Alarms rang bright and early this morning as the PaceDocs team boarded the bus for a 7:20 a.m. call time.
The local markets of Chateau Thierry, located in the breathtaking Champagne region of France, open at dawn. This is a gold mine for the area’s chefs to pick the best produce and products for the night’s routine dinner service. The crew was introduced to Chef David Dubus and had the opportunity to shadow his morning market shopping.
A small crowd occupied a single street in the town where less than twenty vendors were set up. The market had a wide variety of products available for purchase, from vintage clothing items to fresh flowers. The team, however, narrowed their focus to the select food stations that Chef David visited.
Donning a New York Yankees hat, Chef David searched throughout the market, purchasing fresh vegetables and meats for his restaurant. Upon stopping at a poultry food truck, the team interviewed the farm’s owner. She raises rabbits, pigs, and chickens to sell to the local area. Everything from the farm is produced by themselves, including the grain that the chickens feed on. The farm locally sources to markets and select supermarkets.
Chef David led the crew to his restaurant after finishing up at the market. Splitting up into small groups, the chefs at La Symphonie des Saisons invited the students into the kitchen for a hands-on cooking experience. Each group was in charge of a course; an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. During the cooking lessons, the team caught incredible behind-the-scenes shots of the reality of working in an industrial kitchen and became familiar with the local French cuisine.
Keeping to the theme of local Champagne regional farms, the team’s next filming location was at Caprices de Sidonie farm. This farm had everything! Caprices has been passed down through four generations of family members and continue to raise healthy and happy animals and fresh wheat and grain. From pasta making to caring for over 70 cows, the family at Caprice does it all.
The farm’s owner offered the team some insight into the history of his family’s farm. He has grown up on the grounds for the past 33 years and hopes to one day pass along that same responsibility to his children.
“I grew up in happiness”, he says after we asked what life was like growing up at Caprices.
The family values centered around nature and sustaining local products to benefit the surrounding area. In 1990, the farm began to sell its products such as honey and pasta to locals.
The farmer notes, “When you eat local, you are helping the small business”.
Purchasing food from a small local business eliminates the food being passed on through multiple distribution processes. Cutting out the middle man, not only grants the customer fresher food but saves both the distributor and consumer money.
In the future, the farmer wishes to pass down the family’s grounds to his 3 daughters. The young girls are passionate about the farm’s livestock and are curious about their family’s significant impact on the local area.
One final bus ride took the crew to Champagne Meteyer for a champagne-tasting and enthralling history lesson. A ground staff member gave a captivating presentation regarding the history of the company along with the champagne-making process.
The 162-year-old vineyard has won a handful of notable accolades and produces delicious champagne. All the work completed to accomplish the bottles of perfect on done on the grounds such as growing the grapes, harvesting, juicing, and bottling.
While the team settled into the art gallery near the stock cellar for their tasting, they were served by the owner’s wife and young daughter. The little girl carried herself as though she was a seasoned waitress and politely passed out the crew’s hors d’oeuvres.
Similar to the Caprice farm and many other establishments the team has visited during their visit, family and the passage of heritage are vital in France. These local businesses and farms rely on their families and food to continue the history and preservation of their hard work and a lasting memory.
The fact of the matter is, tomorrow morning, the PaceDocs crew will say goodbye to Laon and bonjour to Paris!
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