HALLE BERRY : Enjoying Saint-Emilion in … coq au vin

The former James Bond girl has an incredible relationship with fine wines. Although she is not really a connoisseur, Halle Berry talks about wine fairly openly. And how refreshing is that!


Apparently, you love adding wine to your cooking…


Cooking and I don’t really see eye to eye! My problem is that I don't know how to measure things. Recently, I wanted to make coq au vin, a typically French recipe. I thought the chicken would be better simmered in a good wine, in this case a Saint-Emilion! The problem is that I went a bit mad with the wine, so it ended up not being chicken with wine but wine with chicken! My guests, who are real wine enthusiasts, said it was heresy when they found out my recipe!


Do you have any other anecdotes like this?


Yes, I love fries and vinegar with a good glass of red wine. You’ll probably say that vinegar and good wine make an astonishing mixture on the palate. And you'd be right, that's why I stopped! You can't mix the two flavours: the taste of the vinegar alters the taste of the wine you drink, and you destroy all those lovely flavours! It was a French friend who made me realise that this was not the done thing and that I was not showing respect for the drink! I'm referring to the wine and not the vinegar, as you’ll have guessed! Other than that, I like dishes from the South. Basically, everything that's fried! I like cakes too, but I have to be very careful with sugar. I am a diabetic.


How long have you been a diabetic?


I only discovered I had all the symptoms of diabetes when I was twenty-two years old and from then on, I decided to take charge of my life and my health! Wine is allowed when you have diabetes, but in moderation and by taking precautions. Generally speaking, carbohydrate-rich foods are recommended if you drink alcohol, and it’s best not to drink on an empty stomach. You should also test your blood sugar more often and drink wine with dinner. But every diabetic reacts differently....


How do you explain that this disease was not diagnosed earlier?


I blame it on my lack of knowledge! I was still a kid when I passed out during the shooting of ‘Living Dolls’. When I was admitted to hospital, a blood test revealed that I was diabetic. I stupidly thought I was going to die. It took the doctor a lot of patience to prove me otherwise. Twenty years ago, people were not as well informed as they are today. And again, I think there is still a lot to be done in this respect....


Interview by Franck Rousseau, our correspondent in Hollywood – Photographs: all rights reserved