Posts Tagged ‘Bourgogne’

Winter in France

gite en paradisSomewhere in the middle of January, I was looking through some cookbooks and recipe cards I had brought back from one of my trips through Bourgogne. Though we love France in the summer, a while ago we discovered there’s quite some magic to be found in French vineyards during winter. Driving past the bare vines and seeing all the hard work involved in the production of wine makes you appreciate the product even more. That’s why we love vacationing in Bourgogne around late February, especially in the Côte Chalonnaise, an area known for producing the ‘other’ Burgundy wines. Not as fancy as those in the Côte d’Or, but wonderful nonetheless. A few years ago I wrote an article about this wine region, and you can read it here. This is the region of Mercurey, Givry, Rully & Montagny. Names I’m sure will sound familiar to any wine lover.
While looking through some of the recipes cards (which I happened to get at the wine cave in Buxy), my daughter Kirstie caught glance of them and asked when we were going back. By Friday, I had booked the best house I could possiblly find in the village, and the countdown to the big day began!
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Back to Bourgogne… and a tarte aux pommes

tarte aux pommesSunday: Today started off very gray with a light drizzle of rain. It was rather cold, but we still headed to the market in Chalon-sur-Saône after a breakfast of bacon and eggs cooked in our rustic French kitchen. I did the cooking as Hans tended to a fire to get the kitchen nice and toasty and provide a little atmosphere to our first full day back in Bourgogne.
Even though it’s winter, the market at Chalon is phenomenal! What an explosion of color! And what beautiful food presentations! There was pink garlic, freshly-slaughtered, fat Bresse chickens, artisanal cheeses, fragrant pastries and even an oyster stand. I took notice of a beautiful butcher’s truck where tongue and pigs’ feet were on display. Odd to some, normal to the French.
After the market, we drove back to Buxy for lunch, only to find that the only restaurant serving lunch on Sunday was the local bar, Bar Le Bacchus. We decided to give it a try, and it turned out to be exactly what we were looking for. We had steak-frites with a bottle of local Givry wine and for dessert the best îles flottantes ever. Not all that bad for ‘bar food’. After a meal like that, there was little choice but to roll back home and spend the rest of the day by the fire”

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Read me in En Route!

En Route MagazineGreat news! As of this month, you can read me in France magazine En Route! I recently joined the magazine as a food columnist, something which gives me great pleasure to announce. I have been reading En Route for a while now and thoroughly enjoy it every time anew. It has a wonderful mix of interesting features, travel articles, columns and news on what Francophiles like myself should not miss (everything from concerts to books).
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Pain d’épices… and Baking to Soothe a Heavy Heart

Pain d'épicesWithout going into a whine fest (I’d much rather have a ‘wine’ fest), things have been rough lately. Our beautiful dog Pastis has been very ill for the past two weeks, and some days it has been so bad, that we were fearing he wouldn’t make it. He’s chronically ill and had a terrible relapse. I was so hopeful he would not get sick again. The last time was more than a year ago. I’ve lost count of the vet visits, emergency trips to the animal hospital in Amsterdam, medicines and days in pain for him — and in tears for me. As I write this, he’s sleeping quietly. I don’t know if it’s a good sleep or if it’s the effect of the two shots he had yesterday. I’m just happy he’s not in pain. And I’m keeping my finger crossed he’ll pull through.
This morning, after a good night’s sleep (it’s been a while), I decided I needed to get in the kitchen and bake. Create. Revel in the joy of stirring, tasting, smelling. Letting go of the stress as I made something — not for work, but purely for me. Kitchen therapy is a very real, and very effective remedy for a heavy heart. And sharing my kitchen experiments makes it all the better.
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