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My first association with the French way of life was through a novel by Gabriel Chevallier titled Clochemerle. It is a superbly funny story, full of marvelously eccentric, larger than life characters. It was written, I imagine, as a satire but is indeed very close to the heart of life in France. Chevallier’s novel is set in the Beaujolais, near the culinary epicenter of France. Many foreigners visit France primarily with the intent of sampling the food and the wine. It is practically impossible to eat a bad meal in France and many of the wines rank among the best in the world. Food is an important aspect of French culture, where the popular “you are what you eat” maxim is taken very seriously. This enthusiasm for quality of food naturally extends to flavors; clearly the profile quality of flavors is generally very high in the French market.
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