Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What is Ble??

June 25, 2012

Today we talked about wine production for 5 hours in the classroom. This gap was broken up by a two hour break for lunch, but the weather is humid and rainy, so walking into town was rather unappealing. We covered the history of wine discovery and production, discussed the differences between white and red wine, distinguished the  microbial control points, outlined the variables in production which distinguish wine makers and set their products apart, and also touched on several technological advances that have impacted the wine industry. It was a busy day!
We purchased our train tickets this afternoon for our return to Paris on Sunday morning. I can’t believe a week has already flown by! Even better, though, there’s still a whole week to go!
Alright, so remember that cheese we’d purchased at the market on Saturday? The one that was a mouth-watering, upstanding hunk, aged to perfection, and of the perfect golden hue? Slightly nutty? (We’re still talking about cheese.) Well, I mean, that’s how I remember it. Amino acid crystals flecked throughout to indicate it’s aging, a thin, red and brown, craggy rind. Faint lines running throughout as a memory of the curds that were turned and pressed, turned and pressed to yield a masterpiece. Part of me spotted the cheese from almost across the street, and despite being  one of the most indecisive people you’ll ever meet, I knew I’d love it. Long-story short, for class we need to select a cheese to study and present to the class. Salers is now my chosen cheese, and today I spent a little bit of time doing some research.
The day culminated with a group dinner at La  Nation. Despite my efforts, I am continuing to struggle with the menus. I’d selected “Ble a la Nicoise.” One, because I knew what a Nicoise salad was and that I could eat it. Two, because I had to figure out what “ble” was. I asked the server and she had no idea how to explain it, and had to go ask someone else to ultimately tell me it was wheat. Now, I’ve never heard of wheat just being served straight up, and how did were they planning on bringing that into a Nicoise salad? So, I referenced the translator app. on my phone which told me it was wheat, corn, or grain. I was pretty sure it wasn’t corn, the term for which looks closer to maize. Again, I had to wait and see what I was going to get. 

What came to the table was a tremendous salad, with a small mound of barley and tuna nestled in the center. Ble meant barley! Mystery solved. Needless to say, I ate the whole thing and will be sleeping well tonight. 

- Adrianne Speranza

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