There is a timeless, undeniably romantic quality to all things French - the way they live, the way they eat, the way they drink their wine. As a lover of food, it's especially easy to be a Francophile (and after reading and re-reading the charming diaries of Peter Mayle's culinary adventures in the French countryside, who wouldn't harbor secret dreams to retire there?). So when Blason Louis, a wine company that imports all its wines directly from independent vineyards in France, reached out to us to collaborate, we leapt at the chance to host an oh-so-French wine tasting brunch for some of our dear friends.
Blason Louis offers wine lovers a fun, new way to taste wines at home through their beautiful tasting kits. Inside each sleek black box are two flaçons of wine, each amounting to about one glass - a perfect way to test out a high-quality wine before committing to a full bottle. Or, for the more socially inclined, the little kits could be your very own wine tasting party in a box. We chose to design a brunch menu around our wine samples, using the helpful guides included with each pack that offer details and characteristics for each selection. We were also lucky enough to have a little help from Blason Louis' in-house sommelier (how cool is it that they have their own sommelier?), who offered us some further food-and-wine pairing suggestions.
We kicked off the meal with a sprawling cheese board, an obvious crowd-pleaser for a wine tasting brunch (or any gathering for that matter). Because every good board begins with a good cheese monger, we stopped by Wheel House Cheese & Wine in Culver City for guidance on what to serve. The shop's helpful staff set us up with a delightful selection of charcuterie, cheese, and fun accompaniments, each somehow more delicious than they were beautiful. For some color and variety, we included plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, some crunchy marcona almonds and pecans, and a bit of chocolate for something sweet. To accompany the spread, we sipped on Blason Louis' Santenay White. Strong and full of fruit, this wine picked up on the bright notes of citrus and berries, and offered a pleasant complement to the cheese and charcuterie.
For a filling main course, we turned to one of our absolute favorite French imports: the quiche. To match the peppery Haut-Médoc Red, we turned to an old favorite recipe for Wild Mushroom Quiche. In this dish, fluffy, cheesy, eggy filling is cradled in a crisp and buttery crust, and is dotted with earthy mushrooms and shallots - it's truly a divine way to start your day. To make the dish feel just a little more French, we swapped out the Fontina cheese for an old favorite, Emmenthal. The light sweetness that this mild and fragrant cheese offered was a lovely contrast for the salty, earthy mushrooms.
The French would surely agree that one of the most delightful things about le brunch is its ability to straddle the line between breakfast and dessert. And in France, there may be no better example of this balance than the sweet crêpe. Traditionally filled and then either rolled or folded, crêpes can be dressed up as either savory or sweet. And while we've never been known to pass up a savory crêpe stuffed with cheese and eggs, the sweet-style crepe is, in our opinion, the crème de la crème - especially when formed into the jaw-droppingly beautiful tower that is the crêpe cake. Sure, it takes hours to create (I kid you not), but at the end of the exercise, you'll not only have something that looks effortlessly gorgeous on your hands, but you'll also be a newly-minted crêpe-flipping expert. For our cake, we began with a hearty base of nutty buckwheat crêpes, and topped each one with a layer of whipped and lightly sweetened cream cheese, a sprinkling of chopped walnuts and orange zest, and a drizzle of honey. On top, a mound of fluffy whipped cream offered a light and airy sweetness to each bite. Alongside, a glass of Blason Louis' Sancerre 2015 Sauvignon Blanc was absolute heaven.
To end the meal, we turned to a French party classic: champagne. Blason Louis' Grand Cru bubbly was bright, fruity, and slightly sweet. We sipped it alongside some simple miniature homemade pain au chocolat - bite-sized treats that offered just the right amount of buttery, chocolatey, crispness - and some perfect macarons from a local bakery in the loveliest spring colors. A perfect treat as we relaxed and enjoyed the company of our good friends!
In case you're interested in having your own little French wine tasting party at home, the kind folks at Blason Louis put together a special offer for Brunchographers readers - one free month of their wine tasting program! That's 20 bucks of free wine - who could argue with that? To access this deal, click here, and enter "brunchographers" under "who invited you?" Happy drinking!
Special thanks to Blason Louis for providing the wine for this event! As always, all opinions are our own.