Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pink Saturday - Un kir

Pink Saturday - Beverly at the blog "How Sweet the Sound" hosts Pink Saturday. Let the color pink inspire you!

In France, when asked if you want an apertif, you can't go wrong if you say"Je prends un kir, s'il vous plait."

We were in Dijon, in the wine country of Burgundy. We were guests at a medieval townhouse in the old part of the city. Our hostess settled us into the guest room, above what is now the garage, looking over the inner courtyard. We climbed out the French doors onto the balcony, and she brought glasses, a bottle of white wine, and a small bottle of a thick, dark syrup - creme de cassis, or liqueur of blackcurrants.

She poured the wine, and then glugged in a small dollop of the syrup. It settled in the bottom of the glass, a deep rosy flush. She swirled the stem a little and the wine suffused pink.

 Named after Felix Kir, the mayor of Dijon after the second World War, a Kir is traditionally made with the  white wine made from Bourgogne Aligote grapes.

 It was a popular drink in Dijon cafes after the war, because the sweet dark flavor of the blackcurrant syrup enhanced the thin, cheap, acid wine that was all people could get during those days.

We sat on the balcony planted with pink oleanders, overlooking the cobblestones, the apricot tree heavy with fruit, blooming hydrangeas beside the white-washed walls. The plants were still damp from an early afternoon rain shower, but the sun was out, warming the mellow ancient stone carved with lion heads and lion caryatids.

You can make a kir with a little bit of syrup - just enough to tint the wine a pale salmon - or you can make it with a generous dollop, for a deeper color and more sweetness. Either way, it's a pretty drink, simple enough to sip at a cafe on a warm summer evening, or before a meal.
We enjoyed it so much in Dijon that when we returned to Paris, we stopped in the bar at the Gare de Lyon and had one there, in the Big Ben Bar.
Le Train Bleu
If you dine at the Gare de Lyon's famous Le Train Bleu restaurant, you might want something a little fancier, like a kir royale, made with sparkling white wine or champagne. In France, you can also order a kir made with syrups from other fruits, such as mûre (blackberry) framboise (raspberry) or pèche (peach).

Here in the United States, it's hard to find Bourgogne Aligote wine, and if you do, you'll often pay up to $20 for it - which is foolish. A simple sauvignon blanc works fine, or any cheap French white wine, like La Vielle Ferme blanc, easily found in American supermarkets.

You'll pay a price, too, for the creme de cassis, especially if you buy one from Dijon. But do buy one from Dijon, instead of the cheaper brands of Hiram Walker or Marie Brizzard or Bols. It will go a long way. And you can sip your kir this summer on a lovely Pink Saturday evening, and imagine you are sitting on a 16th century balcony, over a cobblestone courtyard, in the ancient city of wine, food, and medieval palaces.


LV said...

Thank you for taking us along on this wonderful tour of France.

The Artful Diva said...

I haven't had kir in a long time. I remember it is delicious. Maybe after few of those, you'll be up running around that hospital bed ;-)

materfamilias said...

Lovely! You triggered a happy memory, from my most recent trip to Paris, of being treated to a kir by the lovely old Algerian at the next table -- I had expressed curiosity about his drink, disappointed that my glass of rosé wasn't as pretty looking. And once my glass was emptied, the waiter surprised me with a treat from my neighbour -- we ended up having a delightful discussion with his companions (he was happy simply to look on) an Algerian man married to a Guatemalan woman, both very happy to call Paris home.
It was a wonderful afternoon and now I can follow your recipe and make a drink that will layer your description over my memory to charming effect -- merci!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Happy Pink Saturday, Aunt Snow! My son is flying to Paris this evening for a Math Conference; lucky ducky! He promises to bring back something frenchy for his mom. Yay! Thanks for your visit.


Unknown said...

That is the prettiest picture. Your pink drink in the first shot looks marvelous.

Holly said...

I don't think it gets any better than your visit to Paris! Good for you! It looks simply divine.
Thank you for the lovely share and for stoppinkg by to say hello.

Anonymous said...

Love this post. When I go to France next year, will you be my guide? I wonder if I am on the only person on earth that likes bottom shelf wine. Just one particular brand though! LOL....Thinking of you G. xo HPS

Lorraine said...

A lovely post, wish I was there now...I agree about the Dijon Creme de Cassis, plus it's in a much cuter bottle than the others ;)

Beverly said...

Happy Pink Saturday, dear Glennis. We have been together on this pinking journey almost the entire three years. I always love your pink posts. ♥

I am glad your surgery was successful. And, I hope you are feeling better - and having the absolute necessary bowel activity.

Your Ben Franklin post had me laughing aloud. I was walking down an aisle in Home Goods today, and the lady in front of me had left a less that pleasant odor from just such an episode. It was quite memorable for me, but hopefully she felt better. My husband found the whole thing quite humorous - but he was on another aisle, and only had to hear about it from me - not smell it. Men!

I was in the hospital for Pink Saturday last year when I had my gall bladder removed.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Thank you for the mini-vacation. Even at 7:30 in the morning, I'd like to be there right now, sipping kir in my pajamas. (Is that wrong?)