I love to travel and I especially love Europe, well at least the countries I have been to. This wasn't always the case. Not that I didn't enjoy it, but rather I didn't know what I was missing. Growing up, traveling for me was hopping in the car and stopping at Dutch Wonderland, like a lot. Dad wasn't terribly adventurous. I mean I didn't even get to the beach. My boardwalk fries came from the mall. How sad.
My First Trip
Let me tell you about my first over seas adventure. In my young twenties I caught the culinary bug. So much so that I decided to attend culinary art school. I had two local choices, one in Baltimore and The Restaurant School in Philly. I did my research and noticed that the culinary art students at The Restaurant School got a week long food tour of the Burgundy region of France. Guess which one I chose.
Two years roll around and it was time for my first big adventure. I will be honest with you, I was nervous and excited. After all, this was my first trip to a foreign speaking country. I was a novice at flying, but on the other hand, this was the only way I was going to get to the culinary capital of Europe. So I pumped myself up and packed light. That's how I roll.
I was not expecting the sheer beauty of the French countryside. I mean it was pure picturesque. Our itinerary was packed with unique one of a kind food experiences. We learned how to make Cassis, the black Currant liqueur. We stopped at a Champagne house, tasted Grand Cru Chablis. We visited an escargot farm. We also watched the ducks fatten up for soon to be foie gras and visited an historic Chateau. We toured the famous Cathedral in Reims, viewed the Paris streets from the Eiffel Tower, tasted hand made chocolates and devoured baguette sandwiches. And finally the crepes. How I love crepes. In France, there's no need to seek them out. They're everywhere. On the streets, food shows, and cafes. What were some of my favorites? Crepe Suzette and a Nutella filled sweet crepe .
The only place I could get authentic crepes when I got back to the US was at Cafe Papillon in Rehoboth, Delaware. Yes, I finally made it to the beach. I was skeptical but the cafe is run by a French born mother and daughter team, so needless to say they didn't disappoint. I loved it so much that this is the first place I stop when my wife and I occasionally visit. Crepes first then Thrashers fries later. The problem is that the beach is two hours away.
Fast forward to 2014. This was the year I joined Paradocx Vineyard. I joined the Paradocx Team at The Market at Liberty Place in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The Market is charming and diverse. It is primarily unique food vendors. Paradocx has a wine bar as well as a retail shop. An excellent choice and unbelievably near by, is an Authentic crepe cafe called Y'Or So Sweet.
If you haven't been to The Market at Liberty Place, you will find Y'Or So Sweet just in front of the main entrance. Order yourself one of their many delicious crepes and make your way to the Paradocx Wine Bar. Find a cozy spot and your crepe will be delivered to your seat. Below are some of my favorite crepes and the Paradocx wines that pair perfectly.
Thai Chicken - Poached chicken, red and green cabbage in a house peanut dressing, with toasted ramen. Paradocx Pinot Grigio
Kennett - Exotic mushrooms, ricotta, spinach, and a fruity balsamic glaze. Paradocx Vidal Blanc
The Norwegian - Smoked salmon, our own citrus cream cheese spread and in-house pickled red onions. Paradocx Viva La Rosa Dry Rose (vintners choice)
Y'or So Peachy - Crepe with peaches on a bed of sweetened cream with a light chocolate drizzle. Paradocx Haywagon Chardonnay
S'more Please - Crepe topped with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and graham crackers. Paradocx Pail Pink
.Bananas Foster - Bananas sauteed in brown sugar and butter, then topped with brown sugar, rum caramel sauce, and a kiss of creme Chantilly. Paradocx Yield
A French Nightmare
"Did that just happen?" is the thought that crosses my mind every time I recall this crazy story. Getting back to my French trip. Towards the end of our tour, our bus dropped us off at a French Supermarket. I thought this was great. I was actually working for a local Supermarket chain and wanted to compare the two, and of course pick up some cheese and wine. I've got my priorities you know. But little did I know this would be the most embarrassing experience of my life.
The market was huge; they even had clothes and other non food items. My first stop was the cheese department where I picked up a small wedge. I then stopped in the wine aisle for some French vin, then a quick stop to the produce department. While everyone had pretty much left by that time, I made my way to the check out line but realized I forgot my baguette. I ran to the bakery and sprinted back in line. I knew I needed to hurry, as I didn't want to miss the bus.
Security is taken seriously there. They have a baggage scanner and are not afraid to search your backpacks. I am an honest guy. This shouldn't be a problem, so I emptied my pockets, put the backpack on the belt and stepped through the metal detector. Beep, Beep, Beep. What the hell is happening? Now remember, I speak no French so the only way we understood each other were through body gestures, like charades. I showed the girl again that I had nothing in my pocket and walked through again. Beep, Beep, Beep. Again? She was not convinced so would you believe she called the manager? I was internally freaking out but I followed the manager to his office anyway and this is where things got uncomfortable.
You know those hand held scanning guns the store clerks have, well this guy had a security one. I told you they take shop lifting seriously. He scanned me again and there it goes off a third time. I turned my pockets inside out and nothing. You won't believe what happened next. He gestured for me to drop my trousers. If this had been in the U.S. I would have said hell to the no but to avoid prison time I did what he asked. Again with the scanner. Beep, Beep, freaking Beep. My heart was racing, I am sweating a river and I was sure I had missed the bus. I put my hands up, shrugged my shoulders and let him search me one more time. This time he located the source, my coat pocket. He reached in and pulled out one of those bar code stickers. That figures, I just purchased the coat in the U.S prior to my trip. I embarrassingly pulled up my pants, gathered my dignity, and this wise guy actually laughed at me. Oh and did I mention people were walking in and out of his office? All for French food and wine. C'est La Vie!