Our Life in Burgundy

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The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

October 9, 2017

Fête de la Pomme 2017

Filed under: Events,Places — Tags: , — Mary @ 12:32

It was a busy weekend for us. Not only had we offered to help make apple juice at the Fête de la Pomme but we took part in the Country Dreams line dancing demonstrations on Saturday afternoon.

The Fête de la Pomme is a big annual event at the Griottons in Cluny. There are lots of craft and artisan stalls, a hundred types of honey, fancy gourds and pumpkins. And people busy peeling apples.  It is amazing all the things you can do with apples! The apple juice, apple tarts and apple fritters were sold as quickly as they could be produced. The boudin (served with cooked apple) was sold out by Sunday afternoon.

Pressing apples for the fresh juice

Pressing for the pasturised juice..

which had to be heated before bottling


 We were selling the juice as quickly as we could make it

Time for the line dancing. Christiane our teacher is leading at the front

Four performances with Country Dreams in the afternoon



 A welcome glass of cider afterwards provided by Francis, the president of the Forêt Fruitière (the rearmost of the three men)

And some fooling around with the ponies 

Sunday’s entertainment was Polish dancing with Polonia St Vallier

Very lively dancing

and lovely costumes

 The Forêt Fruitière needs a huge number of volunteers to make the event a success and we hope we have done a little bit towards it. Meanwhile I’ll never look at an apple again!




October 4, 2016

La Fête de la Pomme 2016

Filed under: Events,People,Places — Tags: , — Mary @ 19:26

We are fortunate enough to belong to La Forêt Fruitière, an association concerned with the promotion and propagation of the old varieties of apples and pears. This weekend we helped with their annual Fête de la Pomme which was held at Les Griottons in Cluny. Our forte is making pasturised apple juice and the team produced about 500 litre bottles of it over the weekend. Another team were making the fresh apple juice that has to be used within three days. The pasturised keeps for a year.

Here are a few photos of us at work -

Note the stack of crates filled with apples at the back

Pressing the fresh juice

Chris is pressing apples for the pasturised juice

Jean is bottling the juice after it has been heated

Remo is screwing on the tops

There were experts available who could identify different varieties of apple and we took the opportunity to show them an apple from our own tree. We had bought the tree from Lidl and it had been labelled ‘pomme rouge’. Although it is not yet much bigger than waist high it has produced 8 delicious shiny red apples. It turned out to be a Calville Rouge, quite a modern variety.

A lovely crop of apples chez nous

There was also a good trade in freshly made boudin noir aux pommes and a team were turning out apple tarts by the dozen.

There were pony rides

and more 2CVs than I have ever seen in my life

A group of our friends from Country Dreams were showing off their routines most of the afternoon. We only started line dancing this year but who knows, next year it might be us up on that stage, yeehaw!

Country Dreams

It was lots of fun and a terrific weekend. The next event for La Forêt Fruitière will be La Bourse aux Greffons the first weekend in March.

October 5, 2015

Fête de la Pomme 2015

Filed under: Events,Places — Tags: , — Mary @ 17:51


A 25th anniversary panneau

On Sunday we found ourselves at the other side of the counter at this year’s Fête de la Pomme in Cluny. We had been recruited to join the 80 bénévoles of La Fôret Fruitier, a local organisation of enthusiastic arborists who promote and preserve the ancient varieties of apples and pears.

We were only there for the day but it was enough to appreciate the amount of work involved in setting up (and dismantling) the exhibition which took up the whole of the Griottons and extended into the campsite. On display in the hall were hundreds of different varieties of apples, pears, squash and marrows. In the siderooms there were exhibitions of lacemaking, essential oils, and artwork. There were lots of stalls selling things to eat, and we were given a lovely lunch.


Annie outside selling squashes

Outside entertainment was provided by Trad’Zic, a band playing traditional dance numbers on hurdy-girdies, bagpipes and accordions. We watched the distillation of eau-de-vie and talked to the basketmakers.


Trying the eau-de-vie

Our job was to make apple juice, in particular pasturised juice which keeps for a year. Another team were making apple juice that has to be drunk within a day or two.


Making the unpasteurised apple juice

and afterwards it goes straight into the bottles


The difference is that the apples for pasturisation are shredded more finely, pressed in cloth between plates and the resulting juice heated to about 85°. It’s more cloudy than the unpasturised juice.


Shredding apples by the crateload..

and then pressing them

Demand was so high in the afternoon that the juice had no time to cool. We produced about 240 bottles.

The finished product

Nothing is wasted as the lorry load of squeezed apple was taken for the cows. Some of the pulp from the ‘fresh’ juice was packed in barrels and sugar added. This will ferment and be used for making eau-de-vie next year.

With any luck we’ll be involved in the next annual event held by La Fôret Fruitier. In March there will be La Bourse aux Greffons, a demonstration of grafting and promotion of little known varieties of apple trees. But for the moment I don’t want to look at another apple!

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