Le Plus Ça Change…

As the French take to the barricades to figure out what the country is about, one thing they don’t doubt is food. As Eric Delalande, a brilliant chef who traded Madison Avenue for Place des Marchés in Villèsque, a remote village in the Corbières, says: Le plus ça change, le plus c’est la meme chose. Or “They can’t touch our food or our wine!”
What Americans consider elitist and fetishy – wine-making, fancy cooking – is almost democratic for the French. There are endless stories of a quasi-motorcycle gang having long discussions about a sauce or character of the wine with a maitre d’. Tant mieux! Pleasure is a reality, and reality pleasure in a pleasantly confusing way.
The wine-makers I met during our tour around the Corbières prove that working the earth not for skeptics, not for critics, but for those who connect, all in, body and mind, with what they do. In a certain way, the famous critical thinking of the French turns to deep earnestness, to sharing, to values. You can question the meaning of life endlessly, in circles all you want, but test it against a gaspacho with frozen chèvrę scoop, a grilled magret with a glass of Fitou, and the moment gains a bit of forever.

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