Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To Summer and the Harvest!

Walking through the vineyards tasting the grapes along the way told us harvest was near.
With a chill in the air and the grapes the deepest purple, September must be peeking around the corner.
Summer's end is notice for a picnic in the vineyard.  The note that went out said to bring a dish to share and any new friends.  Wine would be of the vineyard where the picnic will be held, Lauzette.
Along with the guests came foods of the season.  Here in the Gard, one can tell the month by the foods that are shared. Figs freshly picked from the tree on the country road.
Roasted nectarines plump with a rosy, golden glow.
A summer potato salad bursting with many flavors of the garden.
Savory madeleines filled with the flavors of Southern France:  dried tomato, rosemary, olive tapenade, cheese, and roasted red pepper.  So much wonderful food filled the tables.
And yes, the Liss' brought the most important treat to Amy---Oreos!
People gathered to enjoy a goodbye to summer.
As the sun slipped behind the hills, we all looked forward to the harvest to come and the new La Gramiere 2010 which will soon be created by those plump, purple globes.
Á bientôt,

Friday, August 27, 2010

To Market, To Market

It is market day in Saint Quentin la Poterie.  This market we never miss as it has one of our favorite producers from the neighboring town of Saint Sieffret.  The colors of the fruits and vegetable arriving in the market are a sign of the 
coming season.
.....and the colors continue....

The delicious pineapple tomato is as large as your hand.
The Black Crim, thinly sliced on toast drizzled with olive oil topped with buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil, is heaven.
You do have your choice of color.  The morning a white tomato appeared.  Yes, it was added to our basket.
 The price of these heirloom tomatoes?  Less than $1.25 a pound.  YUM!
The treat is that the producers are there each week to sell their treasures.
All fruits and vegetable must have their place of origin.  As this is a producers' market, their names are included on the signs.  Even in the grocery stores you know where your food was grown as the countries are displayed along side the produce.
Can you imagine how delicious this jam would be on a cold winter's morning?
Tomato sauce with pasta is delicious made from the classic tomato.  Stock up your freezer for winter meals.
Other vegetables?  Just look and see.
All at today's market.  No you can understand how very spoiled we are.  Our food is so fresh and flavorful.  Amy and Matt are having a large picnic in the vineyards Sunday evening.  I wonder, how can I use those tomatoes?  Any ideas?
Bon week-end,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Little Night Music

Last evening, under a cloudy sky, we joined others for a piano concert given by Guilhem Fabre.  The setting for the concert was the terrasse of a home in our village, Vers Pont du Gard.
People gathered for wine before Guilhem played Chopin, Liszt, Schubert and Schumann (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCB09TNXOVc&feature=related).  During the concert, the near full moon tried to join us, however, the clouds delayed its arrival.
Tall and slender, Guilhem filled the night with Musique Romantique.
 The chandelier added a bit of whimsy to the performance.
Following an hour of night music, the kitchen was bustling.  Each person at the concert had brought a favorite food to share at the buffet.
Fresh fruits and vegetable settled into many of this evening's dishes.
Our neighbors, Jean and John, joined us in the garden
while others gathered under the night sky enjoying the excellent foods and conversation.
A small village Vers Pont du Gard?  Yes, but with many exciting things happening. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Two Girls and the Pont

We had visitors for a sleepover last week.  Ari and Em from Switzerland joined us for dinner and a hike while their parents enjoyed a dinner out.
 Dinner at the Bistro Burger was first on our list.
All of our orders were taken including Em's who did not want a burger.  When her burger arrived, it was a dilemma.  Somehow that burger disappeared.  I don't think the pigeon ate it, however who knows.
Following dinner, we jumped into the car for an evening adventure at the Pont du Gard.  As you know, our village, Vers Pont du Gard, is a 30-45 minute walk from this amazing structure. The Roman aqueduct was built 2000 years ago to carry water to the nearby town of Nîmes, which was a thriving Roman town of 20,000.  Water had to travel from the Eure Valley in Uzes about 50 kilometers (31 miles) and only dropping 12 meters (39 feet) in that distance.
Water traveled only by gravity.  Most of the aqueduct was underground, however, terrain and slope made it necessary for portions to be above the surface.  Up to 1000 men worked on the Pont du Gard using no mortar, numbering stones, creating scaffolding and places to attach lifting devices to complete the structure.
  The aqueduct is an UNESCO world heritage site and you can see why.
The Pont is the second most visited place in France after the Eiffel Tower!
Summer evenings bring a treat to those who visit.  If you can stay up past nine o'clock, the bridge is illuminated with an array of colored lights.

Curiosity got the best of Ari and Em.  What would they look like in the lights?
Visiting the Pont du Gard in the summer?  Take a picnic and enjoy an evening under the stars gazing at this fantastic structure.
Au revoir,
Let's do this again, Ari and Em!