Thursday, September 27, 2007


September 27th, 2007

Here it is the 27th of September already. I have nothing to write, and lots to write (if only I can remember what it is I want to write).

Automne (fall ) has come to Burgundy. Leaves are slowly turning, the vines have a gold cast and the Red Creeper is bright red on the walls, sides of houses, and our little fence out back. The vegetable garden is finished. September has been generous with its warm sun. The days have been glorious after a cool wet summer. The fall flowers have perked up and put out new flowers. The roses are simple gorgeous.

I had cut down my lavender (end of August) and have let it dry.! About 10 days ago I decided it was time to separate the flowers from the stems. I do this by rolling it between my hands. I had the lavender on a large blue tarp and worked on it for a couple of hours out the back of the house by the kitchen door. It was a lovely sunny day. The scent of lavender was everywhere. The house was filled with the lovely smell, you could catch a whiff in every room. The smell lasted a few days. Wish it was a scratch and sniff photo.

This month we took a couple of days and went to Brussels. It is just a few hours away by train (although one does have to change from the Gare de Lyon to the Gare de Nord in Paris). Brussels is known for its Art Nouveau. We went to the house designed by Horta, which is now a museum. It was wonderful ( I do not have any photos, photos were not allowed). The staircase, the windows, the mosaic floor, the stained glass is all carefully crafted in the utmost of Art Nouveau style.

We also visited the art museum. The old art on exhibit was marvelous. Paintings from art history, live in front of me. The old dutch paintings have been cleaned and are not as dark as the ones I had studied.The museum has an extensive collection of Flemish painting, among them paintings by Brueghel and Rogier van der Weyden, Robert Campin, Anthony van Dyck, and Jacob Jordaens We spent a morning there looking at all the paintings. The modern art section was interesting, but not as impressive as the old art, although I liked the sculpture by Moore.

The Grand Place is also one of the big sites to see when in Brussels. The buildings all have different architecture and once housed the guilds. One evening while we wandered through the streets just looking at sites, we heard some classical music. Some Russian musicians were playing, but unfortunately we came at the end. Keith bought two CD's from them (the group is called Concerto Gruppo Moscow). They really were very good. One never knows what surprise is around the next corner.

The couple of days in Brussels passed quickly and then we were home again.


The vendange (grape harvest) is finished. It did start early this year (about 3 weeks) and finished quickly. I did some of my own grape testing and did not find the grapes as sweet as in the past. So I would say that 2007 may not be a great year. It will take a lot of work to make a good wine and the volume of wine will be way down. We will see what the preliminary reports will say in about 1 month. The grapes behind our house were picked by hand this year (they have been done by machine in the previous years). Right now the grapes are fermenting in large vats. As always, the village (or actually Gevrey is a "ville" -city) takes on scent of fermenting grapes. I do like it

Our friend from London (Chris) came for some rest and recuperation. We tasted wine (one of her favorite pastimes), went shopping and out for a couple of walks. On Saturday we went to a favorite vigneron of ours in Rully (pronounced rue ee), Domaine Jean-Claude Breliere actually if you go to the website and click on the "Jetez un coup d'oiel..." (more or less "take a look at"), you will see my photo of his wine with cheese.

As always Jean-Claude was very gracious and his wines very good. He also showed us his fermenting wine. We climbed a ladder to an upper platform so we would be able to see into the giant vats (sorry I forgot my camera!). He had three whites fermenting (the reds were past this stage). One had lots of foam on top, huge bubbles and covered in about one foot of foam. He said that when he arrived in the morning, it had foamed over and was all over the room. He spent the morning cleaning. Then he siphoned off some of the wine into another vat so it had room to continue fermenting with going over the top. They do not know why one does this and not another. It just happens. In the other two vats, all was well. The wine swirls and churns around and bubbles (just the right amount) all on its own. It was very interesting to watch. And the smell, standing right over these huge vats. It was delightful.

On Sunday morning we went to a Gevrey Chambertin wine tasting. This time each year the office de tourisme offers a tour and tasting. Jackie Rigaux (local famous lecturer on the subject of wine) talked about the Grand Crus of Gevrey, starting with the Romans, then on to the Benedictines and then fast forward to today. After the lecture in the vineyards we walked back to the tourist office and we went inside to taste some wine (only Gevrey Chambertin wine). Pleasant start to the day.

After lunch, Chris and I had a nice walk in the countryside. This is a nation of food gatherers, and true to custom, we saw many people out gathering walnuts (noix) while we were walking. This is a great year for walnuts as it is for apples (hmm walnut apple salad).

The fall program that Gevrey sponsors is called the Music of Chambertin, and it includes several concerts during the month of September. We went one of the concerts in the village of Couchey (in the old church). The group that played is french and they call themselves "Or Notes Brass". The group has five members; 2 trumpets, 1 trombone,1 tuba, and 1 french horn. We really enjoyed the mix of music and thought that they were very talented. Would definitely go to hear them again if given the chance.

After several weeks of rest and some therapy for a sore knee, Keith was back on his bike and rode in the Randonne de Grand Cru this month (about 180km). He is very happy to be able to ride once again (let me tell you- so am I, the 3 weeks he could not ride did not pass quickly...if you get my drift).

My little potager (vegetable garden) has finished. The beans, tomatoes, zucchini have all turned brown and have drooped over onto the ground. We ate the one squash already. It had escaped the yard and was growing on the other side of the fence (vineyard side). So when the harvest started, it was knocked and the stem broken, so it was time to harvest.

Since we had courgettes (zucchini) a plenty, I will add a courgette recette this month.

Gratin Zucchini

  • 2 courgettes (zucchini) sliced

  • 3/4 (about) cup heavy cream or creme fraiche

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup cheese (swiss) rapee (grated)

  • Nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste

  • Put the sliced zucchini in a dish, cover with paper towel and put in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. Drain any liquid off.

    Mix cream, egg, nutmeg to taste and cheese. Pour over the zucchini[note: the cream and egg mixture should cover the bottom of dish and coat the zucchini, but not bury the zucchini] and bake about 45 minutes at 360.   BON APPETITE