Sunday, 29 September 2013

Savory Sunday: Beer, Books, and Flying Snake Women



Recently, I sampled a few local beers : Mélusine, Blanche Ecume, Love & Flowers, and Puy d’Enfer. Each had their own personality with eye-catching labels that made it feel like I was looking at book covers. Plus, the larger bottles (75cl) were corked a bit like champagne bottles which was fun.





Anyway, of the four I drank sampled, the one I preferred was Mélusine. It’s a dry beer with a 6.5% alcohol content and is the kind that tastes great on a hot summer day.












The second one I tasted was the Blanche Ecume. Despite its bronze medal win in Paris last year, the Blanche Ecume (4.2%) was just ok in my opinion. It was a little weaker in taste compared to Mélusine but not bad.















After that, I tasted Love & Flowers (4.2%). From the label alone, this beer certainly targets a more feminine palate. I was curious about this beer because on the back of the bottle it says it's flavoured with flower petals and hops. And indeed, it did have a subtle rose flower aroma to it. But, the taste doesn’t last in your mouth, and I like beers that tickle my tongue and linger in my mouth a bit. 













Then, I tried Puy d’Enfer that had the highest alcohol content, 8.5%. This one I did not like at all. Blaeeeah. It was really bitter with a strong taste of hops. It was like licking a thorn bush. The word ‘Enfer’ translates to Hell, so the label was aptly chosen. This beer did indeed taste like Hell. 




 ANYWAY, what was interesting about all these beers besides taste, is that they are made by the same brewery: Mélusine. And even MORE interesting, is in the European literary world, Mélusine (which rhymes with magazine) refers to a mythical creature described in many legends. There are different variations of Mélusine but she is usually depicted as a fairy, mystical female spirit or a kind of half-human half-serpent creature. 

The first literary version of Mélisine was written in the late 1300's by Jean d'Arras, a French poet and composer. The story basically tells the tale of a man named Raymond of Poitou (a real province in France) who meets a woman named Mélusine in a forest. He falls in love with her and asks her to marry him. She says yes, under one condition, he must never enter her chamber on a Saturday. He agrees and keeps his promise (for a while). They go on to have a family and their lives prosper, until the day he breaks his promise and sees her in her true form: part woman, part serpent. After that he calls her names, she turns into a dragon, and all hell breaks loose (I'm simplifying just a tad, can't you tell?)

Anyway a while back, friends of ours offered my kids a book about Mélusine. This children's version is called, The Fairy Mélusine talks about the region we live in.





In this book, poor Raymond meets beautiful Mélusine in the forest. She sees in him a good man and asks him to marry her. She tells him she has the power to make him a wealthy man under one condition, he must never disturb her in her chamber on Saturdays. He agrees.



Soon after they are married, she uses her power to create castles and churches throughout the region (all of which are real places that can be visited today.)





They live in a beautiful castle in a kingdom that prospers, have a large family, and everything is perfect until. . . curiosity gets the better of Raymond. 

One Saturday, he peeks through a hole in the door and sees Mélusine in her true form; part woman, part serpent.





Turns out, Mélusine is cursed and Raymond's betrayal condemns her to grow wings and leave the kingdom forever. 


Little by little, all the kingdoms she created fall into ruin.



Moral of this story is: 
Respect a woman's privacy else you lose all your shit. 

Cheers 
And Happy Sunday.

53 comments:

  1. Moral duly noted!
    What's the price differences in the beers? Was the best one the most expensive? Although at 8.5%, I doubt the last one was the cheapest.

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    1. Good question, Alex. Unfortunately I can't give you a simple answer. You can order these beers on various websites and their price ranges from 1.90 - 5 E€. I did see the Puy d'Enfer selling for 4.70€, but it comes in a 75cl bottle...still it's expensive.

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  2. Personally not a beer drinker. I like very weak, light, American beers and that's it. The only beer I remember from what we used to call "The Continent" was the Belgian Stella Artois which I didn't mind either. In France, once I was old enough, I used to drink wine. I used to like the Stella ads, "Excusez le, il est aller boire un Stella Artois" - My French is a bit rusty, but I am sure you knew those ads too.

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    1. There are a lot of really good Stella ads, some really romantic ones too, but I don't remember the one you mentioned. I'm going to have to google it and see if I can find it. Stella is a good beer. (:

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  3. Not really a beer drinker, but I liked some of the labels, I really enjoyed the fairy tale. and the moral Brilliant!!!

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    1. Some of the labels are like mini art works, really beautiful and creative. Glad you liked he moral. :D

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  4. If you need some help getting through all that beer let me know, I'd be happy to help out and wouldn't even charge for my services.

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    1. You're so kind!
      *hands over virtual glass*
      Cheers! (:

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  5. I'll have to pass the beer info onto the hubster. He's a beer maniac.
    The moral of the story is hilarious and of course absolutely true!

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    1. Not sure he'll be able to find this particular beer over on your side of the big pond, but glad you liked the moral! :D

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  6. Bwa-ha-ha!! I DO love the moral of that story.
    I'm afraid beer is not my thing ... or wine either. Can hardly tell a good one from a bad one.
    However, I know good VODKA when I drink it!

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    1. Oooo, Vodka.... I've had bad experiences with vodka, lol! So I would definitely need your input on that. :D

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  7. They have beer for everything it seems, lol I will keep that moral in mind

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    1. You do that and everything will be fine at your mat. (;

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  8. I loved your wrapup at the end! Neat little story and one I've never heard. Thanks for sharing. Not a happily ever after tale and we need a few of those too - consequences are real...
    As for the beer, interesting that they cork it, but perhaps that makes it taste better. We have a few of those micro breweries in Vancouver, too.

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    1. Yes, I agree with you about having too many Disney type endings....it suddenly makes the story more real, or poignant in a sense.
      I'm not sure if corking the beer makes it taste any better, but it is fun to open. I bet Vancouver has some great micro breweries.......

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  9. LOVE that story!! Both versions. It's fantastical. ^_^
    Not a bear drinker. I've had two sips my entire life, two different times. I'm a fruity cocktail girl. Or just fruit. Lol!

    Thanks for sharing that story. A true fairy tale. ^_^ I can see the possibilities for an adaption already!

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    1. I really like that story too. There's a lot of inspiration that can be gained from old legends and tales. And I agree, this one could make for a great modern story. (:

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  10. Here in the UK your fruity French beers would be run out of town with pitchforks and burning torches and most likely the Euro tunnel would be filled in to stop them sneaking back in.

    mood

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    1. I would gladly hand out the pitchforks and light the torches. I think the worst thing the French do to their beers is add flavors like peach syrup to them. There should be laws against that.

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  11. That's a fabulous moral--one of the morals I approve of most heartily. People would do well to take it more seriously.

    Great little children's book and fairy tale! Thanks for sharing this. ;)

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    1. Haha, I think the moral fits pretty well too. :D Thanks for stopping in, Cathy.

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  12. LOL Now that's a moral, if I ever heard one!

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    1. :D Yup, I'm sure that's exactly what the author intended. (;

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  13. LOL - Love it!

    After hosting the blogfest, I could really use a beer. :P

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  14. Love the story, and I love that they made a children's book that tied it into the local area. How cool is that.

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    1. I like that aspect too, and so did the kids, made the whole story more believable.

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  15. I definitely think the moral of the story is very important! lol! Very interesting tale :)

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    1. Thanks Meradeth, it's one people can draw inspiration from. (:

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  16. Hi, Elise,
    Have you ever had Red Stripe Beer?
    I love your twist on the moral of the Melusine story. ;)

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    1. No I haven't tried it, but I'd love to. I think I'm going to start a running list of beers to try. I’ll call it my ‘to be drunk’ list. Hope it doesn't get as big as my 'to be read' list. (:

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  17. Best review of beers ever. I love how you explained everything including the label and what it might mean. Don't ever doubt yourself as a writer. "It was like licking a thorn bush" is a brilliant description.

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    1. Lol! I must have been a little tipsy while writing this. (;

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  18. Respecting anybody's privacy is a good rule of thumb. Have you tried Angry Orchard ale?

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    1. Agreed, privacy for all. And no, I have not tried Angry Orhard ale, but it's going on my 'to be drunk' list. Thanks for the suggestion. (:

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  19. Well, I think the moral is a good lesson to learn!

    I liked the dog versions of the characters in your book. It reminded me a bit of Dogtanian and the Muskethounds.

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    1. I never saw Dogtanian and the Muskethounds, but I googled it and see the resemblance. I need to show this to my kids. (:

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  20. Bonjour n'stuff, Elise,

    Anyway, even though I'm exhausted, I shall do my best to leave you some semblance of a comment. Anyway, I thought you were under legal drinking age in France. The moral of the story seems like some lost shit happening. For a moment there, I thought the story was about my ex-wife.

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    1. Gary, you need to get back on a more natural sleep cycle. I enjoy your comments, but I'd preferred you get some rest and take care of yourself. I hope you have/had sweet dreams, sans the ex...(:

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  21. You crack me up. Every good tail...oops I mean tale...has an excellent moral.

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  22. Very insightful! lol. I tell you, we're never satisfied with perfection! Well told boozefest and the tale.:)

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    1. It does look like a boozefest doesn't it!? :D

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  23. LOL! I love the moral of the story. AND the beer recs. AND the fairy tale. Basically, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I also feel like there's a novel in there somewhere, somehow... some kind of Melusine retelling?

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    1. I know! I can totally see someone rebooting this legend into a more modern version...that would be cool. (:

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  24. Hi Elise .. what a fun story .. all of it together - thoroughly enjoyed reading it - the beers drew me - where's my beer??!! Interesting to be told about your area ... good way to teach the kids - andyes don't mess with my beauty sleep - who knows what will crawl out! Cheers Hilary

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  25. concur with your beer choices - neat tale... and fairytale :)

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  26. I like hoppy beers (IPAs, etc.) because they smell (and sometimes taste) like flowers. :) But it's definitely an acquired taste as most can be pretty bitter, especially at the tail end.

    This is the kind of experiment and investigative blog reporting I can really get behind btw! :D

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