Jacques Puisais, renowned master of wine, gastronomy and taste made much more than an appearance at NuNu’s Cafe in Arnaudville this afternoon. While the all-female group Bonsoir, Catin cranked out some slammin’ Cajun tunes, and guests sat engulfing an astounding grits brunch bar featuring grillades, gumbo, rice, crawfish etouffee, sausage, and a bloody Mary bar, Monsieur Puisais sat in a back corner tasting, sipping, and note taking to prepare for his food and wine pairing (and appreciating) to follow.
Approximately two and a half hours later, Jacques Puisais (Vice President of l’Institut du Gout), accompanied by his interpreter Debbie de la Houssaye from the French Consulate in New Orleans, unleashed a philosophical and poetic explanation of how to taste. Describing it as a theatre, where the food is the wet thespian awaiting the union with his dry love (wine + food), noting what to look for when pairing the two, as well as that food should not be swallowed without first tasting it. Your food has character, or rather is a character. And it would just go down disappointed if you swallowed it without even acknowledging its existence and place in this world. Eat and drink with feeling. See it. Smell it. Taste it. Take pleasure in it. Swallow it. Be happy.
These days, we just rush through life without taking notice of what’s around us, what we’re putting into our bodies… the instruments that keep us going through life. My grandmother recently reminded me to slow down, noting that a heart attack knows no age. Point taken, Nana… and Jacques Puisais.
Slow down. Enjoy it. And… Bon Appetit.
June 19: “The Art of Tasting” at Restaurant Melange, Ritz-Carlton