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Tasting Schools in France, Le Goût is Not Just for Wine

Creative Commons License photo credit: quinn.anya

Taste and taste development is deeply embedded in the French culture.  Le Goût and development of gout is a right of passage starting from a young age.  Goût (pronounced GOO) is one of the most important words in the French language.  It means TASTE and the movement of learning how to taste starts from a very young age.  But with two working parents and dinners made quickly, the acquisition of  goût is slowly declining.  French adults are moving toward this fast paced society; meals sometimes in fast food restaurants, the consumption of wine decreasing, food bought in supermarkets instead of the marché.  So,  Goût…is not what it used to be!   For the real French passionate about goût, this is a real crises…Which is why you now see Ecole du Goût (or Tasting Schools). 


I feel lucky to live in the Southwest region of France. Pau’s location (near the ocean and mountains) and the abundance of good wine and local grown food makes it a wonderful place to live (despite the abundance of rain)!  There is a delicious wine region near Pau called Jurançon.  The grapes are harvested late, sometimes in late November or early December.  One particular chateau, called Clos Lapeyre is owned by a very passionate (about gout and wine!) chap named Jean Bernard Larrieu.  My kids and I were recently there for a tour of the chateau.  Mr. Larrieu gave my kids a demonstration about learning about taste.  How?  Read on…


At the chateau, there was a table set up with fresh, organic apple juice.  Each of my kids were asked to have a sip of this juice, swirl it around their mouth and to make a comment on what it tasted like.  My oldest daughter said that it was too sugary, my second daughter thought it was too acidic, my last daughter (4 years old and loves sugar!) thought it tasted just perfect and wanted more.  What was interesting about this exercise was that each child was allowed to discover taste and to be accepted for their opinions of the food/drink. Each child tastes different things, smells different things, despite that it is the same food item.  All palates are different and unique and this is precious!

Contacting L’Ecole du Gout

Here is some more information if you are interested in learning more about gout and about gout and wine tasting.

Association l’Ecole du Goût, Maison des vins et des produits du Terroir,  64360 Lacommande, France

You can also check out their delicious Jurançon wines on their website

If you are in the area, let me know…I can tell you the names of some great places to eat that will impress your palate and increase your TASTE STATUS!  Bon Appetit

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