Courting the Green Fairy

“Ten absinthes in two hours—on a Sunday morning with only a croissant for breakfast.” That’s what chef and food writer Louisa Chu signed up for when she judged a recent absinthe festival.

As she writes on her blog, Movable Feast, Louisa recently accepted the invitation of friend and absintheur Peter Schaf to help judge the annual absinthe festival in Pontarlier, the birthplace of French absinthe.

But we’re talking absinthe here, the Green Fairy, that anise-flavored spirit so known for its intoxicating and addictive qualities that it remains illegal to sell or distill in the United States.

So, how did Louisa fare during her morning of absinthe tasting?

During the judging, I made good use of the giant sand-filled spit buckets but my mouth still went numb and I did experience the infamous lucid intoxication—then again I was just terrified that I might pass out.

Check out Louisa’s blog for a full report of the experience and some lovely photos—including a peek at the table linens in a perfectly coordinated shade of green.

For those wanting to enact an absinthe tasting of their own, Louisa shared her knowledge of absinthe paraphernalia with CHOW last fall, and can be heard talking about absinthe on the radio show Good Food.

Louisa seems to be courting the Green Fairy, but you might want to keep in mind that this is the drink once said to make “a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant.”

So, don’t feed it to your infant. Keep it for yourself.