Last night the serviettes were French tricolour, red, white, and blue. We started the evening with Pastis and water, a single act which transformed us immediately to the south of France, to a seaside resort known as La Grande Motte, on the outskirts of Montpellier. Three years before we had paddled in the sea on a glorious morning there. The sea shimmered in the early sunlight and there was a gentle breeze. As we sipped our drinks now, in the garden porch, we recalled the feeling of exhilaration that morning. We had breakfasted at the beach café after what must have been a three-mile beach walk, and on an impulse, we had ordered a pastis. France`s national drink has a very particular taste, of anise and liquorice, which is both refreshing and invigorating. It now had the effect of stimulating our appetites, and right on time my wife produced the amuse-bouche, a tasty bite-sized morsel comprised of fresh fig, prosciutto, blue cheese, and walnut. It was wonderful. The main dish of the evening, my wife tells me, was inspired by King Henri 1V of France. Apparently he won favour with France`s peasantry by promising “a chicken in every pot”, from which was born the quintessentially French dish known as Coq-au-Vin. The meat, typically seared in fat and simmered in red wine, is succulent and juicy, flavoured with onions, garlic, button mushrooms, lardons, bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. It is benchmark fodder for red burgundy. My wine of choice for the occasion was Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne Rouge 2016, a classic red-fruited Pinot Noir with mouth-watering acidity and just enough richness. Mid-palate the wine`s bright cherry fruit was followed by a floral lift, which the food accentuated magnificently. In the French mode of operandi, the main would have been followed by the cheeses, finishing with desert and coffee. But on this occasion, we had a single Morbier cheese, a very tasty semi-soft cow`s milk cheese from Franche-Comté in eastern France. It was an exquisite end to the meal, as we mopped up the last of the burgundy. Oh joy!