How we got on “bisous-terms” at our favorite fromagerie

This Tuesday, we are holding are second Student Wine Tasting for Summer 2011! The first, a French Wine Tasting, took place last Wednesday with 12 students eager to taste and learn. We will build on that fundamental wine tasting foundation this week with a Cheese and Wine Pairing Night. It will feature 5 delicious cheeses perfectly paired with 5 quality French wines- everything from rosé to white to red, and even a champagne and a dessert wine!

The cheeses are handpicked from our favorite fromagerie in Aix, called Savelli. It is owned by a couple, Monsieur and Madame Savelli, who are both originally from Corsica but have been merchants of fine cheeses in Provence for years. And WineinProvence has been dedicated to fostering a good working relationship with these passionate cheese people who we visit in their shop no less than 3 times a week. But like most things in France, things move at a snail’s pace and getting on a first name basis with someone is a huge feat that takes YEARS!

In the beginning, Monsieur Savelli would not even smile at us when we greeted him with a friendly Bonjour! entering his fromagerie. Madame Savelli glared at us coldly when we brought 2 to 4 clients into the shop to explain the wonders of French cheese making. Slowly, as we persisted with courteousness towards them and displayed profound interest in their cheese, on top of bringing an abundance of business to them, the Savelli’s softened to us.

However, it wasn’t until an advantageous evening when Hilary was out to dinner with her husband that tipped the scales forever in our favor. Hilary happened to be sat at a table directly next to the Savelli’s and like at most French bistros, the tables were separated by a few mere centimeters. Needless to say, it was hard for the couples to ignore each other throughout the meal. Then, Hilary noticed that the cheese course at this establishment was featuring cheese from Fromagerie Savelli! So, she does what any wise, business-minded individual would do at such a providential moment; she proceeds to shower accolades of very audible admiration of the serene gastronomic bliss she experienced while eating said cheese plate. The Savelli’s were smitten.

Ever since, we are welcomed warmly to their fromagerie and are even given the coveted bisous (a kiss on each cheese), which is the sign of fondest greeting between close acquaintances or friends in France. Hilary likes to call this, “being on bisous-terms” with someone. Once you are on bisous-terms with a neighbor, a shopkeeper, a market vendor- you feel like you are truly accepted in the community and everything is smooth sailing for then on. Nowadays in Fromagerie Savelli, we exchange pleasantries and useful cheese and wine information, as well as amicable gifts from both parties. Without a doubt, professional relationships run deep in France, but once formed, they are invaluable. WineinProvence could have never asked for two more gracious people to provide us with the finest cheese products France has to offer.