends wanted to get discount passes and I wanted to top up mine. Well, I’m proud to say that my French has improved significantly, because a couple of times that they didn’t understand what the lady was saying to them, I was the one who interpreted, and one time the lady asked for my friend’s address and she didn’t know how to say it French… again, I helped out. Yay me! Actually, another French friend was present to help out with the really difficult ones, but whatever. I tried.

So, the wine fair. Well, we started out tasting sweet wines, and my French friend displayed this habit of smelling the wine before tasting. I know, I know, I’m a bush girl, and you’re supposed to smell it before tasting – but I tried it a couple of times, and all I could perceive was the ethanol, to be honest. Anyway, after a couple of tastings, someone wisely suggested that we eat something before we continue; else we would all be drunk in no time. We went towards a stand with some hot food and foie gras, but I didn’t like the way the food looked, so I left my friends and stalked off with another, and we spent the next half hour looking for a sensible sandwich stand – and tasting wine too. Eventually found one when I was nearly dizzy, and we went to look for seats. The French love to eat, I can never finish their sandwiches in one sitting. I ate half of it and wrapped up the rest, and then we resumed our tasting. I only had about 4 that I actually liked; pinot blanc and Legion Etranger (Esprit de Corps), one syrupy liqueur (40% volume), and something else. The Legion Etranger was actually served by guys in military uniform, nice! I sort of wish I had bought a bottle, but on second thought, no. I wouldn’t want to keep drinking the wine because it’s sweet, only to get drunk and wake up with a hangover. Biko.

In the course of this wine fair, I tasted foie gras and caviar. I read a bit about foie gras a few weeks before, because my French teacher talked about it. Foie Gras is actually fattened duck liver, which has been cooked nicely and stuff. It doesn’t taste too poor, but it’s not so great either, in my opinion. Now, I think it’s unfair the way this fattened liver is obtained – they force feed the ducks continuously, through tubes placed in their mouths. Sometimes, metal tubes are used, and these harm the poor ducks. I think this stems from the fact that the person doing the feeding has a lot of ducks to feed, and so cannot really be bothered to be careful. Also, sometimes, when the ducks are harmed or get sick from the (inhumane) treatment, they don’t get proper medical care. I am far from an Animal Rights person, don’t get me wrong. But these are ducks for crying out loud. Helpless. They can’t bite or do anyone harm, the much I know. If you ask me, they’re even saner than hens (with chicks), but what do I know? All I’m saying is, obtain your duck meat and liver and whatnot, but the fact that you’re going to kill the duck eventually doesn’t mean you should make the process painful. I know I sound like a hypocrite with this tale, but whatever.

Caviar: Only read of in books, seen in movies, or heard discussed by ‘cultured’ people, I finally tasted it. It’s actually not bad, but just like foie gras, it’s not worth the hype (on my tongue). Lots of tiny black pebbles, about 50-100 in a teaspoon, and they cost an arm and a leg? Miss me with that. But I think I understand why humans like to think these things are awesome though. Anything that is portrayed as ‘exclusive’ suddenly becomes awesome, no? Seriously guys, fish eggs? How many of you even like fish? (Please don’t mind me, I’m just clowning around.) Anyway, I asked the guy manning the caviar stand why it is so expensive, and he replied that it’s because they have to rear the sturgeon for 10 years before they can start obtaining its eggs. 10 years? 10? Wow. That explains a lot then.

We continued our tasting for a bit, and by this time one of my friends had become very chatty, and seeing as I have never gotten drunk before, I decided I better stop tasting and start going home, before I find out what I’m capable of doing when I’m drunk. At some point, my friends went to taste Cognac (VSOP), but being Nigerian, I declined. I like it not. The rest of the day went by in a blur, I had a tiny but persistent headache when I got home, and I wasn’t even drunk (I believe), smh. Had to try to sleep the alcohol off, but it was really a fun day. Oh and we got custom wine glasses for the event, which we got to keep, yay!

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The place where the fair was held. Speaking of which, I’m glad we went early, because by the time we were coming out, there was a really long queue at the door (they have to check if you have a ticket and stuff)

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That’s Foie Gras

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I thought that big round thing was just some sort of slab or stand for the cheese, but it’s actually cheese. Na wa.

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This is the sweet syrupy liqueur

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