Mexican wines.

When I came for the first time in Mexico, I discovered that this country does produce wine. I had to try some. What a nice surprise. Why is that, that nobody knows about Mexican wines ?13319876_10209527020161851_9060591691537966777_n-1

I always look for a French wine when I travel. But one evening, the Headwaiter of ” La China Poblana” in Puebla was sorry as the restaurant was out of French wines. He recomanded that I should try a bottle of Mexican wine, and I am so pleased I did.

The history of Mexican wine production begins in the 1500s, when Hernan Cortes and his conquistadors exhausted their supply of wine while overthrowing the Aztecs. He ordered the colonists to plant 1000 grapevines for every 100 native “employees. The Spanish conquistadors had vines brought over for religious mass, and more likely, wash down their food. With failed attempts to grow grapes in the more tropical regions of Mexico, the first grapes, known as Criolla (the mission grape of California and the Pais grape of Chile), were successfully planted in the Parras Valley of Coahuila. Growing in Puebla and Zacatecas soon followed. The first Mexican wine estate, Casa Madero, was founded in 1597 by Lorenzo Garcia in Santa Maria de los Parras in Coahuila and still exists.

After Mexico’s War of Reform in 1857, all of the Catholic land holdings, and the vineyards, were seized by the government and became property of the state. These were then sold to a private group of investors who to this day operate as the Bodegas Santo Tomas.

Prestige wine production in Mexico, began in the 1980s with the promotion of modern techniques. Many of the grapes grown are of either French or Spanish origin. The main grapes for reds are Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Carignan, Grenache, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo. Whites are Chardonnay, Chasselas, Chenin Blanc, Macabeo, Moscatel, Palomino, Riesling, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Mexico is divided into these subregions:
*Baja California (which includes Valle Guadalupe)
The Baja valleys can hardly keep up with domestic demand. Wine consumption has doubled in the past 10 years, though Mexicans drink double the amount of imported wine that they do domestic. Baja wine producers ship mostly to Mexico City, Monterrey, and Cancún.
In the 1980s, the Mexican government removed trade barriers that had kept imported wines out, which threatened to shutter small Mexican wineries.
But ultimately, the move put pressure on them to create better quality wines to compete with foreign imports.

Restaurant “Le Chantefable” in Paris.

Located in the district of the 20th arrondissement of Paris, you can find the French bistro Le Chantefable.This Bistrot will welcome you in a peaceful and warm setting in a retro and woody style décor.

During the beautiful days, you will for sure enjoy the terrace and spend a meal under the sun.
Really pleasant staff are welcoming you and for your plates, the chef showcases the French cuisine by drawing on the large gastronomic tables while adding a zest of his personality.

I ordered a very typical Harreng with a potatoe salad that was very very nice. The Duck confit was extremely good as well and my Creme Brulee was to die for. All the other dishes we had there were so good as well.

The Chantefable also has a wine rich menu that will appeal to sommeliers and wine lovers alike. We picked up a cheap one, Chateau Clement Termes and it was extremely nice.
With friends or family, it’s the perfect place to feast on good, rich and tasty dishes.
The good humour and warmth of a typical French bistrot are at the rendez-vous and warm the atmosphere in this friendly place. Cherry on the cake, dinner for three for around 100 euros, wine included.

The is where to go if you wish to do like the French and enjoy a really awesome dinner.

Retired in Mexico, Riviera Maya.

How is it really ?

Well it is amazing to live here where the sun, the sea, the sites and monuments are surrounding you every day. The people are great and racism does not exist here. Still you must respect the rules and the population. It is fantastic to share the life of these people who are happy with so little. Always ready to help and advise you as well as explaining things and how to make your life easier. Of course I am a resident and not a tourist. It is very bad to see how some of them are not giving any respect to the locals and they believe the Mexican are at their disposal.

Anyway, for my part , in Cancun, I am retired and my small French pension is multiplied by 24 so in fact I make enough good money to live here. My partner and I are renting a new two floors, two bedrooms house with a patio in the back where my Orchids grow, for 4000 pesos. That is less than 170 euros or 220 usd per month and for that price, we are far from the center in a popular zone. All our neighbors are so nice and here they all say Hi to everybody. Water, gas or electricity is so affordable as well. Health care is nothing compair with the years I was living in the US.

Foodwise, from very cheap to very expensive, you find nearly everything. All foods are fresh and at home or in a restaurant, you always enjoy your meals. Most of the tourist believe that you only find Tacos, Burritos, Guacamole and Pico de Gallo but this is not only what the Mexican cuisine is. There is a lot lot more and it is easy to find very elaborated dishes. You just have to try. We go out so often and always try to go to a new place. International restaurants are ready to welcome you as well and for all kind of budget.

Regarding what to do, the beach of course but so many cultural sites and beautiful cities full of historical buildings. It is always very colorfull and that shows you why Mexicans are so joyfull all year long. At the moment of course, we all wear masks and this is mandatory even outside. Please note that in a bar or a restaurant you always tip 10 per cent minimum. There are many affordable houses to rent for vacations or small hotels and if you can avoid the huge all-inclusive resorts, you will be abble to appreciate a wonderfull country, stunnind people and great culture. Even notice than I am always delighted soon I see Mariachis, they are the soul of Mexico.

Joy everyday is my new life since 2015, no regrets no turning back just enjoying.

Divine Mister Dumpling restaurant in Cancun.

For few years we have been looking for an Asian restaurant that could offer us a nice variety of Dumplings. It is with such a pleasure that we found “Mister Dumpling”.

This new restaurant is not big and it gives you the choice of getting your table inside or outside. Nice place to park just infront of it at Plazza Fontana.

The staff will welcome you warmly and will esplain all the different dishes to you if you need. They offer other things that dumplings but we went there for those small delights.

We ordered two mixed plates with 16 pieces each and really this was stunning. I even order a plate of 4 redsauce one extra and it was a dream. Nice small selection of Mexican wines and I found myself so happy.

What a surprise when we discovered that for dessert, they made Chocolate dumplings with a light caramel sauce. We enjoyed this so so much.

We went bad and invited some friends to join us and all of them said the same thing : Delicious.

For sure this is oour new spot in town.

“La Brioche” in Cancun.

This is the Cancun version of this very nice Boulangerie from Playa del Carmen where they have 2 boutiques.

So you can go there to buy some French bread or Pastries. Croissants , brioche and pain au chocolat are waiting for you as well as some Quiche etc…

I had a pleasant Parisian breakfast and warm croissants arrived with my double expresso, The server installed a table outdoor for me. The service was very friendly as it should be and the place was very busy. The pastries are awesome and this is where I can get my favorite: the Paris-Brest.

It is quite small, and you will find La Brioche accross the street from Costco. Enjoy…

A very good and very bad experience with TAP Air Portugal.

TAP Air Portugal is a new airline that flies from Cancun to Europe. Last July I needed to go back to France and I have been searching for a good deal to go from Cancun to Paris. I founded a ticket with TAP, round trip for a bit less than a thousand euros in business class. I decided to buy that ticket as Airfrance was offering at the same dates, a roundtrip for 1580 euros in Economy.

New Airbus 330-900

I was very excited as I did see, that all the flights were in new airplanes like the Airbus 330-900 for the transatlantic flights and the new Airbus 321 Neo between Lisbon and Paris Orly.

I arrived the day of the departure, 2 hours ahead as it takes time to go through security and Covid control. No text of message received to let me know that the flight is late by 4 hours. I was told at the airport and was not very happy but had no other choice.

The cabin is beautiful and Business class is extremely confortable. At that point, I forgot the extra 4 hours to wait. The staff onboard was very very nice and smilling. The food was very nice. You get better in many airlines but I was not expecting a 3 star Michelin cuisine, so eveything was fine. I had the chance to discover some beautiful Portuguese wine. After a very good sleep, we finally had some nice breakfast and a moment atfer, a hostess told me the details regarding my connecting flight to Paris. We landed nicelly at Lisbon airport and I went to the lounge waiting for my other part of the trip.

Again, very nice staff, good foods in a new cabin that was very welcoming. There we are I am in Paris, But, like other few people, my luggage was not delivered. We all left our phone numbers, addresses and description of the bags. I was staying at my sister’s and her house is at 15 kilometers away. It took 5 days to deliver my suitcase. Of course I had to purchase a few clothes and other things. TAP did promise to pay me back.

My return flight was on a saturday. I registered my bag and when to the boarding room behind the security controls. Good, my flight is on time says the information screen The flight from Paris to Lisbon was due at 12h30 and about 20 minutes before I found strange that they did not call for boarding. Quick look at the screen where I see that the flight will be at 15h30 and a bit later at 16h30, before it was no longer on the screen. My flight desapeared…

I then left the zone and went to the TAP counter, but like around 50 other people that told me they have been there for 3 hours. It really was a big Chaos. The reason was that the airport staff at Lisbon ( not TAP staff) decided to go on strike untill Sunday night. So I returned at my sister’s and I have been abble to enjoy my family a bit more. I received a message saying that my flight to Lisbon is due on the following Monday at 10h00. When I was checking my suitcase, I ask to the Hostess if she knew anything about my connecting flight to Cancun. She said no, but I will for sure be advise at Lisbon airport. Ok, I went under control and here I am onboard for that very pleasant flight with some nice meal and wine. At Lisbon I was told to go to the Premium Information office. Oh boy, these are 50 or 60 people already waiting and said they have been there for around 4 hours. After 7 hours waiting, a person told me that my connection flight is planed on the following Thursday. They were not abble to provide me a hotel or my meals. I had to pay and they will reimburse me after I give them the bills. I was exhausted and really furious. Why did they make go to Lisbon on Monday to take a connecting flight on Thursday? This make no sense they have few flights between the 2 cities per day, so I could go on Thursday or lets say Wednesday. The customer service at this airline sucks.

On that Thursday, I enjoyed a nice flight back to Cancun and I had a good sleep in my home.

I sent to TAP, copies of the bills and setailed my complain. A few days after, they offered my a voucher for a futur flight with them and it was valid for a year. So I replied to the lady who sent me that email saying : I hope that after this disaster of experience flying with you, you do not believe that I will fly with you again “. She then offered to wire the money to my account and today I am waiting !

The flights were awesome but the ground problems were so chaotic and with no respect of the customer that certainly, I will not try TAP again and I regret that.