Saturday, July 07, 2018

Wine Flows Like a River

While living in the U.S., Earl and I were occasional drinkers. We'd open a bottle of wine and have a glass or two a few times a week. If we went out to dinner or if we had friends over, we'd definitely drink -- wine, beer, cocktails. One of the things we loved to do in summer was walk to Third and Hollywood for gin and tonics.
But we were never big drinkers.
All of that has changed since moving to France. Wine is definitely less expensive here, but it's also part of the culture. If we're out for lunch, we often drink an aperitif and then wine with our meal.
A glass of white wine in a beautiful glass. 
Dinner is the same.
Now that we've landed in a village and met friends, we frequently gather for drinks before moving on to meals. Festivals, celebrations, games of cards... they all require glasses of wine.
Pre-dinner drinks in this area often consist of blanquette de Limoux, a sparkling wine.
Since I became a mother, I could count on one hand the number of times I became tipsy. Now, I would probably fill up those fingers in one week.
Just this week, we celebrated Fourth of July with a party at some British friends. Wine, beer, spiked punch and watermelon jello shots 
For July 4th, my friend Jules created Jello shots shaped like watermelons. 

It was my first time doing a jello shot. 
were among our drink choices on that incredibly hot day. We had to keep drinking to stay hydrated!
The next day we went on a hike that ended in lunch at a local restaurant. A friend and I shared a 50 cl of wine. I took an afternoon nap and vowed not to drink that night because I felt a bit weak in the evening, but when we played cards with some friends, the wine came out again and somehow we left two empty bottles.
Then came Friday, the Bal des Pompiers.
The workers wore t shirts that proclaimed Bal des Pompiers

 It's a firefighter's ball that is held in most every French town. It starts with drinks and music, then moves to dinner with wine before more music and dancing.

The two of us staking out our places after friends saved tables for us. 

Here's the pork grilling on spits. Plenty for 350 people. 
Again, drinking followed by drinking and dancing, which is fun. But a niggling doubt starts to bother me.
Some pre-dinner beer and mussels (moules)
I did learn the importance of saying no within a week or so of settling here. We went to a new friend's house and every time I set my glass down, someone filled it up. Then I guiltily felt like I needed to drink it.
That ended up with me puking in the bathroom about 11 that night. (It was an afternoon party.) So I determined then and there that I would announce my intention not to drink more and if someone filled up my glass, then they would understand that I wouldn't drink it.
I haven't gotten drunk since then, but tipsy, yeah, tipsy still happens.
Truthfully, a lot of these functions are more fun with a nice tingle from the wine. Things are funnier, my French is better, my dance moves are more enthusiastic. We walk to these events so driving after drinking isn't an issue.
We have another set of American friends who have been living in France for a few years. They admit that when they go home, they aren't drinking very much at all. But when they return to France the wine flows again.
Maybe it's okay to drink freely here, understanding that it isn't an alcohol problem. It's a culture of enjoying food and drink.
So tchin tchin! (That's a toast here, like cheers!)

It's time for the Paris in July meme, so I'm linking to the blog Thyme for Tea that shows a list of all the Francophiles participating.


Jeanie said...

Thanks for spelling tchin! I was never sure!

I noticed that when I was in France. We do drink wine here (as you might notice from my Cork Popper posts!) but not so much on a regular basis. I can see where it would be an adjustment but looks like you've made it!

Paulita said...

Jeanie, Yes, it's actually on a billboard for glasses here so I recognized it. Don't ask! I guess I just need to make sure the drinking doesn't become an issue.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I love wine and drink a glass now and then and more when I'm with friends. When in Paris I had wine with every lunch and evening meal. Never got drunk but tipsy a little. I'll join you in a glass as I read all the lovely Paris in July posts!

Kiwi said...

If you wish, you can slow down your alcohol intake in summer by having a "rosé piscine." That's a glass of rosé wine with a few "glaçons" of ice floating in it. While putting ice in wine at other times of the year would be frowned upon, everyone seems to recognize the need for a more relaxed approach in the summer heat.

Sim Carter said...

You certainly sound like you're having fun! I can't drink in the afternoon—not that I never indulge in a bloody mary, a mimosa, etc but if I do I'm wiped out for the rest of the day. I'm a lightweight.

As for the toast, I always thought chin chin was a British toast so natch, I had to look it up. Yep. I'm that person.

According to the British Oxford dictionaries:


dated, informal
Used to express good wishes before drinking.

‘‘Chin-chin,’ he said, and drank’

Late 18th century: representing a pronunciation of Chinese qing qing.

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