Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cognac – fit for a king, or a cake

Pin It
If you ever find yourself in Cognac, I recommend a visit to the chateau of King Francois I of France – now the house of Otard Cognac.
Just add cognac, ice and tonic for a perfect day
The walls show the scars of the chateau’s chequered past. One of the most beautiful rooms in the castle was designed by Leonardo da Vinci, a good friend of Francois. This room has seen service as a prison, but these days, is used for banquets and concerts.
After the tour comes the tasting. We were told about the different grades of cognac and the more complex flavours that you can expect to taste in the amber liquid as you go up the scale. The bottles start at around €20 and rise very quickly to several hundred euro. When the saleswoman pointed out the really special stuff, an Australian lady in the group gave a shocked gasp.
‘OH! MY! GOD! I recognise those’, she said. ‘My late husband used to collect two bottles every time we went to Europe. But he’d never drink them, and he certainly never let me near them,’ she said, somewhat resentfully.

She told us that after his death, she had found his secret stash of breathtakingly expensive cognac and had been liberally dosing her fruit cakes with them! They had proved enormously popular, she added. No wonder, at about €50 a snifter! I had a feeling that this knowledge was not going to stop her adding cognac to her fruit cakes.
Simple but refreshing

Cognac is a marvellous cooking ingredient but as I am on hols, I have a very short recipe for you today – it’s my holiday drink and has the unromantic name of Cognac Tonic
In a tall glass, add a half measure of cognac, and top it up with ice and tonic. Cheers!
Pin It