Did coffee kill Balzac?

Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac reminds us that on August 18, 1850, the French writer Honoré de Balzac died at the age of 51.  His death has been attributed to heavy coffee drinking, each day twenty to forty cups of strong Turkish coffee. For a quotation from Balzac describing how coffee fueled his literary imagination, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on August 18, 2010 at 11:47 AM in Coffee, France | Permalink

Wine drinking culture in France (book)

Marion Demossier, Wine Drinking Culture in France: A National Myth or a Modern Passion? (University of Wales Press, 2010).

Posted by David Fahey on July 27, 2010 at 05:29 PM in Books, France, Wine | Permalink

End of the alcohol monopoly in colonial Vietnam (article)

Gerard Sasges (Ohio University), "'Indigenous Representation is Hostile to All Monopolies': Pham Quynh and the End of the Alcohol Monopoly in Colonial Vietnam," Journal of Vietnamese Studies 5/1 (Winter 2010): 1-36.  Rice alcohol.

Posted by David Fahey on May 30, 2010 at 12:59 PM in Alcohol (general), France, Vietnam | Permalink

Selling wine in Burgundy between the world wars (article)

Philip Whalen, "'Insofar as the Ruby Wine Seduces Them': Cultural Strategies for Selling Wine in Inter-War Burgundy," Contemporary European History 18/1 (2009): 67-98.

Posted by David Fahey on February 1, 2010 at 04:49 PM in France, Wine | Permalink

Wine adulteration in 19th-cent. France (article)

Alessandro Stanziani, "Information, Quality and Legal Rules: Wine Adulteration in Nineteenth-Century France," Business History 51/2 (2009): 268-291. 

Posted by David Fahey on December 29, 2009 at 12:36 PM in France, Wine | Permalink

Chocolate rebel: Le Chocolaterie de Jacques Genin

The most fashionable artisan chocolate maker in France today is Jacques Genin.  The Wall Street Journal tells his story here.  A sidebar to the article briefly describes Belgian chocolate makers Pierre Marolini, Wittamer, and Mary Chocolatier Confissur, Swiss chocolate maker Confiserie Sprüngli, and British chocolate maker Auer Chocolatier.  By the way, when chocolate arrived in France around 1615, ordinary people were not allowed to consume the "food of the gods."

Posted by David Fahey on December 19, 2009 at 12:58 PM in Belgium, Britain, Chocolate, France, Switzerland | Permalink

La Cave de Josephine (or the Empress Josephine's Cellar), an exhibition

Before the French Revolution the elite drank white wines, mostly sweet, and wines from Burgundy and Champagne.  The wines from Bordeaux were popular only with the British (as claret).  The carefully documented wine cellar of the Empress Josephine illustrates the change in the early 1800s when French wine drinkers began to enjoy Bordeaux.  For more about the traveling exhibition based on her wine cellar, see here. This is an article by John Lichfield in the (London) Independent, Dec. 10, 2009.

Posted by David Fahey on December 9, 2009 at 10:34 PM in France, Wine | Permalink

Drug Use and Addiction in War

Tom Langdale wrote this short article, dated July 9, 2009, for High 5 Men's Magazine.

Posted by Jon on July 10, 2009 at 01:47 PM in Alcohol (general), Beer, Cannabis, France, Germany, Methamphetamine, Opium, Rum, United States | Permalink

Le sandwich versus French cafe (with wine and espresso)

The new French habit of eating a sandwich at lunch (sometimes at one's desk) is another blow at the French cafe and a slow-paced lunch there, complete with wine and espresso.  Compared with a half million cafes fifty years ago, France now has only 38,600.  For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on June 29, 2009 at 02:01 PM in Coffee, Drinking Spaces, France, Wine | Permalink

Desperate Parisians pawn expensive wines

During the current economic crisis desperate Parisians have resorted to pawnshops.  For instance, wine collectors pawn bottles of superior wines for needed cash.  For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on May 5, 2009 at 09:40 PM in France, Wine | Permalink