We were visiting Vienna and happened to notice an unusual beer on the menu, Budweiser-Budvar. We asked the waiter and he explained the beer was not the American Budweiser but instead was from the Czech Republic. The direct predecessor of the Budweiser Budvar brewery as a national enterprise was the Czech Share Brewery. It was founded in 1895 and its activity directly related to the historical tradition of brewing of beer in České Budějovice (Budweis in German) which dates back to the 13th century when the town was founded and chartered for brewing rights. From the long-term perspective, Budweiser Budvar, National Corporation has proved to be one of the most successful food-processing companies in the Czech Republic. Almost a half of its production is exported into more than 50 countries on all continents. In 2009, Budweiser Budvar’s sales reached 1.28 million hectolitres of beer.
During the day that we spent in Saint Malo, we ate a little of this and that, I didn't take many pictures. The Kouign Amann seen above is one of my absolute favorites. It is a little like a creme puff but crispy and more airy (and often no filling). It is a round flakey cake, made with bread dough containing layers of butter (lots of butter) and sugar folded in, similar in fashion to puff pastry albeit with fewer layers and more flakey. The resulting cake is slowly baked until the butter puffs up the dough (resulting in the layered aspect of it) and the sugar caramelizes. The name derives from the Breton words for cake (“kouign”) and butter (“amann”). We must have eaten at least a half a dozen of this light and flaky cake. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the place that sells them, but if you go, you will recognize the sign and the line waiting to buy.
Just in case you have ever wondered what it would be like to stand in the crowds you see on TV at the Tour de France, I've got you covered. Lisa and I went to Rouen to see the cathedral and look around but we also went to check out the tour. We got there a couple of hours beforehand, and there were a lot of people. If you are going anywhere near the finish line you probably won't see much of the racers but you can go for the party beforehand.
When we were shopping at the local supermarket in Paris today, I decided to pick up some beer. They had three sizes as shown above. The normal six pack size you find in your American supermarket is in the center and the single large size bottle is on the right. What really intrigued me was the teeny tiny bottle shown on the left. They label in metric here, so the big bottle is 650 ml (about 22 fluid ounces or 3 cups), the middle bottle is 330 ml (about 11 fluid ounces or 1 1/2 cups) and tiny bottle on the left is 150 ml, about 5 fluid ounces or about half a cup.
I bought an 8-pack of the little ones just to see how much beer was in them. I poured it into a glass and it came about a quarter of the way up. Three sips and my bottle of beer was gone. I wonder what self respecting beer drinker buys these things? Do people point and snicker when you go to the checkout? Can you imagine swaggering up to the bar for a bottle of beer and ending up with a bottle the size of your finger? I could go on but you get the picture. They really didn’t have much of a selection of beer while they had a huge and reasonably priced wine section. I suspect Parisians really don’t drink much beer, the local bar doesn’t have any and when we have been out for dinner or drinks most people are drinking espresso or wine.
Anyway, after tasting the beer I was hungry, so I ordered a pizza and drank the big one! Bon appetit from Paris.