Noundégustation f (plural dégustations)
Food historians and food critics believe that the origins of degustation can be traced to the Middle Ages in France where Chefs had 15 to 20 courses to degust.
Pronounced as 'dee-gus-stay-shun', the meaning of degustation is basically 'small amounts to taste'. It modern times, degustation generally involves a multiple course meal that highlights a Chef's talent and creativity. The portions are generally small and the purpose of a degustation experience is to taste, rather than to simply eat. Degustation is not simply limited to saying "Mmmm, this is good." You must swirl and savor the food in your mouth, give out elaborate descriptions of the palette about how intricate the combination of ingredients were, appreciate the culinary gifts of the chef and interact with the elite company around you. Degustation menus can also include savories, cheese, dessert and wine amongst many other edible items. Ladies and gentlemen - welcome to the art of tasting (from here)
So, isn't that exactly what Paris in July is - a degustation of all things French. We have each taken the time to 'showcase' our own specialities, or passions. Nichole shared her photo stories (and apologises now for problems with her blog), Adria and Vicki shared about their own books, and the city they live in (including ice cream!), Bellezza showcased her literary and perfume passions, Karen showcased her love of children books and other pieces of french literature, while I stayed with the travel and tastes of Paris interests I have had since I was very young. Our many participants also took the chance to showcase their love of Paris and France - and like matching a good wine with the degustation courses - our participants posts matched the flavours and textures of the hosts!
I experienced a french degustation last year for Bastille Day, and I have fantasies of experiencing it again. Of course, the company you share such an experience with is half the fun of it too. Here's a blurb for one degustation I really lusted over based in the South Australian Wine District.
Nestled amongst the vines on Maxwell Wines estate is a hidden treasure - The Lime Cave. Inspired by the underground quarries in Paris, land owner FP Shipster hand-carved this limestone cave in 1916 to grow mushrooms. Almost a century on and the Lime Cave is again being used to grow mushrooms and with our highly talented chef we have created a 9 course mushroom themed degustation with our premium wines included in this uniquely stunning place to dine.
It's just as much about the way you write about a degustation that makes the full experience - again, much the same as our blogging event - Paris in July.
Have you experienced a french degustation? Can you remember which course you loved the most? what about the conversation you shared with friends over the length of that meal - do you remember that? Can anyone recommend an affordable degustation experience in Paris?