The Fête des Huîtres must be the popular event of the year in the village. It is organised by Cortambert, notre patrimoine, and is held on the last Sunday in October.
The organisers, Raymond and Pascale, left, with the volunteers who spent the morning opening oysters.
We went early and met with our neighbours. Chris enjoyed a dozen oysters and a glass of wine. The oysters are eaten with a squeeze of lemon, bread and butter and a shallot vinaigrette dressing.
The oysters are from several different places along the Atlantic coast from Normandy and Brittany to Charente Maritime. You can choose a selection to taste the difference.
Our friends and neighbours enjoy their oysters before the rush.
To follow were a huge selection of savoury flans and apple tarts
Halfway through the morning the pompiers came in, having finished their Sunday morning practice. Following them in were the churchgoers who had been to Mass next door. So we left to make way for the newcomers. By the end of the morning 1500 oysters had been consumed. Not bad for a small commune!
It’s not a place I would normally be seen, the kitchen I mean, except for loading the dishwasher. But everybody in Cortambert, notre Patrimoine was asked to make an apple tart to sell at tomorrow’s event, the Fête des Huitres.
Having looked up several recipes I had a fair idea of what was involved but there are some things you have to find out for yourself. How thick should the crème pâtisserie be?
Too late, I discovered that if you use a roll of readymade pastry you leave the baking paper on the bottom. Doh! And don’t trim off the pastry as it shrinks to the right size when you bake it. And how on earth do you make a rosette? I gave up after massacring half a dozen apples. Now to brush with apricot jam. Why is it always apricot jam when we have a shelf full of peach jam? The apples should be starting to burn at the edges. What do you do if the apples are still pale but the pastry is about to ignite?
So when you go to the Fête des Huitres tomorrow at Cortambert foyer rural from 10h30, do avoid the tart with the scruffy edges and no rosette. You have been warned!!
We were a select group for this morning’s walk, most people having opted to go for the Bourgogne/Quebec Society 40th anniversary lunch at the foyer.
We started at the lavoir at Toury and climbed up through the vineyards past Bray to the Faitral.
We stopped many times to look at the view. The vines are just turning golden.
The cows looked contented in the fields.
We walked through the woods along the Faitral until we descended to Toury again. It was good to make the most of the wonderful autumn weather and it made us appreciate that we are living in a lovely part of the world.
We had always thought ourselves as fairly good recyclers as we often visit the déchetterie at Cluny and sort stuff into the different bins. And reusable items go into the Ressourcerie to be sold. But last week when we received a Guide de la réduction des déchets et du tri we realised how inefficient we really were.
The first thing we were prompted to do was to go and ask at the Mairie for a sticker saying Stop Pub for the letterbox. Otherwise it’s estimated that you receive 30kg per person per year of supermarket brochures and brico promotions. It seems like more.
Next le compostage. For us the last frontier of recycling. We had always intended building compost bins at the bottom of the garden and never got round to it. Thanks to Claire who is our village representative for Sirtom, the refuse collection company, we are now the proud owners of a composteur.
Chris spent the afternoon putting it together and I have been gathering stuff to start it off, peeling apples and raking up a few leaves. You have to alternate the greens with the browns. Hopefully once we get going we should have compost after nine months.
Or even better. This week the Journal recommended that every household kept two hens. Hens are the ultimate dustbin. They will consume any leftovers, vegetable peelings, stale bread and weeds. That’s a good swop for a couple of eggs a day. And while we are at it, what about a pig?