COVID-19 Effects on France’s Drinks & Food Businesses – Part. 2/2

Hello Cocktail Lovers,

We continue to explore how the COVID-19 virus and resulting travel restrictions have affected cocktail, spirits, wine and food related industries in France. In Part 2 of our COVID-19 special, I have interviewed another twelve professionals in the industry from all over France to find out what they are going through at the moment.

Professionals featured on the show:

Lucy Vanel of Plum Lyon

Lucy Vanel is the founder of Plum Lyon Teaching Kitchen, which welcomes students to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Located in the ancient silk-worker’s district on the hill of the Croix Rousse, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Plum Lyon offers seasonal market classes, classic French cooking, children’s workshops, and single subject ateliers that cover a chosen technique or theme in French cuisine. 

Follow along on for delicious food on Instagram Plum Lyon or visit her blog, Lucy’s Kitchen Notebook where she’ll also be spending some writing time during the COVID-19 confinement.

Paris Cocktail Talk: Tribute to New Orleans
Jennifer Greco, Gourmet Food & Wine Tour Guide and Cheese Expert, Chez Loulou

Jennifer Greco is a life-long Francophile and French food and wine enthusiast, with a particular passion for cheese. After moving to the south of France 17 years ago, she has slowly and steadily been tasting her way through the cheeses produced in France, a project that started one day on a whim and has developed into a full-fledged infatuation. To date, she has tasted just under 400 of the approximately 1500.

Jennifer is now based in Paris where she leads gourmet food and wine tours, and guides fellow fromage enthusiasts at small group tastings both privately and with Paris by Mouth. In her spare time she writes about regional French cheeses on her blog, Chez Loulou, and for a handful of publications, and is studying to earn a French Wine Scholar certificate. 

Also, Jennifer and I are working together on a Cocktails & Cheese project and you can follow along on that here.  She has also been a guest of the show previously for a Tribute to New Orleans show.

Preston Mohr of Chateau de Pommard

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Preston Mohr first came to Paris to complete his studies in art history. He has now lived in France for over 15 years and holds a Diploma in Wines & Spirits from WSET as well as a Masters in Hospitality and Tourism Management. In 2011, he founded Paris By The Glass providing services as a wine educator and tour guide for visitors who would like to dig below the surface of French wine and gastronomy. Starting this year, Preston has taken on a new role in sales and business development for the Château de Pommard.

During COVID-19 confinement he is doing virtual wine tastings. Take advantage of them now while the STAYATHOME discount code means they are free (they will be approximately 30 Euros in the future) 

Also, he shared a little advance news about their project, VIVANT, which is moving ahead of schedule because of the COVID-19 conditions (lucky us!)

He has also been a guest on the Paris Cocktail Talk show to share his knowledge about pairing wine and cheese as well as another episode where we explore whether or not France is really at the top of the wine world

Emily Dilling of Paris Paysanne

Emily Dilling is originally from California, and has called France home for the last fourteen years. A writer who is passionate about food and the people who grow and make it, she runs Paris Paysanne, a blog dedicated to discovering Paris markets and French terroir. She can often be found exploring Paris’s craft coffee, beer, and food scene, tasting wine and making beer in the Loire, or growing tomatoes in her garden. 

She was previously a guest on Paris Cocktail Talk when she joined us to talk about the inspiration behind her book My Paris Market Cookbook and how she incorporated her take on the Paris natural wine, craft beer and cocktail scenes into it. 

We will hopefully be working on a new COVID-19 episode together to come out after this on how the virus and resulting confinement as affected rural France, so stay tuned for that.

Thierry Daniel and Eric Fossard, Liquid Liquid, Paris Cocktail Week and Cocktail Spirits
Credit : Philippe Levy

Eric Fossard and Thierry Daniel, of the agency Liquid Liquid, created the professional salon Cocktails Spirits Paris in 2007 and launched Paris Cocktail Week in 2015 to give the general public access to cocktail culture, in an environment and manner that is as exciting and enthusiastic as that found at Cocktail Spirits (a must for any respectable industry pro).

They travel 6 months a year to experience, feel, meet and drink. They know the industry from back to front. In short, they are consumed by it, love it. The duo has been working behind the scenes for years to promote the French cocktail scene – to great success!

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting confinement, Cocktails Spirits has been postponed until later in the year and promises plenty of support for the cocktail and spirits community.

Brittini Rae and Joseph Biolatto of The Nice Company

Brittini Rae and Joseph Biolatto were well established on the Paris Cocktail Scene before opening The Nice Company, the first clear ice producing company in Paris to cater specifically to the craft cocktail community. Founded for bartenders, by bartenders, they work with clients to cut ice perfectly designed for their bar, restaurant, hotel, or event. As their site aptly puts it “We don’t sell ice,we sell time.”

Alexandre Gabriel of Maison Ferrand, Plantation Rum and Citadelle Gin

Alexandre Gabriel was born and raised in France, on a farm in southern Burgundy, where his grandfather taught him how to make wine and distill spirits. In 1989, Alexandre came upon an ancient Cognac house and built it into what is known today as Maison Ferrand, in the heart of the Grande Champagne area of Cognac. Through his passion and vision, Alexandre turned the small Cognac House into one of the greatest specialists of artisanal spirits today, producing an award- winning portfolio of sought-after brands – Ferrand Cognac, 100% Grande Champagne Cognac, Citadelle Gin, the first artisanal French gin, since 1996, Plantation Rum and Mathilde Liqueurs. Of the spirits he produces, Alexandre says he thinks of them as “aromatic sculptures” or “gastronomic paintings” and to him they are not merely products, but the perfect embodiment of history, emotions and experience. 

In 2017, Alexandre received the prestigious “Outstanding Contribution to Distilling” Award from the American Distilling Institute, the first time in the history of the award that it was presented to an individual. 

Benoît Hillion of Maison Dartigalongue 

Benoît Hillion, has been running the Armagnac house Dartigalongue for the past eight years. The Dartigalongue family has been passing their passion and know-how for Armagnac from generation to generation since 1838. Benoît appreciates the strength and importance of this family heritage and its history while also keeping an eye to the future. 

Dartigalongue has recently created a selection of Armagnac specifically geared towards bartenders’ needs for cocktails. These artisanal distillations are fruity and higher proof to give more intensity. 

Meg Zimbeck of Paris by Mouth

Meg Zimbeck is the founder of Paris by Mouth, one of the most influential and informative sites when it comes to where and what to eat in Paris. They not only provide reliable, independent, self-funded restaurant reviews, but they have become the gold standard for food & wine tours in the French capital. They’ve been celebrated twice in The New York Times, making their cut for what to do with 36 Hours on the Left Bank. They’ve led tours for food & travel heros like David Lebovitz, Ruth Reichl, Dorie Greenspan and Rick Steves, but they’re most proud of the feedback that our clients give on TripAdvisor. Head over there to read more than 2,000 joyful reviews that have made them the #1 Food Activity in Paris.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, they have fully refunded all clients for cancelled tours due to the travel restrictions and have created a page where people who have or where planning to take a tour can tip their guides who are out of work as a result of the confinements. They’ll be matching these tips as well!

They also have some great articles on the site about how COVID-19 is affecting the city’s food and dicing scene.

Mat Sabbagh of Alambic Bourguignon

Mat Sabbagh is the owner of Alambic Bourguignon, Craft Distillery in the heart of burgundy distilling all wine products from the best vineyards of Bourgogne and producing pomace, fine and brandy from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

If you want to shop for spirits, check out his line of SAB’s spirits at their online shop.

Aurélie Panhelleux, Elfi Fabritius and Julien Lopez, CopperBay Paris & Marseille

Aurélie Panhelleux is co-owner of CopperBay, along with Elfi Fabritius and Julien Lopez. Their bars were born out of the desire to be transported to a space where you can indulge in the sweet reverie of the sun-drenched beaches and marine reflections, CopperBay oscillates between the saloon of the sailboat and the bar of the yacht club. The open space, the turquoise and marine blue tones, the ropes recall aperitifs with friends taken in a cove on summer evenings. Copper and wood, warm and precious, underline the exceptional sharp and magical beverages created each season by the team. The menu of cocktails, natural wines and delicious snacks make it a unique place where everyone will find their bright and friendly moment in contrast to the rather dark and muffled speakeasy.

Stop in for a visit following the COVID-19 confinement as they’ll be launching a new cocktail menu then.

Being Black and Female in Booze Industry
Tanish Townsend of Girl Meets Glass

Tanisha Townsend is the Chief Wine Officer of Girl Meets Glass, a wine lifestyle and education agency. She currently lives in Paris, France where she creates wine and food pairing experiences for expats and tourists, hosts a wine podcast named Wine School Dropout, and teaches wine courses at universities in Paris.  Insightful and educational, GirlMeetsGlass is the English speaker’s anchor lady in the beating heart of the French capital. She holds the WSET Level 3, Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Specialist of Spirits and French Wine Scholar certifications. 

Through Girl Meets Glass, she wears many wine-related hats: of Girl Meets Glass wears many hats: Professor. Podcast Hostess. Speaker. Tour Guide. Wine Judge.Wineaux. 

Also, for more listening fun to entertain you during COVID-19 confinement, Tanisha also has a wine podcast: Wine School Drop Out

Cocktail of the Episode

Sidecar Cocktail

Recipe by Joaquín Simó

60ml Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, preferably
20ml Curaçao, preferably Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
20ml ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon rich demerara syrup (2:1, sugar:water)

Shake with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, express orange peel over drink and (optionally) drop in twist as a garnish.

Read more about the Sidecar Cocktail and what cheese pairs best with it in our Cocktails & Cheese series.

Thanks to….

Thanks to all of my guests.

Thanks to Son Little for music.

As always, thank you cocktail-loving listeners for tuning in our downloading.  

Don’t forget to drink responsibly!

More 52 Martinis:

If you’re looking for more cocktail and drinks talk between shows, head to our site, www.52martinis.com. And if you’d like to carry me around in your pocket, download our iOS app, Paris Cocktails, a guide to all the coolest Paris cocktail bars so you can find a great drink no matter where you are in the city. 

While I love doing the podcast and bringing you what I hope is interesting news, getting reviews not only helps other people discover the show but assures me that I’m not just shouting into a void. It helps me to know that someone is listening! So, please, if you like what we’re doing, drop  a quick review.

Until next time, Cheers!

About Forest Collins 375 Articles
Cocktail Expert Forest Collins is the creator of 52martinis, an online guide to the best cocktail bars in Paris and other small batch spirits news from France. We've also recently launched an app so you can keep all that bar info in your pocket!