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Do you look for the AOC appellation when you buy food and drink in France?

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Jul 30th, 2007, 10:23 AM
  #1
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Do you look for the AOC appellation when you buy food and drink in France?

The AOC appelaation shared by 474 wines and spirits, 44 cheeses, 2 butters, 1 cream and 39 other products including poultry from Bresse, Ile de Rey honey, onions from Cevennes. This label is coveted by producers in France.
Do you look for it when you are in France?
Do you value the products with the AOC approval?
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Jul 30th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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Absolutely. Wine, armagnac, cheese, melons.

Absolutely.
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Jul 30th, 2007, 01:55 PM
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Hi sheila
I see where two AOC makers of lait cru camembert (unpasteurized milk) decided changed to pasteurized milk out of fear of a EU ban. They lost their AOC status but increased their sales.
Here there is a VDQ appellation assigned to Canadian wines in the hope of creating the same hype. As well retailers report brisk sale on Black Angus beef so, though not strictly the same, everyone is trying to get in in the exclusive branding of foods.
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Jul 30th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Sure, I look for it for some products, but there are plenty of items I love that don't have the AOC, and I'm not into denying myself much in the way of food and drink in France!
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Jul 30th, 2007, 02:28 PM
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We do look for it and have remarked to ourselves on how the nomenclature has extended beyond wine. Last time we bought lentils in Paris we noticed that they were "Lentilles du Puy AOC".

Like St.Cirq, we have discovered a lot of non-AOC products that we equally enjoy. There are many wonderful wines that have not yet been (or perhaps never will be) designated as AOC, but are instead classified as "Vins de Pays". As I understand it (and I am not a wine expert by any means), vin de pays does not have the same constrictions on type of grape, ratios of blend, or narrowness of geographic origin as AOC. Nonetheless, we've had some Vin de Pays d'Oc, for example, that is as memorable as Languedoc AOCs such as Minervois, Corbières, or St-Chinian.

Just as an aside, we can buy lentilles du puy at Pete's Frootique in Halifax, but they aren't AOC.

Anselm
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Jul 30th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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I never look for AOC. If I come across it, so much the better, but there are many fine items that have never officially qualified or applied for the AOC appellation.

The "origin" of an item doesn't mean it is the best product. For example, it is probable that there is some very fine feta cheese in Greece, as that is where it originated. However, 85% of the feta sold in Europe is made in France and Germany. Greece applied for and obtained AOC rating for feta, so in a year or two French and German feta will have to change name. Will that make those products a worse cheese that Greek feta?
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Jul 30th, 2007, 02:41 PM
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Hi R,

>Do you look for it when you are in France?<

Not really, except for wine.

At restaurant prices I almost always insist on AOC. The exception is vin de maison.

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Jul 30th, 2007, 02:51 PM
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Keep in mind that many wines miss the AOC label by being produced by a vineyard 500 meters over the AOC border.
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Jul 30th, 2007, 05:12 PM
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AOC doesn't mean it is a good product, unlike "Label Rouge"
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Jul 30th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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AOC dates back to the 1400's when it was required that Roquefort cheese be made in a specific way in a specific area(cave) of France. The actual AOV designation began in the 1930's. I suppose that the AOC could (in theory) be applied to something that wasn't "good" - perhaps Andouillete sausage?
It protects the method and region where something is made.
It is more than the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
People have said that AOC wines could be produced according to AOC regulation and not taste very good.
There was talk of revamping the whole idea but I don't know where that went.
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Jul 30th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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Robjame, I was intrigued by a restaurant listed in the Time Out guide that's called L'AOC that specializes in AOC products. It also describes itself as a "bistrot carnivore," which has an appealing honesty.

It's in the 5th, so it's way out of your 'hood, but it might be worth a try.
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Jul 30th, 2007, 06:20 PM
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Yes but sometines the house wine is a surprising pleasure and this year with the Euro so high, I'll be tasting more of it
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Jul 31st, 2007, 04:26 AM
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Anselm - I wonder if the actual lentil is a different variety or are we dealing with location only. Did you notice (taste) any real difference. I can see cheese, wine, olive oil, etc - I love lentils...but....
Margriet - I checked out L'AOC website and it is interesting - quite an emphasis on meat including a "buffet". I saw little reference to AOC as I thought they might concentrate or emphasize AOC brands. (I hope you will be able to make the Toronto GTG. I am looking forward to meeting your husband).
I have to admit to not really looking for AOC wines - usually I have another "theme" going on - a variety or region that I am enjoying. I will check them out this time. I too love house wines.
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Jul 31st, 2007, 04:39 AM
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Have eaten at l'AOC in Paris a couple of times - great quality produce, simply prepared. Would definitely recommend it.
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Jul 31st, 2007, 06:18 AM
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hanl, thanks for posting that. Margriet and I were discussing the notion of dining there at Christmas, and it's good to hear that someone else enjoyed it.

robjame, I couldn't tell the difference between the Paris lentils and the ones we get locally at Pete's. Both are "lentilles du puy", but one was AOC and the other wasn't. (By the way, Canadians of a certain age may remember cheeky Pete Luckett flirting with charming Valerie Pringle on television years ago. At that time he ran a fruit and vegetable stall in Saint John and she was the host of a noon television program. He subsequently opened the successful Pete's Frootiques in Bedford and Halifax; he's a very clever marketer.)

It strikes me that in certain cases the AOC designation may be as much of a curse as a benefit. The French have significantly altered their wine marketing North America, creating snappy labels and punning names, and putting the name of the grape(s) on the front label. By contrast, the fellow who produces "Sablet Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC" is pretty much restricted to a front label that says just that. If you want a Sablet, that's perfect; you'll get what you expected. If you know less about wine and are dropping by the liquor store on your way to a dinner party, the bottle with a bright orange label, a drawing of a cat riding a tricycle, and the words "Cabernet Sauvignon" on the label is more likely to sell than the odd-sounding AOC variety.

I'm looking forward to meeting you at the Toronto GTG. Margriet is supposed to be working then, but ... I wonder ...

Anselm
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