July 7, 2015
Vive la France!
By Wini Moranville
The Cheese Shop's pâté is classically seasoned, with salt, pepper, thyme, mushrooms and Calvados. Photo by Duane Tinkey. 

Bastille Day, the French national holiday that commemorates the birth of modern-day France, is July 14. Remember: You don't have to be French to celebrate Bastille Day any more than you have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.


Fortunately, local food purveyors make it easy to get a little French joie-de-vivre on your table and in your glass. A few of my favorite French finds around town: 

  • Crème de Cassis de Bourgogne: Raise a glass with a kir, that French national aperitif that combines a couple of teaspoons of crème de cassis (black-currant liqueur) with about 4 ounces of dry white wine (sauvignon blanc works great). Find the terrific Trenel et Fils brand at Ingersoll Wine and Spirits (3500 Ingersoll Ave.; 255-3191).
  • French-Style Pâtés: Head to the Cheese Shop of Des Moines (833 42nd St.; 528-8181) and get a generous hunk of their true-to-France house pâté, which I praised in this dsm magazine article on The Five Best Dishes of 2014. Also pick up a selection of well-purveyed French cheeses (I especially adore Ossau-Iraty, a sheep's-milk cheese from the Pyrenées).
  • Best Case Wines: Next time you're in the market for French wines, look closely at the back label. If the importer is Best Case Wines, chances are you've got a winner. Robert Morey, who lives in Iowa City, travels throughout France and finds the best wines for the price. This season, his refreshing white wines from the Loire Valley will especially hit the spot. Find Best Case Wines at Hy-Vee stores in Pleasant Hill, Waukee and Ankeny.


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A Spirited Summer

What is summer without a cool drink in hand? With July in full swing and the sun yielding fruits packed with antioxidants, the mixologists at Bonefish Grill put their heads together to create two cocktail recipes using in-season ingredients. We guarantee they'll help keep you feeling refreshed. See two of their recipes below.

Watermelon Martini

1.5 ounces premium vodka

2 cucumber slices

2 cubes watermelon

0.25 ounces simple syrup

0.5 ounces sour mix


Combine the watermelon cubes, cucumber slices and simple syrup in a glass and muddle well. Add your favorite vodka, and fresh sour mix. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with frozen watermelon cubes or a fresh cucumber slice.

Summer Kiwi Smash

1.5 ounces premium tequila

3 slices kiwi

5 mint leaves

0.5 ounces simple syrup

0.5 ounces lemon juice


The Smash is a classic cocktail dating back to the 1860s that is made for hot days, using what is on hand, and smashing it all together for pure sipping bliss. Combine the kiwi, mint leaves and simple syrup in a glass and muddle well. Add your favorite tequila and fresh lemon juice. Shake and strain into a tall glass filled with ice and garnish with a fresh kiwi slice.

fyi: Mark Your Calendar

  • It's time again for the ladies and gents of Des Moines to get dolled up for Variety--The Children's Charity's 19th annual Polo on the Green Constitution Cup champion polo match on July 18 from 5 to 11 p.m. at the Powder River Ranch (4504 Adams St., Cumming). Guests can expect an upscale dinner, live and silent auctions, judging for best derby hat and a dance party with music from FlashMob! to finish out the night. Tickets cost $150 per person, $1,250 per table or $75 for Young Variety members. Click here to register.

  • The Des Moines Art Center will celebrate the creation of a community-made tapestry that was inspired by the iconic "From the Lake No.1" by Georgia O'Keeffe and the current exhibition, "Fiber: Sculpture 1960-present," July 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Richard Meier building of the Art Center. Hundreds of local fiber artists contributed knitted, crocheted and woven submissions to create the tapestry. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. RSVP at or call 271-0313.

  • Make plans to attend the Des Moines Community Playhouse's presentation of the Tony Award-winning "Monty Python's Spamalot" July 17-Aug. 9. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 277-6261 or at the ticket office (831 42nd St.).

  • Social scientist Robert Putnam will speak at the Olmsted Center on the Drake University campus July 10 at 9 a.m. The author will discuss his latest book, "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis," and why fewer Americans today are in a position for upward mobility as a result of the widening income gap. The event is free, but seating is limited. Click here for more information and to register.

P.S.: This Just In


Folk vocalist Arlo Guthrie will return to Des Moines Nov. 4 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his hit song "Alice's Restaurant."

News we're excited to share: Des Moines Performing Arts has announced a new series for the 2015-2016 season that will spotlight a dynamic and eclectic mix of world-class musicians, including Igudesman & Joo, Oct. 27; the Soweto Gospel Choir, Nov. 3; Arlo Guthrie, Nov. 4; and Vocalosity, Jan. 24. All concerts are at the Des Moines Civic Center, except for Arlo Guthrie, who will perform at Hoyt Sherman Place. Tickets start at $20 ($25 for Guthrie) and are on sale now at, the Civic Center box office, all Ticketmaster locations, or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Belle Du Chene is senior editor of dsm magazine.

Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at 6:40 a.m. on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.
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