Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 2009

May 2009

The month started warm and sunny. What a delicious start, everything in bloom. Now the tulips and lilacs have faded, but I enjoyed several days of fresh cut lilacs in the house. As of the 9th of May, the irises are about ready to pop open.

Keith wanted some photos for his Burgundy bike tours coming up in June. So when the clouds cleared one afternoon, we took off to take some of the photos on his list. He wanted a photo of the vines of Romani-Conti. It is a very famous vineyard, and the wine extraordinarily expensive (2006 Romanee-Conti £7795 for a case of 6 -..that is in British pounds, you do the math).

When we arrived, a man was plowing the vineyard with a horse. This is becoming more and more common in the Grand Cru’s. The horse plow does not disturb the vines as much as a tractor does, or so it is believed. It was fun to watch. They use the large Auxios horses for the task. The horse is very large (note the size of the man behind the horse), muscular and has enormous hoofs. The Auxois valley is just west of us, up and over the Cote. The village Chateauneuf is in the Auxois, some of you have been there and seen the castle.

The Photo Exposition went well. We had over 500 visitors to the Exposition. I did not win, sniff, sniff, but I was not embarressed either. I did get votes on all three photos, and may have sold the poppy photo. Robert, an American who lives in Fleurey won first prize (photo of the canal with trees covered in frost). Below is a photo of the Caveau of Gevrey where we had our exposition and party. After I have put a photo of the 3 top winners.

Caveau of Gevrey

Thursday night we set up for the Expo; hung all the photos, set up tables, and set up the "studio" so portrait photos could be taken during the Expo. On Friday night, we had our vernissage (opening) at 6pm. It was not open to the public, just invited guests. Around 7pm there were a few words from the president of the club, and then in absence of the mayor, the adjunct to the mayor said a few words, puis ( then ) Cremant and snacks were served. All ceremonies in this region are followed by a glass of wine or cremant or kir (Aligote and Creme de Cassis).

When the invited guests left, it was time for the club party. The club members along with significant others were having a casual diner in the caveau. The ceremony table was cleared; glasses were washed and returned to the table. While the pizza was ordered, we had an appetizer. Pizzas arrived and some thirty people gathered around the tables to eat. We had a Rosé wine along with our pizza.

This was a french gathering, so after pizza, the cheese course was served. Out came some red wine. Have to say, the 1992 Gevrey-Chambertin, although still a little young, was a very nice wine indeed. Following the cheese course was dessert: Choices of apple or cherry tarts, or chocolate tart or pain d’espice or chocolate cake. Followed by party tricks, with everyone laughing and having a good time. We arrived home near midnight. How many pizza parties do you know that have appetizers, main course, cheese course and dessert?

Keith had to spend 2 ½ weeks in the Loire Valley. He went on Wed (April 13th) and learned the bike route and visited all the hotels, restaurants and wine tasting establishments with his partner (two people work the tour, one drive the van [sag wagon] and the other person rides with the clients. They alternate days). On Sunday the tour started. All went well the first week, then he stayed the weekend because he really only part of Saturday off, and preparation work for the next group arriving Sunday. This last week of May is his second group.

He did ride one day with a tour here in Burgundy the first week in May (it was not his tour, but his boss told him he should ride for one day as training). He enjoyed the day immensely. Two people wanted to ride some more after lunch, so Keith took those two on a tour while the other guides took the rest of the clients on a tour of a chateau.

He has the first week in June off, not sure when the other two tours take place. I think it may be the last two weeks of the month.

Since Keith was gone, Wendy and Robert asked if I wanted to go to a concert with them. It was a concert by the group Laostics in the old church St. Syphorien in Nuits St. Georges.

I have mentioned the group Laostics before, they sing medieval music acappella. The group has about 30 people, maybe a few more women than men. They are excellent and it is fun to listen to them. It is also very moving to hear them sing in such an old church. I have heard them twice before in the old church here in Gevrey.

Sunday I was invited to lunch by Marie Therese with a wine tasting to follow in the afternoon. Acutally it ended up to be lunch at Marie Therese’s fathers (he lives next door). It was very nice lunch of rabbit. Yep, rabbit stew and I loved every bite of it. It was really good.

After lunch we went to Domaine Clerget in Vougeot. It is a friend of Marie Therese’s. They had “Portes Ouverte” that afternoon (open house or doors open). We did not taste all of the 12 bottles lined up for tasting!! Now really, what do you think I am, Ok leave that one alone. You can really only taste about 6 maximum (2 whites and 4 reds), after that it gets harder to distinguish the fine subtleties of the wine. So we tasted about 6 different wines. The reds... wow. Of course all very young and not ready to drink, but some had such depth to them that you know that they will be great. There was wine from Vougeot, Chambolle, Echezeaux, Gevrey; some of my favorite places. After that it was a nap for me!!

This month, the photo club had an outing to a reserve just north of Dijon. Due to micro climate conditions, and north climate meets south climate, the area is full of wild orchids. We set out about 8:20am on a Thrusday (Ascension holiday) and after getting lost (the turn is not marked well,the tiny sign is behind the tree branch). We had a fun morning taking photos, as a photo club would do!! It was difficult to find a place for lunch and we ended up in a bar/restaurant. Most places were closed for the long weekend.

Members of the Photo Club
My Butterfly
Pyramid Orchid

On Friday after Ascension, I went to Saulieu for the Fete Gourmande. Stand after stand of food and wine. Tried our best to taste what we could; chocolat, cheese, sausage, bread, cookies, wine, crement,... Some of these places also sold assiette (plates of food)for lunch. We picked the foie gras stand. The plate had two kinds of rilletes de carnard, foie gras and magret fume [ translation: rilletes is minced meat, often with fat. I usually avoid it because of the fat. However this rillete did not have as high a fat content of some rilletes. I thought I would taste it, but ended up practically licking the plate]. The foie gras was foie gras of duck, not goose. It too was great, just melted in ones mouth!! Then the magret fume, it is smoked duck breast. WOW what a lunch. We had a glass of wine (we tried to buy a glass, but the vignerons insisted that it was free). I was with Wendy and Robert, and we all had smiles on our faces as we relaxed and ate lunch. Have I gone on too long about the food???? These are the moments we relish about our life here.

I also talked to a woman who does mosaic work. She does not live too far from here, down in the region called the Morvan. It was interesting talking with her and looking at her work {so it wasn't just food, some artisans also}.

On the way back, we took to the back roads. It was a gorgeous day and the fields are full of buttercups. The different colors of green are stunning. Even a photo does not capture the incredible beauty. We have had rain and sun this month and everything is so lush and so full of color. If the light is right, it is extraordinary! We stopped at a church and I took a photo to of the county side. Yes the cemetery is in the foreground.

Some of the photos I have taken for Keith are at this sight. They are not all great landscapes, but some of them are photos Keith has requested. So if interested here is the connection in my Picasa photo album.

Picasa Album With a click you will go to my album and will have exited the Blog.

The 26th of May, I am having the group Burgundy Friends here at our house. Yikes it might rain and I was counting on everyone being on the patio.

Back to Pottery this Thursday, had last Thursday off since it was the Ascension. Also started to cover a large terra cotta outdoor pot with mosaic. Toujours (always) busy.

Recipe of the month of May


It is the season for asparagus. Here we get white and green asparagus, however white is more common than green. With fresh asparagus, the flavor is wonderful. So I do not want to complicate the recipe too much. So here is a very simple recipe.


  • Fresh Asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Goat Cheese (high quality)


  • 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • 2. Wash the asparagus. If white asparagus, peel the outer layer. Break and toss the woody ends.
  • 3. Bring salted water to boil. Add asparagus and boil for about 5-10 minutes. This will depend on the thickness of the stock of the asparagus. Fat white ones take a little longer than thin green. If very think, maybe even 3 minutes. Fresh or wild asparagus(thin as a piece of straw) takes just about 1 minute.
  • 4. Place aspargus on a plate for serving (either individual or one large serving plate)-Oven proof plate
  • 5. Cut goat cheese (no more than 1/4 inch slice and place morsels on top of asparagus- more or less crumble it on top
  • 6. Place in oven until cheese softens just a little, about 3 minutes.
  • 7. Drizzle a little oil and balsamic vinegar over the top and serve
  • 8. Sprinkle with a little salt to your taste

Another way is to cut a large piece of cheese, heat in the oven and place beside the asparagus. You could add a little lemon zest too.

As always, give me your feed back.

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