Under the leadership of Minister of Culture Jack Lange, cultural arts in France during the 80’s expanded to include cooking and wine. During this time, the Cultural Center of Albi, France launched a project called “It’s a Matter of Taste & Smell”. For a week each year, chefs, artists, wine makers, bakers, and restaurateurs combined their talents and knowledge to educate the public on the art of tasting, smelling and experiencing foods. Taste is treated as a cultural experience, one that extends beyond the meal to include the origin and history of the taste and smell.
Chef Philippe Bressolier was one of the original chefs to participate in this project. He opened his restaurant to guests for a masterfully guided tour of decadent entrees made from the finest ingredients. He also worked with the finest wineries in France to create a menu featuring a lavish array of dishes. Guests were invited to sit down with him to discuss how ingredients were picked and paired, how flavors are combined in dishes, how dishes were paired with wine and the history of ingredients. This project is now known as Degustation Week and grew to a nationwide event and eventually incorporated educating the students in France about the art of good eating.