by Fred McMillin
for April 1, 1998
On April 1,1755 the little town of Belley (bay-yeah) northeast of Lyon saw the birth of the greatest gastronome the world has ever known: Brillat-Savarin.
...Curnonsky in "Traditional Recipes of the Provinces of France"
In his grand "The Physiology of Taste," Savarin lovingly describes their dinners.
Since English translations starting in 1883 were done in a stilted French syntax, the late M.F.K. Fisher was commissioned in 1949 to do a new translation, which captured the spirit of the tome delightfully.
...Dr. Paul Scholten, San Francisco
I had a dream. Five years ago I sat next to M.F.K. Fisher during dinner and her remarks were priceless. My dream is that I could sit next to Savarin at one of HIS dinners. The conversation would have been sensational.
APRIL FOOL! One of Savarin's peers wrote: "He was extremely tall with a heavy tread. He spoke seldom and ate a lot." So much for my dream of a sparkling conversation. Apparently there would have been a shortage of words, but not of wine. Anne Drayton writes, "In Paris every year on his name-day he treated his guests to a wine from his native province brought specially in a barrel on the back of his old mare Babet." Hence, my April 1st toast to the great gourmet will be made with a grape that rose to fame in Southeastern France, as did Savarin, the Syrah.
'95 Syrah, San Lucas District, Monterey County
I have stood in front of the handsome, three-story house at 62 Grande Rue in Belley, birthplace of Savarin. Through the graceful arched porticos, one could almost hear the echo of his memorable aphorisms, such as "A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine." (N. Wemyss, "Soul of the Vine")
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