Marie Antoinette suggested:”Let them eat cake!” So we will be taking her advice and serving French pan-cakes, also known as crepes, a very light, thin pancake, at our Bastille Day event.

Our event crepe menu includes delectable Crabby Crepes, Spinach, Cheese and Bacon Crepes, Al Fresco Crepes (avocado, tomato, cilantro, more…), and a light Dessert Crepe (sugar & lemon).

To accompany them, we have a lovely assortment of elegant, white wines. But before we get into some background on the wines, here’s a bit of back story on how crepes came to associated with the French:

CREPE HISTORY

The word crêpe is French for pancake, from the Latin crispus, meaning crisp. In France, crêpes were originally called galettes crêpes, meaning flat cakes. The French pronunciation of the word is with a short e, as in bed.

Crêpes originated in Brittany, the northwest region of France, where they rarely had fillings and were used as bread. Until about one hundred years ago, all crepes were made of buckwheat flour.

In France, crêpes are traditionally served on Candlemas (La Chandeleur), February 2. This day was originally Virgin Mary’s Blessing Day but became known as “avec Crêpe Day”, referring to the tradition of offering crêpes.

It was also served on Shrove Tuesday to celebrate renewal, family life, and hope for good fortune and happiness ahead. The belief was that if you could catch the crêpe with a frying pan after tossing it in the air with your left hand and holding a gold coin in your right hand, you would become rich that year.

In earlier times, in French rural society, farmers offered crêpes to their landowners as a symbol of allegiance. Crêpes are popular not only throughout France, but elsewhere in Europe, where the pancakes go by other names and adaptations, including Italian crespelle, Hungarian palacsintas, Jewish blintzes, Scandinavian plattars, Russian blini, and Greek kreps.

Today, creperies that specialize in serving sweet and savory crepes are found throughout France. The savory pancakes, served as a main course, are usually made of buckwheat flour and called galettes, or galettes sarrasines, while dessert crêpes are made with wheat flour. Savored for centuries, crêpes are now celebrated beyond France, with creperies in America, and elsewhere in the world.

THE SKILL OF CREPE MAKING

Until recently, crêpes were cooked on large cast-iron hot plates heated over a wood fire in a fireplace. The hot plates are now gas or electric heated, and the batter is spread with a wooden spreader and flipped with a wooden spatula. It is customary to touch the handle of the frying pan and make a wish while the pancake is turned, holding a coin in the hand.

Turning out a batch of the aromatic butter-browned pancakes is a rewarding endeavor. Assembling them is swift and can often he done ahead. With a stack of these tender discs on hand, you will have myriad serving possibilities for a happy repast any time of day.

Crêpes are ideal to make in advance and refrigerate or freeze, to fill later for a party or informal gathering. They are easy, dramatic, and fun to serve. One option is to stage a kitchen party and let guests spoon on their own fillings.

Crêpes may be made with either plain or sweetened batters. Incorporating different flours into the batter varies the taste. Savory batter can be based on whole-wheat flour or a variety of specialty flours, such as blue cornmeal, buckwheat, garbanzo, or chestnut, all available in bulk in many natural food stores or gourmet markets. Fresh herbs can be used to color and flavor savory crepes. Sweet crepes are enhanced b flavorings such as liqueurs, extracts, or fruit zest.

Crêpes star when it conies to versatility. Their fillings can be complex and sophisticated or as simple as a dollop of herb butter, a dice of chilies, or crumbled sheep or goat cheese. Or, for sweet bitefuls, tuck in some grated bittersweet chocolate or white or dark chocolate chips, spread with am and sprinkle with powdered sugar, or sprinkle with sugar and splash with lemon juice.

Crêpes may be filled and folded in various shapes for a decorative presentation. Ideal to serve around the clock-for morning brunch; an elegant lunch; a midday snack; or a dinner entree, accompaniment, or sweet finale-crêpes are the good cook’s best ally.

LES VINS

Mesdames et Monsieurs, we have got some truly special, elegant white and rosé wines for you at this event! Come taste these unique offerings. You won’t often get this opportunity! Je ne regrette rien!

Spring Mountain Vineyards 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Spring Mtn. AVA)2008 Spring Mountain Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ~ Spring Mountain Vineyard is an 850-acre estate on the eastern slopes of Spring Mountain. Over 225 acres of the estate are planted to vine, representing 135 distinct hillside vineyard blocks with many soil types, exposures, and microclimates.

Originally four individual 19th century Napa Valley vineyards, Miravalle, Alba, Chevalier and La Perla are now one vineyard producing primarily Bordeaux varieties. Because of the challenging and diverse hillsides, a substantial portion of the vineyard is planted in densities of over 4,000 vines per acre to the ancient gobelet form, a vertical training method invented in an earlier millennium by the Romans. The vineyard yields distinctive mountain wines noted for concentration, elegance and longevity.

With only 675 cases produced, this Sauvignon Blanc is a rare treat. Winemaker’s Notes: “The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc has a beautiful straw yellow color with green highlights. The nose is an intense combination of citrus and floral notes mixed with pronounced stony minerality a complex marriage of varietal and specific terroir. The palate is silky and elegant. Clean flavors of lime, grapefruit, white peach, apricot and hints of linden echo the wine’s aromas. Grown in austere, rocky soils, the wine minerality is evocative of a Loire Valley Sancerre, yet its weight and texture is pure Spring Mountain.” (Varietals: Sauvignon Blanc 87%; Semillon 13%) ~ $40.00 ($32.00 Wine Club) Estate Bottled

More on Spring Mountain Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc: “Since 1993, our estate grown Sauvignon Blanc has been styled along the lines of a fine white Bordeaux. The grapes are whole cluster pressed and the juice is cold settled overnight. It is then moved to neutral French oak barrels where fermentation is completed. The wine is kept sur-lie for 6 months with weekly stirring. This marries the wine’s bright flavors and acidity with the rich yeasty, toasty elements provided by barrel contact. Batonnage and extended sur lie aging create a texture that weaves layers of fruit and vanilla into a rich and complete wine.”

Vivier 2010 Rose of Pinot Noir2010 Vivier Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir ~ Vivier blends the ancient traditions of French winegrowing with the youthfulness and potential of American vineyards. Focusing on Pinot Noir, the husband and wife team of Stéphane and Dana Vivier bring a Burgundian restraint and sensibility to wines made from California and Willamette Valley grapes, and it’s a darn fine combination.

Did you notice the balloon on the label? From their website: “It was late Summer 1906 in the Jardin des Tuileries. Picnickers gathered in the garden and diners filled the neighborhood terraces, eager to watch the launch of this inaugural overseas [balloon] race. What better way to celebrate this airy adventure than with a glass of Rosé.

“Made with a bit of restraint, a classic French style, and bright Sonoma Coast fruit, this Rosé shows floral, grapefruit, raspberry and earth notes and finishes up fresh.

“We sourced the grapes for this Rosé from the high-elevation, hillside Sonoma Coast vineyard we use for the Pinot Noir. The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel.” ~ $18.00

Valley of the Moon 2009 Sonoma Coast Pinot Blanc2009 Valley of the Moon Sonoma County Pinot Blanc ~ Valley of the Moon Winery has been in operation longer than any other winery in the Glen Ellen area. The stone structures date back to 1863, and have great historical significance.

With aromas of honeysuckle, peach and lychee nut, this Pinot Blanc is the perfect mid-summer refresher. This wine is integrated and rich fruit flavors of pear, apple and nectarine which lead to a lengthy finish balanced with zesty acidity. From their winemaker’s notes: ” This traditional Alsatian-style wine is a blend of grapes from vineyards that are located in the Russian River Valley and the Southern Sonoma Valley. Both viticultural areas have deep alluvial soil and a cool climate due to the moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean and the San Pablo Bay. These cool microclimates are responsible for preserving the crisp acidity and fresh fruit character of the wine. The 2009 Pinot Blanc was whole-cluster pressed into stainless steel tanks and fermented at cool temperatures to preserve the varietal fruit aromas and flavors of the grapes. After fermentation portions of the wine lots were aged in French oak and Acacia wood barrels to enhance richness and provide additional complexity to the wine.” (Varietal Composition: 99% Pinot Blanc 1% Chardonnay) ~ Sale! $12.00

This perfectly balanced Pinot Blanc pairs well with seafood, shellfish (particularly oysters), poultry, salads, fruits, light pastas and mild cheeses. Its structure and fruity flavors also complement spicy cuisine.

Join us at Seguin Moreau Napa Cooperage to celebrate France’s Independence Day.

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