Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

How to Become a Professional Wine Taster

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Whether you want to set up your own wine tasting events, or further perfect your flavor recognition, becoming a professional taster implies that you have been through years of training and are now recognized by your peers to be a sommelier. This is not something that can be done overnight, but with enough education and practice, you can reach this level after putting in the hard work. 

how to become a wine tasting expert

First Things First

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To learn how to be an expert sommelier, it is important that you first know how wine tasting events work. Like any hobby, it takes time and practice. There are two main parts to this skill: knowing how to recognize different varieties and being comfortable setting up your own event. This page will help break down both of these facets and increase your education of this popular hobby. 

If you are completely new to this hobby, you should consider taking some wine tasting classes in Paris, or at a place of your local convenience. Once you are around professionals for a while, you will quickly discover what it takes to be a professional sommelier. In short, this takes a vast knowledge of the many different bottles, regional specialties, and tastes for each product. 

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How to Setup Professional Wine Tastings

Read more about our Wine Tasting Classes here

It may not easy to learn about the various different products and varieties of wines in the world to be able to run your own professional event. However, it will still require you to understand how an event like this works, and what aspects are normally involved. 

Bring a Few Different Bottles

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Don't just go to the store and buy the cheapest bottles possible. A professional sommelier will tend to avoid products like this unless they fit a theme. Instead, try to get a few different varieties of bottles. For best results, make a theme. This is a facet of the event which adds excitement and fun to the atmosphere.

For a theme, perhaps you might sample the finest wines from a certain region of the world, heavily-aged vs. lightly-aged, the same product with different price tags, and so on. Comparing aged against not-aged will help you understand whether or not wine really tastes better with age. However, the idea here is to make the event fun for you and your guests. If you simply select the least expensive options around, you will likely end up with less interest in your event.

Buy Snacks and Water

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Food and water are a great way for keeping people entertained, fed, and hydrated. The food aspect of your event shouldn't be anything too extravagant. Make it something simple like cheese and crackers, or perhaps getting some chips and leaving them out in a public area. 

Water is always nice to have around. Especially when alcoholic beverages are involved. Since science has connected consuming alcohol to causing dehydration, it is nice to have this readily available in case you or any of your guests get thirsty. This will also leave you with plenty of tasty snacks when the mood calls for them.

Glasses for Enough People

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As any expert sommelier knows, there is a certain type of glass which you need for this event. Typically, the glass should have a long stem which is below the cup. This is also where you should hold it. To be able to account for the guests which you know are coming, and the ones which you aren't expecting, a general rule of thumb is to have more than enough glasses

If you received 5 RSVPs for your event, assume that 10 are showing up. You never know if a friend of yours brings a couple of other friends with them, who in turn has another friend that wants to come along. Although many will consider it a priority to let you know when they want to bring others with them, you never know. This is why it is important to plan for your event to be as big as possible. 

Set Up a Quiet Sitting Area

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Having space for people to sit and chat will show them that they are welcome and encouraged to stick around and be friendly with others. Having a sitting area gives your guests a place to relax, discuss the bottles that are sampled, compare them with previous experiences, share ideas, and so on. The sitting area can also be a great place to position your water and snacks

How to Hone and Perfect Your Tasting Ability

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When we discussed how to taste wine like a pro, there were several tips discussed which you should keep in mind for getting better at trying the different wines like a professional would. Although this page was much more extensive, here are some extra ideas to keep in mind and really master should you want to become a supertaster. 

Use All Possible Senses

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We only have 5 senses, so we should make full use of them. This is especially true for trying out new bottles. A sommelier will experience each bottle with at least four senses. This is touch, taste, smell, and sight. Unless you are capable of hearing wine, it is unlikely that you will be able to try this. 

Start by glancing at the texture of the drink, look at each of the pristine details. Swirl it around to get a view of it oxygenating. Smell the cup to experience the aroma. Smelling, in particular, will help you remember each bottle in a different aspect. Then, let the wine touch your tongue and begin the critical portion of the exercise. This is also a great method for knowing how to taste acidity in wine

Spread the Wine to Every Portion of the Tongue

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A sommelier knows that each part of the tongue is great for stimulating different flavor reactions. For the actual tasting portion of the process, it is important that you activate as many of these buds as possible. This can be easily done by moving around the wine in your mouth, letting it soak into each portion of the tongue. Let it sit for a while until you are satisfied with the experience of the flavor.

Practice Blind Tasting As Much As Possible

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This is a skill which can be frustrating to increase. A professional blind taster will quickly be able to pinpoint the type of the bottle with a blindfold over his eyes. This is why it's important to use as many senses as possible when practicing your supertasting. Perhaps you will consider running your next event blindly so that you and your guests can try this out first-hand.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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More About Our Baguettes Classes

Getting a bit technical during our Baguette Class in Paris

The French baguette, actually probably better known as the Parisian baguette has beome a true symbol of French popular gastronomy. A true icon of French life even - look around and you will see the Parisians strolling back home with their baguettes under their arm. But if you are French why would you learn how to do this? You can buy a baguette at any corner of Paris for about one Euro a piece.  But in our Baguette Class in Paris  you will learn how do this from scratch. It is somewhat technical, but also full of tips and tricks. But when you leave, it will have not secret left for you. From the original mix to the famous "scarification" through adding water to your oven through baking, you will see and do it all.

Learning more during your Baguette class in Paris: Croque Monsieur Bread and Brioche

This class is like all our other baking or cooking classes: totally hands-on. So you get to practice from beginning to end - and to taste at the end. But not only will you learn how to make Baguette, but you will also learn to make two more types of bread: the French Croque Monsieur bread. The basis for the classic French bistrot appetizer. And in your Baguette class in Paris you will also learn how to make your own Brioche. Probably the most indulgent bread you will find in France - if not the lightest ...

And you might learn some history during your Baguette Class in Paris

While you will learn the techniques to create - and get to taste - three classic types of French breads, you will also learn some of the stories on the origin of the baguette. Just beware it is still being quite hotly debated. What is for sure though is that the Baguette is absolutely part of today Parisian's life. A classic you will be able to take back home with you.

More About Our Wine and Cheese Lunch in Paris

Cheese and Wine in Paris

The pleasures we can derive from French cuisine can seem endless.  However two of the best known and loved French gastronomic heroes are French cheese and wine. Whether we talk about a Brie which actually comes from very close to Paris, to a creamy Camembert from Normandy, or a Comté from the Alps, French cheese has a delight for all palates. And of course, French wines are even better known whether from Bordeaux great wines or Burgundy sophisticated whites – all of which enthral wine lovers.  Well, at our course on cheese and wine in Paris you will come to appreciate that although each is delicious on its own, properly matched cheese and wine together can make the experience of each even more enjoyable and an absolute delight.

How to pair French cheese and wine

Because not all pairings are actually what people expect, at Le Foodist we have decided to call these experiences 'Daring Pairings'. Maybe because we like to step out of the ordinary to challenge our taste buds, but really all we try to do is give you the perfect match fo cheese and wine in Paris.  So not only will you learn how to select the best wine to go with your cheese, but you will also learn what are the big cheese families in France – there are actually only five, and this is one of the keys to great pairing. In discovering all these pairings of cheese with wine you will be convinced that indeed two things together can be better than the sum of their parts.

It is important to have fun with pairing cheese and wine in Paris

Beyond the tastings though, we have found that the best way to help our clients remember and re-use their experience is to vary the way to approach both wine and cheese.  That is why during our courses on cheese and wine in Paris we share sensory games and many an anecdote to bring the produce to life in your mind as well as on your palate. Overall we will feature four excellent wines, one Champagne and demonstrate to you how best each combines with cheese, letting your taste guide you along with our teaching.

Understanding cheese and wine pairing while in Paris

While for many top Parisian wine stores and restaurant wine lists can be confusing and even intimidating, we believe that after our lunch learning how to pair cheese and wine in Paris, you will feel much more comfortable navigating all of those.  And we sincerely hope your knowledge will help you unlock a door to a whole new world of enjoyment of French wine and cheese pairing.  At every step of the way our sommelier will also share unique tips and tricks to understand wines better and how culture and wine are so related in France; hopefully enriching your own experience as well.

And they do not have to do with what you will find in those markets. They have to do with when you can go shopping there. Open Air markets are only open in the morning. Typically from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. And they are not open every day. As a matter of fact for the vast majority they are open either open every other day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), or sometimes only twice a week. 

This is the case of the Bastille Market (Metro Bastille and Metro Bréguet Sabin )which is open only on Thursday and Sunday morning. We like to send people there because it is a very big market with over one hundred vendors. And it has a nice stand of Crêperie in the middle. Here you get a video of a lady preparing a crêpe there; and you can get that crêpe for only 3 Euros!
There is only one Open Air market open every day of the week, it is called Marché Aligre (Metro Ledru Rollin or Metro Faidherbe Chaligny) which happens on the eponymous street. It is an interesting market because you find all kinds of quality in that market – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is also a nice covered market in the middle of it called Marché Beauveau – sometimes called Marché Beauveau Aligre. On the contrary, Covered Markets are open every day, and not just in the morning, but also in the late afternoon. Typically from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

We are blessed with two markets close to where Le Foodist is located, so we can walk to a market every morning – sometimes it is the Maubert market, and sometimes it is the Monge market. Both nice with their own specififies. Last but not least, none of these markets is open on Monday. Do not sign-up for a Market Tour on Monday, you might never see that money again …

Choosing Ingredients in Paris

While all markets are different, they also have some things in common. First they work on specific schedules as explained before. But also you will find always at a minimum the following vendors: a Maraîcher – this is the name we give to people selling fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger and a baker. Normally you will find several of each, with different levels of quality, organic or non-organic, local or not local (but mostly not local unfortunately).
And we explain how to recognize each of those of course during our Market Visits and Cooking Classes in Paris. But choosing ingredients can be daunting at first, because of the variety that is on display. A typical fishmonger will carry 20 different types of fishes, and as many shrimp and shelf fish varieties. A good cheese monger will easily carry up to 100 different types of cheese and obviously you could get over 100 different cuts of meat at a butcher (from the type of meat to the cut itself). And a normal Maraicher will carry between 50 and 100 fruits and vegetables as well.
This is what makes these markets so exciting – the variety of products, the beauty of their display, and the exchange you can have with most of the vendors. We give you tips though on how to make sure that exchange with the vendors go well – a few magic words, and everything will be fine!

Cooking in Paris

Obviously going to markets is nice, but actually knowing that you are going to cook what you find there is even more exciting. It is not uncommon for Parisians to buy a little bit too much food because they get so excited at the idea of cooking it all! But as most of us have hardly any space where we live, that can limit the enthusiasm sometimes. Because of the lack of space, Cooking in Paris can be quite different from cooking in the rest of France. And there are also dishes that are typically associated with regions which the Parisian will not cook at home – but taste when they visit friends or families in the various regions of France. However our kitchen has plenty of space, so we can cook traditional French dishes without a problem – whether they come from Paris or any region. And the most important part for us is to ensure that we share techniques much more than just recipes. As a matter of fact, we love to share a bit of the science behind what we do so people can better remember the “what” by understanding the “why”.

Sharing Stories

In November 2010, some experts from the UN cultural organisation, decided tha France’s multi-course gastronomic meal, with its rites and its presentation, fulfilled the conditions for featuring on the “world intangible list” of the UNESCO.
In this list you can find all kinds of cultural practices, including Mexico Day of the Dead festival for example. Importantly this is not suggesting French cuisine is better than other cuisines (even though we the French tend to believe that …). It is only saying that the gastronomic meal and what it entails is a very vivid cultural practice which people in France partake into on a very regular basis. That is why the same experts indicated that the French gastronomic meal is a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups”. And in that social custom, there are many parts: the attention we pay to the way we choose ingredients, how we pair wine with food, how many dishes we will present to our guests, how we lay the table, etc… But one big part of the cultural practice is that commensality (the fact of sharing the food) is always accompanied by sharing stories about …. Well, you would have guessed it, Food of course!
To us it is THE perfect example of how Food and Culture come together – actually we decide to share food is a considered a cultural practice. I would argue that it is true of all countries, regions, etc… As the way we relate to Food is such a big part of anybody’s identity. But as a result and to make sure you have the most genuine experience of French culture, after the a coking class in Paris at Le Foodist, you will share a gastronomic meal at a common table with your Chef and fellow participants to the class.

French Wine and Food Pairing

As mentioned above, one of the big cultural practices in France is choosing how to pair Wine and Food in general and Wine and Cheese in particular. We actually have a class which focuses specifically on this. As it is so important though, we always make sure we share white and red wines during our meals, chosen to pair well in our opinion with the food we cook. And being at the table together is a good opportunity to discuss about wine as well, with concepts such as “terroir” (to simplify, terroir means “what you do depends on where you are”) which are essential to grasp the way the French think about Food.
And all this will always go with a cheering “Santé” – which quite simply means, to your good health!

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