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Bicycle GourmetFirst Night

Producer/Director/Author Christopher Strong shares the human, senic, cultural, culinary, and historic “Treasures” discovered during the filming of his TV series – BICYCLE GOURMET'S TREASURES OF FRANCE.

March 2010 Bicycle Gourmet's First Night..

After a hot n’ sweaty six hours in da saddle, I arrived at a faux Louis IV chateau, ringed by huge oaks. Stone cottages outa “French Country quaint” dotted the grassy, adjacent park. And set, ever so tastefully in the midst – a azur swimming pool beckoned. Cigales chattered in the pines beyond. Hey – this could be do-able! I announced myself to the receptionist. A barely adolescent Catherine Deneuve clone.

She arched an obviously artifical eyebrow, while favoring Me with a smile and a “bonjour” of the same quality. Ok – after six hours in the saddle I was’nt a GQ cover boy. But, I was’nt a mentally challenged wino with no shopping cart either! In my less than impressive French, I informed her I was the fabled gourmet they were salivating to receive. She did not drool. Managing to prolong her weak smile, She purred in perfect English : “Please………have a seat for a moment.” Then, picking up the phone, and trying hard not to whisper conspiratorily, She did exactly that. Scant micro-seconds later, an impeccably groomed (think GQ cover boy) hotel robot in his early twenties strode purposely forth. Obviously French. (It's a nose, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it) I was'nt fooled. I recognized him. You would have too. He was the school nerd. The kid who got regularly thumped and relieved of his lunch.

Now He was an adult. In a position of authority. Now, He was going to -GET EVEN! An obvious wife/dog beater. This was the boss’s son.Unfortunately, for yours-gourmet-truly, Daddy, off hunting, had told junior nada about me, and their best shot at Worldwide fame. Dear reader, you know this scenario. You’ve been there. Have you not? You’re completely honest, in a difficult situation with a totally unsympathetic drone. And the more you try to make it understand, the more you sound like the biggest scumbag ever to come down the pike!* does the phrase “lose/lose situation” ring a bell here?

*”the truer I am…..the more false I appear-
- Jean Jacques Rosseau -

Ok – so now what? It’s six pm, you’re in a strange place….

Where ya don’t knows nobody…and not enough pictures o’ dead presidents to matter. For most folks – PANICSVILLE! For the Bicycle Gourmet – just another door to adventure! So, I knocked on it. The Farmer’s daughter answered. Not, if I may be charitable, the Farmer’s daughter of ribald tales. But rather, the Farmette for whom the phrase, “nice personality” would be the ultimate compliment. I explained my situation. She pointed Me to the barn, and Daddy. If you’ve not yet experienced the cornucopia of fragrances mingling in a French cow barn, put it on your too-do-before-I-die list. Daddy’s responses were exclusively mono-syballic grunts. Just as I was beginning to doubt that there was the proverbial (or, in this case, the “provencal”) heart of gold, under his gruff exterior, Daddykins beamed a wry smile, and beckoned Me to follow. The smile widened as he popped open the trunk of his car to reveal a large, but happily, very dead, Sanglier. (pro – san-glee –eh) This is the French wild boar. (Think short, fat, hairy pig with Dinosaur tusks. The traditional method of preparation – marinated for days in wine and various secret sauces – has never, in the three times I’ve tried it, made it to my “special treats” list.(But then, I put whipping cream in my coffee!) Every discerning, as a gourmet must be, but not anally fussy, I would have been happy with some dry hay. Daddy boar-slayer produced a way acceptable spare room. With a shower! And so I, innovative cinematic genius, prospective idol of zillions and endorser of Global brands produced by pre-teen Taiwanese children, spent the first night of my hysterical mission with non-English speakers who did’nt give a rat’s ass if I was the Dali Lama, or just on the lam. And ya know what? I was one happy camper!


More articles from the Bicycle Gourmet.

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