Âllo, âllo, Bonjour!

Here we are again with news from warm France. The summer harvest is behind us and there are still a vew grapes left, but much has happened! Allez, on y va!

La Tulipe summer harvest 2010

If you really want to make good wine, you have to make sacrifices, along with those to Bacchus we made a physical sacrifice by cutting of half of our grapes. Only this way you can make a wine that after one sip your taste buds are doing summersaults out of sheer joy. At the beginning of June thirty Dutch men and women arrived here, whose sole common point was that were all wine lovers, at our Château la Tulipe de la Garde. They were willing to risk back and fingers for our yearly grape-castration: the ‘Vendanges Vertes.’

Cliquez ici


The hard life of a winemaker amongst other things includes that he regularly has to leave France and go to Holland and the other way around. However the restaurants along the highway don’t really provide the ideal ambiance for a wildly romantic lunch. The food is of questionable quality and ridiculously expensive and it’s always unpleasantly crowded with a high percentage of chavs.

Therefore anyone who dares call themselves a wineboer wouldn’t queue up for a plate of junkfood, they would turn their car off the road and enjoy a nice, practically free lunch in the midst of nature.


By the time your stomach starts to make rumbling noises take the nearest exit. Drive into the countryside for a while (remain on some form of paved road) and search for of peaceful spot which is rich in shadow, preferably next to some form of water.
This could take a while, but in lovely France there is always a beautiful spot ready to be discovered.


Put up the table and the chairs and place the necessary tools on the table.

good weather (free)
1 fleemarket table (€5)
2 camping chairs (€5)
1 clove of garlic (€0,02)
1 wheat bread (€1,15)
some olive oil (€0,30)
a small bottle of wine (€3,50)

Other things to take with you: a wooden board for bread, a knife, a gas operated camping stove and a bottle of water.

First the moat important thing: the wine.
Get rid of the water in the waterbottle and cut that in half. Open the bottle of wine and pour that into the just created glasses.
One could of course bring actual wineglasses.

Draai een halfje rosé open (handig schroefdopje) en vul de zojuist zelfgesneden glaasjes.
Je kunt natuurlijk ook wijnglazen meenemen.

Turn on the cooker, put a few slices of bread in the pan and pour some olive-oil in it, peel the clove of garlic and rub that over the slices of bread. Et voila, you don’t need anything else: peace, pleasant company and a crunchy piece of bread with olive oil and fresh garlic and a good glass of wine.


Rub garlic on two slices of bread for wife, girlfriend, friend or pet (or all of the above) and you have:
1. Totally independently decided your walk of life
2. Eaten well and healthy
3. Rested listened to the birds and enjoyed the view. So you can drive on for a few more hours, sans problême.

Especially with children a piquenique like this is much better than the shoving to get some 'food' in one of those rubbish restaurants. The kids have the adventure of finding a spot and eating in the wild and a wineboer’s lunch is much better than the fattening junk you get at a highway restaurant. Moreover, this way the growing posterity will have the opportunity to fall out of trees, get stung by an interesting insect or to fall into the water, which is still better than hanging in a plastic chair while eating a burned sausage and some fries that have withered away.

Wooden shoes
hotel   Why, in the name of all that is holy, would someone start doing a clog dance in a hotel room at six 'o clock in the morning? Because he/she knows that in the room below him/her there lies a wineboer peacefully snoring the night away? Or was it the perfectly polished hardwood floor, shining irresistibly in the morning sun that it was just impossible to not do a clog dance?

Whatever the case, if you have to be in Bourg-en-Bresse, which I’d advise against anyway because its one of the ugliest cities in whole of France and there is absolutely nothing to do, but if you really have to be there, reserve a room at the Hotel de France en have a chance at hearing an original Bresse clog dance.

In the romantically decorated chambre of the Hotel de France the guests are welcomed by a well-stocked fridge, which seems invite you to have a crazy night. While enjoying a bag of Nico classic crisps you have an aperitif consisting of a JBWhiskey, Smirnoff and a Henessy Cognac to top it off. To be followed by half a bottle of Pommery to be able to fully enjoy the Toblerone.   The classical/modern designed writers desk instigates a sheer uncontrollable urge to start a blossoming correspondence or the writing of a masterpiece.
Whatever we tried we just couldn’t figure out how get the camera, which was provided free of charge, to work…   … so we enjoyed the free view of the hanging gardens of Bourg-en-Bresse.
From the atmospheric love-bedstead you can enjoy if not your own activities, those of your upstairs neighbors.   The next morning at six ‘o clock the feast had begun again in the room above us…

Why would anyone with half a brain cell go to Bourg-en-Bresse
In France the better wines have an A.O.C.: an Appelation d’Origine Contrôlée. Meaning that the origin of the wine is verified. So you can’t ship a load of South-African junk over here, bottle it, put a Bordeaux label on it and then sell that for a ridiculous price. That is against the law and they check it. Because the wine we make ourselves, La Tulipe, is a Bordeaux wine, we receive with a certain regularity letters of the controlling Bordeaux-wine-institute INAO. They send spies to look into every nook and cranny in the entire world and sneakily buy bottles of Bordeaux. These are tasted, tested and if necessary, chemically analyzed. If everything is found to be in order, the wineboer gets a very formal note saying that they tasted his wine and that it meets the demands consumers could reasonably have. If that isn’t the case, and the wine is found to be disgusting, than the wineboer will get a warning. And that they do well, because if you get three of those warnings you’ll be kicked out of the A.O.C and you’ll only be allowed to label your wine ‘Vin de Table’.

Cliquez ici for such a letter.

So a wonderful institute, guarding the quality of our wine. Putting our minds at ease, they should do that for other stuff as well, one might think. Well they do, those eccentric French don’t just check their wine, but also the rest of what appears on the table. Cheese, meat, olives, olive oil, honey, nuts, right up to the chili peppers - everything is strictly verified and given a quality mark. And that is why we made a stop in the dreary Bourg-en-Bresse: because of what is known to scamper around here.

The Best Chicken in the world!
What’s remarkable is that the people here seem to be nuts about that chicken. Already in the entrance hall of the hotel we’re confronted with chicken-promotion materials. Chicken-flyers, chicken-maps and chicken-stickers.   Even the baker has gotten a chicken to put on the façade of his shop.

To make sure we don’t stand out, we hired some costumes and full of expectations we make our way to L’Aubere Bressane, the best restaurant in Bourg-en-Bresse, where they’ve specialized themselves of the last thirty years in making a dish out of the world most popular bird; this evening we will be eating the best chicken on this planet!

As can be expected, everything in the L’Auberge Bressane revolves round chicken. In a neighboring building the owner has even opened a store dedicated to man’s best, clucking, friend.

Under soft light dozens of gleaming chicken depictions made out of Limoges-porcelain are stare back at us from the shelves.

The right before we entre there’s already a fake copper chicken sticking out of a planter.   But inside it isn’t any safer.

We’re being observed from all sides by the Gallus Domesticus in various sizes, shapes and forms.

To ease the shock we decide to get a Aloxe-Corton Premier Cru from 2002 by Louis Latour.
We really shouldn’t have; even though is was poured out by a sweet little baby-waiter, it turned out to be a fairly bland, rather alcoholic wine, whose time surely had passed. Not to mention that it sat us back an amount for which we’d need to sell at least 2 X 77 bottles of our own wine.

keuken   Concerned as always about the fate of all of natures beings, the wineboer informs with the Patron-cuisinier and chicken-champion Jean-Pierre Vullin as to how there feathery friends are euthanized.

'At the butchers they use electricity,' the chef explains. 'Two wires against his neck, a pulse of electricity and voila, dead. They don’t notice a thing.'

'But here we do things differently’, the successful cuisinier continues. He grabs a pre-plucked Bresse-chicken from its cage and feeds the clucking animal a slice of truffle.
'We feed them right up to their last moment on this earth,' he declares while shoving the second slice into its beak. 'Than the animal feels at ease and the aroma of the truffle will transfer to the meat…'
  'The most important thing for the taste is that the chicken enjoys itself.’ The cook continues while he puts the animal, which is full of A.O.C stickers, on its back on the stainless steel countertop and softly massages its stomach.

Suddenly the chicken pecks him sharply on his fingers.   But the kitchen king can only smile at it. ‘
'Electricity isn’t good for a chicken,’ he says firmly. 'We do it in a chicken friendly manner.’ And with a well-aimed karate chop he sends the chicken on to the eternal cornfields.

Proudly the chicken king shows the heavily guarded field-bird. ‘This is how he is…’   '... and this is what he becomes!’


The Maitre des Poules prepares his precious courtyardbirds in four ways: 1. Baked crispy without any further fussing about except a few shrooms and some gratin potatoes. And 2,3 and 4 are all things you don’t want covered in a taste hiding cream sauce.


To ensure we optimally used our chicken-pilgrimage, we decided to order two different versions. Because of a serious misunderstanding the poor wineboer ended up with the one that was covered from head to tail in sauce, in which floated things that seemed very out of place such as little crayfish.

Terwijl de wijnboer zonder veel enthousiasme wat in zijn onder saus bedolven huisvogel prikt, verdwijnt aan de andere kant van de tafel, onder smakkend gegrom van verrukking, de lekkerste kip on the planet als sneeuw voor de zon van het bord. In nog geen vijf minuten rest er van het goudbruin knapperige gebraad slechts 1 afgekloven botje.


The winemaker has had enough chicken to last him a lifetime.
And what does he get for dessert?
An 'Oeuf à la neige', a dessert in the shape of a chicken.

All kidding aside, the food is delicious and the parton cuisiner JP Vullin is a sweetheart and wouldn’t hurt a fly. Obviously the chickens were long dead.
Later I asked the chef what he thought was the best way to make the chicken. First he looked around to see if no one was within earshot and then he whispered: 'Just baked and crispy. At most with some shrooms. The rest is all nonsense I only do that because people want something special. And that is the way I make my money.’


Here’s the address. It’s recommended.

In the next Slurp! it continues: the best chicken Live!

La Tulipe Premium

Together wine star-winemaker Michel Rolland we vinify an a special range of the La Tulipe wine: La Tulipe Premium. Exclusively for the better restaurants. Cliquez ici for a picture.

Cliquez ici for the summery of the medals we won in the first half of 2010

Allez, wholehearted Santé et à la prochaine!


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