Kampungkayell

Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

Mo-ayy or Mw-ett?

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Many years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Champagne region of France during a school break. Those were the heady days of RM3.80 to the £1. No visas were required, so it was literally a hop, skip, and a jump by ferry over to Calais one Bank Holiday weekend with two friends. My Greek buddy, an American friend, and I picked up a Pug (a Peugeot 305) in Calais and drove down to Paris through the Champagne district of France.

It was the first time I ever drove a Left Hand Drive car. I didn't really have any problems and it was late spring/early summer. The weather was, as they say in "Famous Five" books, glorious! Just the type of day for a picnic with bags of tomatoes and lashings of ginger beer!

I sorta had a thing for this Greek guy. So it made it all the more interesting. His name was Angelos. He had these really intense Meditteranean eyes and that accent...

Of course, I wasn't out yet, so had to yearn after him in private. It didn't help that he was very affectionate. He used to have his arm around me all the time. I put that down to the European in him. But then on some mornings to wake me up, he'd climb in to bed with and cuddle. Years later I actually wondered if maybe he was trying to tell me something. It was sort of a lesson I learnt; never miss an opportunity!

Anyway, I digress.

The sun was shining, the breeze was balmy, and we were in our late teens, early twenties. We thought we were such hot shit! NEXT was the big mid range clothing store of the day and bright jumpers, baggy pants ala Duran Duran/New Romantics were the rage.

We drove into Reims, parked and proceeded to be tourists. First, we visited Reims Cathedral, a gorgeous gothic icon. Next we visited the House of Pommery. A very popular brand of champagne then and now. They had these magnificent chalk cellars left behind by the Romans which keep a constant temperature year round. Although I doubt Methode Champenoise was invented then!

After that, we went to Moët & Chandon. As we were being taken round, by the resident tour guide who was also one of the employees of Moët, I noticed he kept on closing out the 'O' and pronouncing the 'T' of 'Moët.' Sort of like 'Mo-wett." I of course, being the impatient soul I am asked him about this, because the French don't usually pronounce the 'T's', and I had always thought it was pronounce 'Moh-ayy.'

He explained that Claude Moët was a French citizen but that his family was originally from the Netherlands. So Moët was actually a Dutch name. Hence the pronounciation 'Mo-ett' with the hard 'T'.

I blogged this because in the last 2 days I've heard numerous people pronouncing 'Moët' 'Mo-ayy.' And me being the infinitely curious soul I am, had to do a bit of searching to confirm my suspicions. Call it my bit of OCD. I can't stand NOT knowing. So, I headed over to Google and this entry came up on Wikipedia;

"Commonly mispronounced "mō-way", the actual pronunciation is "mo-wett". Moët is indeed French champagne, but it is spelled with a diaeresis, and this is where the confusion lies. Claude Moët was born in France in 1683; however, his name is not French, it is Dutch."

In any case, the subsequent drive to Paris was every bit as exciting as every tour book, and everyone said it would be. We lounged at cafes, picked up baguettes to eat with ripe Brie and Camembert along the River Seine. Ate at underground French bistros serving rustic French food, and of course, to wash it all down, straight from the bottle, sans glasses or cups, our "Mo-ett."

2 Comments

Dude..thanx for the info.....i should have hug u the 1st time i met ya.....instinct but dare not........

Oh, sweetie! What one learns years later...that makes him so much more interesting. Did I ever tell you about the time I was in the newspaper office late and he came in and pinned me to the wall, then tried to get his hands up my blouse? Right before I pushed him off, he fixed me with those spaniel eyes and said, "In Greece they say you should marry your best friend," so I responded, "Well then, you and Nigel will be very happy together!" He just stopped and looked at me for a minute, then scuffed off into the night. Perhaps I unwittingly hit upon something?!?!

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