Sunday, May 13, 2007


After an entire working week in a hotel room in Hamburg it's good to be home. Not that we've really stopped since I got back!

I arrived Friday evening at Charles de Gaulle airport and instead of heading to Reims, took a taxi into the suburbs of Paris. Frog had been making deliveries all day in the city and we were meeting up at a friend, David''s, flat for dinner. A group of eight of us ate and chatted and I found it a little bizarre going from a week of German and English (alright, I'm not speaking much German but that's the aural surroundings) to an evening of fast, colloquial French. I managed to keep up until about half past midnight. After toasting the arrival of Frog's birthday, I left the others and fell into a donated bed.

Back to Reims on Saturday morning, last night we took off for Frog's birthday gift. I was buying dinner at the Assiette Champenoise, a two star Michelin restaurant and hotel, which is just outside the city centre. The suburb it's situated in is pretty grotty which makes it all the more surprising to turn into a classical, beautiful setting, away from the street lined with dark, smokey bars (where Father Frog likes to meet his mates every morning for a café).

Frog took the large tasting menu accompanied by glasses of a Krug cuvée and I selected a couple of the à la carte items. I'd been worried that I would be hungry watching Frog work his way through the enormous menu. No fear of that. The servings were copius for this type of establishment and the morsels that came 'between courses' included a pre-dessert table including smallsticks of candy floss (how could I resist?), mini chocolate eclairs, peach flavoured marshmallow, peanut brittle and more...

We left holding our stomachs and were handed a small bag containing a loaf of bread for this morning's breakfast. Since it's already 10am, I'm still full from last night and soon heading out for lunch to celebrate Father Frog's 60th birthday, I might have to freeze the loaf for a day when we'll appreciate it!

Much to Frog's discomfort I worked out why both he, his father and sister's birthdays all fall within one day of each other. Nine months back is August, traditionally the only month (in addition to a quiet February) when the wine makers have time on their hands. Seems that's one another local tradition that we'll have to watch out for!

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