Our Life in Burgundy

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The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

May 18, 2012

The Best of Burgundy

Filed under: People,Places — Tags: , , — Mary @ 10:48

This week it has been lovely to see my sister Carol from Australia who is touring Europe for eight weeks with her husband and a couple of friends.

Independently they have been out and about discovering many interesting places, the Chateau of Cormatin, Taizé, the medieval church at Chapaize, the castle at Brancion, the Abbeys of Cluny and Tournus, the markets….. But we thought it our mission to introduce them to some of the best things about Burgundy, the food and wine.

On Wednesday we enjoyed a winetasting trip around the Beaujolais. We started at ‘Clochemerle’. This village is actually called Vaux-en-Beaujolais and was the setting of the famous novel written in 1934 by Gabriel Chevallier. It is about the arguments over plans to install a new urinal in the main square and the vicious politics of a small village. Unfortunately for Chevallier he changed the name of the village but not the names of the inhabitants. There was such an uproar that questions were asked in Parliament.

The famous pissoir in Clochemerle

The famous pissoir in Clochemerle

 

Meandering our way back towards Mâcon we partook of a bit of dégustation in Juliénas, whose cave is a converted church, and Fleurie, which is renowned for its huge mural. Chiroubles also produces one of our favourite wines, a very good year being 2009. But the highlight of the day was a visit to a tiny cave in Saint-Amour where we had the best crémant I have ever tasted.

My sister helping to pour the crémant

My sister helping to pour the crémant

Last night we took them to what we consider to be the best restaurant in the region, La Grange Finot at Bray, not far from Cormatin. Despite it being a holiday for Ascension Day we almost had the place to ourselves. The chef, Serge Curtil, presents the best of local French cuisine and the service is wonderful.  www.lagrangefinot.fr

Copying Serge's secret recipes?

Copying Serge's secret recipes?

I hope our visitors enjoyed this week as much as we have. Soon they leave for the Alsace en route to Paris via Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Bon Voyage!

December 15, 2011

Le bonheur de cuisiner…le plaisir de créer….le goût de partager….l’envie de s’affirmer…..

Filed under: Village Life — Tags: , , — Mary @ 20:55

I spent a very pleasant afternoon with friends at Marie Antoinette’s doing some baking. At this point you will think there is an imposter writing this blog as I am not known for my culinary skills.  I go into the kitchen only to make tea and fill the dishwasher.

Our group was introduced to all kinds of baking trays which were made of silform, a sort of thick black latex. Silform was invented in France in 1965 by Guy Demarle.  In 1996 the ‘at home’ workshops began, a bit like Tupperware parties but based on a cookery demonstration.

Rolling up the gâteau roulé

Rolling up the gâteau roulé

We learned to make mignardises salées which are little savoury tartlets with smoked salmon or goats’ cheese. Also a gateau roulé, a Swiss roll made with maize flour, sugar and eggs, the whites and yolks whisked separately and folded in. This is the basis of the Yule log which the French make instead of Christmas cake. It’s usually filled with chestnut purée and covered with buttercream icing.

Cutting out the pastry cases for the mignardises salées

Cutting out the pastry cases for the mignardises salées

Silform is wonderful stuff. The moulds come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You can make cakes with patterns on the top.There are special baguette trays. There is no need to grease as silform is non-stick. All you need to do afterwards is rinse the trays under warm water. Magic!

There are all sort of useful kitchen implements too. Top of the range is a Cook’in Demarle which will boil, steam, simmer, fry, grind, crush, mix, chop, knead, blend, whip and weigh. I have one of those in the kitchen already, called Chris!

August 28, 2011

The Repas du Quartier

Filed under: Events,Village Life,Weather — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 22:05

One of the highlights of life in the village is the annual repas du quartier. This is a communal picnic where we spend a convivial afternoon with our neighbours and partake of a wonderful variety of food. Everyone brings their speciality so it is an opportunity for us to sample local dishes which we wouldn’t have at home.

A meal with our neighbours

A meal with our neighbours

We chose a wonderful day for it, blue skies and sunshine but not too hot. After a leisurely lunch we had a spot of entertainment with a rendition on the cornet and a bit of singing. It’s nice that folk here make their own entertainment rather than putting on a CD.

Music for afters

Music for afters

May 18, 2011

Life is just a bowl of cherries….and strawberries too

Filed under: Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 17:46

One minute I looked and there were trees full of white blossom, the next the trees were full of cherries! Everything is quite early this year and the bumper crop of cherries and strawberries has ripened very quickly in the hot sunny weather.

Cherries

Cherries

Apparently cherries are the latest healthy superfood. The red colour is due to anthocyanins which are good for relieving muscle soreness after exercise. Cherries are  full of antioxidants which are good for the heart and lower cholesterol. Also if you overeat you are unlikely to put on weight if you eat cherries. Whoopee! A second helping of pud for me tonight.

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