Saturday, July 07, 2007

Report from Boveresse

Affiche 2007Back from Europe for a week now, I finally posted a Flickr set and have time to comment on la Fête d'Absinthe in Boveresse. Short story: good times, new friends, great food and drink (oh the drinks!), and a bright future for absinthe's resurgence. A few observations in no particular order...

  • Val de Travers is beautiful! With spectacular wild greenery in every direction-- any random square meter of weeds reveals a dozen or more wildflowers in bloom-- it's no mystery how a drink like absinthe originated in this special place. The hospitality and charm of the locals (except for one guy in a cow suit) made the Valley a pleasure to visit and ensured that I'll make the trip again.
  • The "forum people" were a blast! I mean absinthe people, really-- connoisseurs, evangelists, artists, absintheurs, distributors-- everyone knew the history and traditions and had strong (generally shared) opinions, and I felt an instant camaraderie-- we're all working to bring it back the right way, and it was great to be surrounded by Swiss, French, Italian, German, English, Danish, Swedish, and American devotees of la fée.
  • The selection of absinthes at the festival was a slight disappointment for many attendees, and while I had expected mostly blanches, I didn't realize that vertes' presence would be so rare. There is some effort to expand (back) into that area, specifically Claude-Alain Bugnon's announcement of his new Verte Suisse "Angélique" with a deep, natural green tint, and Absinthe La P'tite's "Absinthe la Valdetra Verte", a very light green absinthe, more a nod to the green tradition (and a clever play on words to boot). My favorite blanches were La P'tite, La Philosophe, and "Elixer du Pays des Fées", though I have to confess-- it got hard to tell them all apart after the first few tastes.
  • Nico rocks. His bar rocks. I want an mp3 of "Ketchup"... did anybody record him?!
  • Absinthe is Absinthes are coming to America! I heard mention that Kubler has already gotten approval to sell in the U.S. as well as another new absinthe (which I'm not sure has been announced) produced by a joint venture between an established expert and existing absinthe distillery. It would be great to see (and be involved with?!) an American-based producer-- it will happen sooner or later.
  • It seemed like everybody who made the trip from the U.S. hailed from the San Francisco Bay Area-- makes sense given the tradition of Northern California foodies appreciating the best of the best in food and drink. Too bad I haven't been able to find Lucid on any Bay Area liquor store shelves.
More Festival notes to follow, but it's a beautiful Saturday so I'm pouring another glass... Santé!

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