AUP Food Culture Communications



In January 2013, Christy Shields received a research grant from the CIGC to undertake ethnographic research focused on the elaboration and use of Comté's "Wheel of Aromas" as well as the related “jury terroir” (terroir tasting panels). Learn more about Christy's research ...



Le Comité Interprofessionnel du Gruyère de Comté


Observatoire Cniel des habitudes Alimentaires

aaicCentre Edgar-Morin



Building on a twenty-year friendship, American food anthropologist Christy Shields and French taste educator Claire Perrot have cooked up a unique multi-disciplinary approach to the study of food and culture, which combines theoretical and historical perspectives from the social sciences with a sensorial and experiential based exploration a French food, taste and “terroir”.  Moving between Paris and the Jura Mountains, they aim to introduce participants to a worldview where taste and pleasure are not about breaking the rules, but about reconfirming our relationship to the places from which our foods come, our ties with others and our own sense of self.

This course is currently offered every summer to students in the Master of Arts in Global Communications program at the American University of Paris.

Learn more about classroom work. | Learn more about the excursion to the Jura.

Read student testimonials.

A Story of Friendship and the Start of the Program

Claire Perrot Christy Shields
Claire Perrot Christy Shields


Claire Perrot and Christy Shields first met in 1990.  At that time, Claire was a full-time mother living in a small village in the Jura and Christy, from a small town in the American Midwest, was a study abroad student hoping to improve her French.  Their friendship grew while cooking in Claire’s kitchen, collecting prunes in her garden, and baking pizzas in her bread oven…
Claire and Christy kept in touch over the years. In 1996, Claire returned to school to study wine, though was quickly seduced by taste and sensorial analysis in particular.  She is now an independent professional taste educator, working with both children and adults in a variety of settings.  She has been particularly involved with Comté cheese and the development of their taste profile. (Learn more about Claire's work here.)

After completing a Master’s degree in Anthropology and French Studies at New York University in 1998, Christy moved to Paris in 1999.  She attended Jean-Louis Flandrin’s food history seminar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and then worked with Claude Fischler and Paul Rozin on a trans-cultural study of the diet-health link in six countries (2000-2002).   Encouraged by this experience, she began work on a PhD thesis, under the direction of Claude Fischler, focused on food discourse, narrative and identity in France and the United States (and will finally be defending this thesis in October 2012!)  (Learn more about Christy's work here.)

Over the past ten years Claire and Christy have organized a variety of tastings and fieldtrips within the frame of Christy’s undergraduate classes at the American University of Paris.  However, it was not until 2010, when Christy was asked to develop a summer module for a graduate level summer course for the Master of Arts in Global Communications program, that they found the right format and the perfect participants for an extended joint adventure into taste and "terroir."