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Traditional Moules Marinières is one of the most delicious sea foods according to the Brittany’s population. Most of the persons visiting Bretagne are usually advised to have a taste of the sumptuous delicacy. Its popularity has over the years increased and is one of the most enjoyed sea foods around the world. Moules Marinières is a combination of white wine marinade and cooked onion spices and shallots/shellfish. Ingredients of a typical Moules Marinières include bay leaves, white wine, mussels, shallots and parsley. By cooking in white wine, the food’s flavor is enhanced. It is best served with French fries or salad. Butter and fresh thyme are also used in the preparation of the sea food. The meal has been a part of the region’s delicacy with most people arguing that it initially originated from Bretagne and is currently consumed in various parts around the globe. The ferry to France from England is very affordable and this has made the number of Britons visiting Bretage to have a taste of Moules Marinières to surge in the past three decades.
Origin of Moules Marinières
The history of Moules Marinières dates back in 1235 and is associated with an Irish man named Patrick Walton. Patrick accidentally discovered mussels hanging to the nets and were left by the hunters to trap birds. He later picked the mussels and prepared a meal since he had no food and the ship he was using to travel with had turned to wreckage and could hardly move. Through domestication on the wood piles, he was able to get more mussels and by then he had discovered that they were delicious if cooked. The surrounding communities started consuming the food and with time, an addition of onion spices made it more sumptuous. It was traditionally served in bowls and pots and was accompanied with Muscadet wine (Moules Mariniere Web). The modern version of the same entails a combination of garlic and cream and may come along with a side dish of French fries. Over the years, the dish underwent modifications and this included the addition of white wine and this further increased its popularity. The people of Bretagne have since maintained the tradition of cultivating mussels directly or indirectly in the sea bed or on bouchots. It should be noted that these mussels are delicious and tasty. Currently, the dish is not only enjoyed in Bretagne but various parts of the world. One of the reasons why Breton Moules Marinières are so popular is that they are made with cultivated mussels that grow on sea beds and the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. Most of the people that have eaten the Bretagne’s authentic sea food (Moules Marinières) claim that it is tasty, perfect and fleshy.
Preparation of Moules Marinieres
Moules Marinieres is one of the most liked classic coastal dishes in France and in most regions around the world. The sea food is nutritious and also has health benefits including body and tissue repair and enhancement of immunity.
v 1.8-2kgs of moules or mussels
v 4-5 fresh bay leaves
v 3-4 table spoons of unsalted butter
v 1 table spoon of Parsley
v 2 table spoonful of whipping cream
v 8 springs of fresh thyme
v 3 table spoons of chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
v 100 ml of dry white wine
v Chopped onions or shallots (the onions have to be finely chopped)
v 1 small box of sour cream
v Salt and pepper
v 3-4 cloves of chopped garlic
Steps to be embraced in the preparation of Moules Marinieres
v The first step entails soaking the mussels in salty water. Next, they are washed in cold and running water in a sink to remove any beards or barnacles (Moules Mariniere Web). It is advisable not to scrub the shells as the color may end up transferring during its preparation making it unappetizing. Any mussel that floats when tapped against the sink has to be discarded.
v White wine is then boiled for 30 seconds and set aside. Usually, this aims at removing harsh alcohol taste and leaving only a fruity acidity of wine.
v The third step entails melting butter in a large saucepan at high temperatures followed by addition of onions, thyme and bay leaves. The mixture is stirred for 10 seconds followed by adding wine and bringing it to a boil.
v Add the mussels in the mixture and mix everything then close the lid. Cook the food for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mussels open. Those mussels that do not open should be discarded.
v The next step entails addition of whipping cream and parsley and the mixture is stirred well. It should be noted that no seasoning is required because the mussels tend to remove some salt water when they open. A dash of salt, 1 small box of crème fraiche and pepper also has to be added to make the meal tasty.
v Everything is then mixed together and covered for a minute to ensure that the mussels are properly cooked. The food is then served in large warmed serving dishes and bowls. It may be served with French fries, French beans or fish soup. Most of the people in Brittany also prefer red wine as a drink that comes along with the meal.
Bretagne/ Brittany white wine
Muscadet wine is mainly consumed Bretagne and the larger part of France. The wine is made Loire Valley’s western region near the city of Nantes. Part of it is also processed in Brittany, thus the reason behind an increased consumption of the drink in the past two decades. It is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, and has the characteristic of wine that is produced in such a way that it captures the tastes and preferences of various consumers. Muscadet wine comes in various varieties and they are all manufactured and finely processed. One of the factors that make it unique is that it does not have much of aromas or muskat-like flavors (The Wines Of Brittany Web). Its production began in the early 17th century after the planting of the Melon de Bourgogne that is used as a primary ingredient. Muscadet vineyards stretch to the coast of Bretagne and the Loir Valley. Over the years, vine making techniques have evolved and this is majorly attributed to the advancements in the levels of technology.
Comparisons between the Melon de Bourgogne grapes with similar grapes grown in the U.S
One of the variations that are evident between the Melon de Bourgogne grapes of the two countries is their acidity levels. The grapes that are grown in the U.S. are more acidic compared to those grown in France’s regions such as Bretagne and Loire Valley. When used in the preparation of wine, one can easily tell the differences in the tastes. Moreover, the wine that is produced from the U.S. requires a longer boiling when used in the preparation of foods such as mussels to remove both alcohol and high acidic levels unlike the one that is generated from France.
Another variation is the wines from the two countries are evident on the characteristics and flavors. The wines from the U.S. are likely to show characteristics such as fresh fruity and aromatic while that from various regions of France are softer and have a salty taste of the melons. Moreover, it is creamy in nature and when consumed it is smooth.
Reasons behind the variation in tastes and flavors
There are various reasons that contribute to the variations in the flavors and tastes of wines from the two countries though they are produced from Melon de Bourgogne grapes. Firstly, the wines in France are racked immediately after the completion of fermentation while those in the U.S. may take some time before they are racked. Usually, this is aimed at reducing acidic levels while at the same time increasing alcohol levels in the wines. As earlier stipulated, U.S. grapes are more acidic compared to those from France thus the reason why they take time before being racked.
Another factor that contributes to the variation is climate. Most of the regions of California in the U.S. where there are large grape vineyards experience high temperatures and low humidity. Vineyards in most of French terroirs, on the other hand are located in regions where the climate is characterized as cool, high humidity and heavy rainfalls. It is because of these variations that wines produced in the two countries by similar grapes may be of different flavors and tastes.
How climate impacts classic dish and wine in the region
Characteristics of Bretagne climate include low temperatures, high humidity that vary depending on temperature range and high rainfalls across the year. The climate tends to affect the eating and drinking patterns in the region in one way or the other. Moules Marinieres for instance, is consumed all through the year but individuals in the area prefer having it during sunny days and it comes along with either red or muscadet wine. During those days of high rainfalls and low temperatures, the sea food is less consumed and this is according to some of the major hotels in the area that produce the dish. Wine consumption is less affected by climatic conditions in the region since the people in Bretagne have the habit of having a glass of the drink after a meal.
Moules Marinieres consumption in the U.S
Moules Marinieres consumption in the U.S has over the years gained popularity. During the First World War, the Americans learnt several things from the French including some of their dishes. It is then that the Moules Marinieres was adopted as a dish in some of the restaurants in America. Across the years, Americans have done various modifications on the food and with time, it has attracted several individuals in the country to have a taste of the French cuisine. The preparation steps of the sea food in the two countries are similar but the variations come from some of the ingredients used.
"Moules Mariniere | The Real French Foods." Frenchcountryfood.Com, 2018, http://frenchcountryfood.com/recipes/fish-or-seafood/moules-mariniere.html.
"The Wines Of Brittany - Muscadet Vineyards." Brittanyholidayguide.Com, 2018, http://www.brittanyholidayguide.com/food/brittany-wines.html.
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