Who ever heard of drinking fine French wine with cookies? I hadn’t until my husband and I found ourselves in Sancerre, France. There we were introduced to the croquet de Sancerre, a twice-baked almond cookie best described as a French biscotto. This small, deliciously crunchy confection is not too sweet and not too savory. Fitting perfectly in a dainty three-digit grasp, this pastry is meant to be dipped in a glass of Pouilly-Fumé, the region’s famous dry white wine.
Trying to find our way to Sancerre on bicycles, my husband and I stopped to ask an elderly French woman for directions. With a twinkle in her eye, she pointed straight up to the sky and laughed before she indicated the correct route. By the time we arrived sweaty and breathless in the village square, up 312 meters (1,024 ft) from the Loire Valley, we understood her levity. Up on its own rocky little mountain, Sancerre was one of France’s best naturally fortified castle villages during the Middle Ages.
Sancerre’s central square includes a few cafes, two fine restaurants, many bulk French wine purveyors, and two bakeries that feature the town specialty, croquets de Sancerre. After entering one of the bakeries, I wanted the family-size, one-kilo (35.3-oz.) bag, but controlled myself and bought the 300-gram (10.6-oz.) bag for just €10. Because the cookies were far too fragile to carry all the way home, I fully intended to eat them all that night.
At dinner my husband was horrified by the thought of mucking up his beautiful glass of French wine by dipping a biscuit in it. Since I have always believed that cookies improve every meal, I enjoyed an appetizer of croquets de Sancerre dunked in Pouilly-Fumé. That night again proved my theory correct—cookies improve the appetite. After eating the entire bag of cookies, drinking half a bottle of wine, and enjoying a three-course dinner, I still had room for the cheese course before we careened back down the mountain on our bicycles. It goes to show that French wine with cookies does indeed improve the appetite.