Thursday, December 30, 2010

Decembre 30 2010

Dec 28 2010   

Dec 19th (OK I need a haircut)
Happy New Year

It is almost the end of the month, and end of the year. If I do not get my act together here, it will be 2011 before this is done.
It is the time for reflection of the past year and time for those new resolutions.
We have passed through a good year. I was happy to see some of my family with my trip to the USA.

Before I go on with the month of December, I have to go back to the end of October. I forgot to mention last month that Keith went to Italy for an end of the season “soiree” with his colleagues from the tour company. They went to Acqui Terme, a small village north of Genoa or just south of Asti. One of the guides for the company also has a vineyard and his parents have a Bed and Breakfast. They ate and road bikes and told stories. He had a great time. Keith thought it was a beautiful area and would like to go back (with me of course).
Here is a photo that he took.

Acqui Terme

Now onto December.... First a brief weather report, just to bore you.  We have had snow this month. Two big snow “storms”. It does not snow a lot here, so 2 inches here should be compared to about 6 inches in Minnesota. The first accumulation ended up being about 5 inches. Trains were late, school buses for the Cote D’Or were cancelled, and other regular buses were late or cancelled...the place was in chaos. Keith was going into Dijon. The train was not running so they had a bus instead. It took over an hour instead of the 10 minute trip by train.
You have to add to this equation that Dijon is totally torn up right now; why ?..because they are working to put in a tram system. We just got another little blast of snow just before Christmas. There really was not much snow, but it had rained for 4 days prior, and then the temperature plummeted and Mother Nature added a few inches of snow on top. Roads again were a mess. We have had a cold spell, with the temperature all the way down to about 10 degrees. Brrrr that is cold. We left Minnesota to get away from cold and snow. So that is the weather report, and enough of that.

The week before Christmas on Dec 19th, I had an invitation for a concert and cocktails from the Mayor’s office. I had worked on the Cluny Expos, and this was a thank you. This was actually through the Photo Club. The club could invite 5 extra people (other than president...). I had taken photos at the chateau and had two photos in the Expo. The History Club had the same, but the president said she could not pick just 5 from the 20 some people that worked really hard. Who to choose and who to leave out!

The concert was by a local group called the Laostics. They sing medieval and baroque music, usually a cappella. For this concert they added some medieval and baroque instruments. The singing was still mostly a cappella, and then there were a few songs just for the instruments. This concert was in the old church St Aignan which is from the 11th century (they had actually turned on some heat before the concert). It was an excellent 2 hour concert. The singing and the musicians playing the instruments were all absolutely brilliant. I just used my little camera, and inside photos are not the greatest (or nighttime either), but here are two photos 1) of the chorale group and 2) of a couple of the instruments.

Laostics in St Aignan 11th century church

Instruments- I pushed the lighting so you could see the instruments

I have to remark here on a french custom. Maybe I have mentioned it before, maybe not. At all of the concerts; small, large, amateurs, professionals, they introduce each piece with an explanation. Depending on the person, it may be short or can be very long explanation!

The concert was open to anyone, and it was free. As part of the group that was invited, we had reserved seats in the front. Wow, how nice and privileged.
After the concert there was a reception. Hors d’oeuvres were served, along with red wine from Gevrey, white wine from Marsonnay and juice or water. Then cheese was served (there is a fromagerie right here in the neighborhood) and after that, bite size desserts. It was a wonderful evening. I am starting to feel that I belong to this village.

A few days before Christmas, Keith and I took the train to Strasbourg. Strasbourg is located in the Alsace in the north east section of France. It calls itself the Capital of Christmas. Our train was stopped on the way up in the Jura because of rocks on the tracks. Yes rocks had fallen off the cliffs and on to the tracks. We were only delayed 30 minutes, as there were no boulders that damaged the tracks. We were resting on a narrow shelf that is wide enough for two track lines, and below us about 50 feet was the Doub river. Since we have had a lot of snow and or rain, it was a raging river. I tried not to let my imagination get away from me and imaging the worse.

We arrived in Strasbourg in the rain. We did spend 3 nights there and toured the city and the Christmas markets and ate Alsacian food (see this month’s recipe). It rained on and off, but it did not pour, so we made our way around the city. It is a pretty place, but I think if we go back it will be in the warm weather.

Strasbourg- Petite France


Strasbourg Christmas Market 

Strasbourg-     COOKIES


Street in Strasbourg -name look familiar?

Christmas was wonderful, as always. We had noon diner with Marie Therese, Christian, her father and sister. The trip over was a little dicey because of the ice and snow, but we made it without a porblem. We shared a excellent meal with some great wine. We finally left (because of the weather) at 5:30. I hope you had a nice Christmas too.
My History Club has been busy putting out the 3rd edition of its Gazette and a small book from our exposition. The book is limited, because we had permission only to use some of the documents in our Expo, not for reprint.
We have also been working on how to archive all of the information that we have accumulated. Joelle’s house is not the long term solution.

Photo Club will have an Expo in May, theme is trees. I hope to find a good tree photo.

We finally bought a new computer. We held our breath every time we started the old one. And turning it on or off took anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. This one will be faster; however there are a few bugs. The new one has only a USB connection for the keyboard. So without an option, we plugged in the french keyboard. The a and the q are swapped, as one example. You know how often you use the a?  Lot of little differences, but slowly I will get there. Also having some problems with my PhotoShop. Hope that works out soon. My genealogy program set up without a hitch…YEAH.
Good news, it did load in English, however it converts some things to french, and we have not figured that out yet.

Keith is fine too. He is trying to get his last 120km in on his bike to reach his annual goal of 10,000. With the wretched weather, he has not been able to ride much the last two months. So he has only today the 30th and tomorrow the 31st left. Bon chance mon amour.


Alsacian Baeckhoeffe
This may look difficult, but it is not. It is just a stew. You marinade the meat, and then the next day put it all in the pot. I have eaten a few variations. One that I had was like a stew with lots of juices or sauce; the other had all the liquid cooked out, so there are just the potatoes layered with the meat. I preferred this method, as it is a little different. I will try to achieve this on Saturday January 1st. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL…
NOTE JAN 2, 2011 : I made this recipe for the 1st of Jan. It lacked a little something. I have looked at a few more recipes, and it appears that two things should be changed.
1. Use meat with some fat. I used lean meat.
2. Many recipes add a pigs foot... could help. Common here, maybe a little harder to find in the USA
3. Maybe a little beef broth

 For Marinade:             
  • 2 onions, sliced   
  • 2 carrots, sliced            
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped          
  • 2 bay leaves         
  • 1 sprig thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme   
  • 3 cups dry white wine (preferably Alsacian Riesling)

Marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

INGREDIENTS  More:         
  • 1 pound beef chuck roast, choice grade, cut into 3-inch cubes         
  • 1 pound boneless pork butt, trimmed and cut into 3-inch cubes       
  • 1 pound boneless lamb shoulder, choice grade, trimmed and cut into 3-inch cubes     
  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (or other waxy potatoes), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices         
  • 3 leeks sliced in small circles
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste             

For Pastry Seal (optional : This is the traditional method. If you have a tight cover, first put aluminum foil over casserole. Then put on the lid. Press the foil tightly to the sides of the casserole dish to make a extra tight seal).              
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour         
  • 5 tablespoons water     
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil   

 TO PREPARE MEAT AND MARINADE: Combine the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add all the meats and toss gently. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.   
TO PREPARE VEGETABLES: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, and lightly oil a large ovenproof casserole) with olive oil. Cover the bottom of the casserole with half of the potato slices. Remove the meats and vegetables for the marinade and reserve the marinade. Arrange the mixed meat over the potatoes, and then place the vegetables in a layer over the meat. Cover with a layer of the remaining potato slices and pour the marinade over them. Add enough additional white wine or water to just cover the top of the potatoes. Place the lid on the casserole.           
TO PREPARE PASTRY SEAL: Mix together the flour, water, and olive oil in a mixing bowl, and form into a rope shape long enough to wrap around the rim of the casserole. Press the dough onto the rim of the casserole. Place the lid on top of the dough and press to seal completely (this seal will prevent any of the cooking liquid form evaporating).            
TO COOK: Place the casserole in the oven and cook for about 3-1/2 hours. Remove the casserole and serve.

Thursday, December 16, 2010



A home full of happiness,
laughter and memories,
friendships rekindled,
hearts filled
with joy . . .
May these be your treasures
at Christmastime.

Abundant good wishes for 
happiness and joy 
this holiday season

...more from me the end of December..

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 2010

Last Rose - 1st week of November

Fall has set in and it is a gray November. The weekend of the 13th-14th we had some sun, and it was about 65 degrees. Then late Sunday afternoon, a storm came through. 

The good weather was gone in a flash.
Nov 28th 2010- from bedroom window

Back to the end of October. I had a little surgery, my gall bladder removed (laproscopy). So how is medicine over here? I was treated well and all went smoothly. I had surgery on Oct 26th (Tuesday) and got out of the hospital on Thursday the 27th (normal stay of 48 hours after laproscopy here).
I had a private room with a toilet and shower and windows on the south east side. I would say the building was probably built 50's or 60's, so the room looked like many hospital rooms I have seen in the US.
Can't say the food was great, I was having gall bladder surgery!! I had to go in the night before, on the 25th. That night I had pasta with nothing on it, and some kind of broth and water. Oh um! I have heard from others that the hospital food here in France is good, and even served with wine. But not for me. The two days following, the menu was much the same.

Recovery from this is fast. Just have to add that with the problem before surgery, I have lost lots of weight. It is happy...more energy too.

So that aside, November has not been that exciting. We had another velo tourist stay one night, this was through Warm Showers. Nice young man, he works half a year and tours half a year. Next year he said it was California. He is young, so why not.
In the middle of November, the Hospice de Beaune has their annual wine sale. It is a big event, and there are lots of other events and wine tastings throughout the town. I usually go to this with Marie Therese, and we walk around looking at all the booths, and watch the parades and the musicians...and .... This year it rained. Most of the activity is outside, so we gave it a miss.

My photo club had an expo of Clunisian sites (property owned by Cluny).  The expo had 24 photos, black and white. These were picked from over 1,000 photos. I missed the opening (vernisage), but saw the exposition. I had two photos in the exhibit, one of the building in Paris and one from the church just south of us in Meursault. 

Photo from Paris
Photo of church in Meursault

History club is up and running and an ambitious year is planned. Lots of outings (including one to Lyon in May) and new Expositions planned. We also have some more history research to do. Fun year ahead. Keith has started back with the train in Bligny. In the winter repairs need to be done on everything. Also, one engine needs its' boiler inspected, so they have to take the train apart so the inspectors can get at the boiler. Lots of hard work, and now the group is down in numbers, so only 3 or 4 show up on Saturdays. Still, he really enjoys his Saturdays in Bligny.

Keith has been in the garage this fall repairing and restoring a 1950's Bianchi bike.It is looking really good now. He even replaced all the spokes! 

Thanksgiving was a quiet time this year. I made dinner with a turkey breast filet, and it was just the two of us. And I did not go out and search for cranberries this year.

I missed the couple of sunny days at the end of October, so no beautiful fall photos this year. It was a fleeting few days, then the wind arrived and all the leaves fell. I have taken a couple of photos for the History club Gazette, these are photos of the war monuments (monuments de mort) in Gevrey and Morey St. Denis and Chambolle. We had about 1 hour of sun the other day (November 26th), and I ran out and took the photos. The one photo of Gevrey was taken in the spring. Our history club may do an Expo on the monuments of the Canton de Gevrey.

Gevrey monument -spring 2010

Morey St. Denis-November 2010

Chambolle- November 2010        Top of this monument fell off this last year.

We had dinner one night in Messanges. What a great night. My first big outing since the surgery, and with friends, good food and wine, the evening was perfect.

I have a few other photos taken late October or November. Also went this last week and visited Ohtar, Marie Therese's horse. He is stabled near Seurre (valley of the Saone River).

Fixey - October
Beaune -October

Have a good month...till the end of December....

I do have to add that Nov 28th was Keith's birthday. I made beef burgundy and we had a 1994 Morey St. Denis 1er Cru, it was sooooo good...WOW (oh by the way, the beef burgundy was good too). Life is good............

Recipe of the Month


This is an easy and great winter recipe. Also really not that hard.
Be a little creative, add a little thyme to the recipe. Or maybe a little fresh
nutmeg. Adding flavors should always compliment the other dishes that
you are serving (i.e. maybe add the thyme if you are doing a pork roast with 
garlic and thyme).


  • 1 pound carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 ounce Grana Padano cheese, grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup  crème fraiche or heavy cream 
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
  • Salt and pepper (white pepper preferred)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Butter a 8 ramekins or use a cupcake pan -sprinkle it lightly with Parmesan cheese.
  3. Boil the carrots until tender
  4. Pass them through a potato ricer while still hot. 
  5. Blend the carrots with  cheese, eggs, and crème fraiche
  6. Add pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
  7. Spoon the mixture into the buttered ramekins.
  8. Prepare a large roasting pan with warm water
  9. Place the ramekins  in a roasting pan (water should come about 1/2 way up the sides of the ramekins )
  10.  Bake at 350°  about 15-20 minutes (test with a knife or toothpick -should come out clean when put into the middle of a ramekin)
  11. Cool  slightly before unmolding and serving.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 2010

Better get it started on my October journal now, instead of the end of the month panic.

As I always make a note about weather, so far not too bad. Keith had his group of Mexicans here for 8 days (ended Oct 2nd). The last week of September was a cold week, the temperature around 50 degrees, with very chilly mornings (not nice for people from Mexico City). Since then we have warmed up into the 60's to 70's. Foggy in the morning, but it burns off fast. Could not ask for more.

These beautiful fall days are here to stay a few days. "Il fait beau, profiter", which is "it is nice, enjoy" - more or less. But the word "profiter" carries with it so many nuances. We can and should profit from everything around us (and not in the financial sense).

I took a walk through the village of Gevrey the other day. The wine is fermenting and the air is saturated with the scent of wine. I find this pleasing.
Birds were flocking in the vineyards...color was starting to show in the vines. Such a lovely walk.
Birds Flocking in the Vines
Looking down on Gevrey
Cellier des Dimes- Medieval times you paid taxes here.
Church tower behind the Cellier
The harvest finished that last week of Sept,although there was some the 1st week of October. A chilly, rainy time for the harvest this year. And the cold and wet days did not improve things. A friend did the vandanges (harvest ) and said it was indeed hard work, down on your haunches for the day cutting off grape bunches with cold numb hands! Muscles and back was sore at the end of each day, it is really hard to stand straight. But she may do it again next year!!

Keith is finished with tours for the year. His last tour ended on Friday the 8th of October, and paper work finished on Saturday. The end of this month (22nd-24th) he has a meeting (aka - party) in Italy with his company.

Have taken a couple of great walks this month, with the warm weather and all. Now as I finish this at the end of the month, we have had a few gloomy days. Just when the vines are at there golden best, the has been cloudy and dreary. Looks like sun today (the 22nd), but wow it is cold. We had a freeze last night.
Lone Tree
Arcenant from above

Last week was the a national week of tasting, "Semaine de Gout". All around there were festivals to taste artisinal food and wine. Since I am still watching what I eat, I did not go to these. However to give you an idea, the cheese place near us (fromagerie) had free tastings. You get a plate with 6 different cheeses that they make, some bread and of course a glass of red wine. A few years ago my sister and niece were here for this weekend. We tasted cheese in the morning before the huge crowds arrived (OK some wine too, but it was almost 11am by then ), and went to the festival in Nuits St. Georges that featured many booths of food and wine. Keith and my niece shared some oysters (not my taste).

Speaking of food, I have to mention a TV reality show here. It is Master Chef. I have seen the US version where chefs come together to try to win the big prize and title of Master Chef. Here it is a different version. Over 100 people started in this contest, and not one of them was a trained chef. These are all people with other jobs (i.e. teachers, electricians, plumbers, ....etc). It is now down to 10 finalist. Wow, the food and presentation that these people turn out is absolutely amazing. The judge panel is made up of two chefs and one food critic. More than just a few times, they (the judges) have been totally amazed and stated that the plate could be served in a 3 star restaurant ( 3 Michelin stars is the highest here in France). Food and wine is a passion here.

OK to finish this up and post my monthly journal. It is now October 23. France is in a state of turmoil, to say the least. They want to change the retirement age from 60 to 62 for early retirement and from 65 to 67 for full retirement. Some of the problem, as I understand it comes from the fact that the President N Sarkozy was talking with the unions. Supposedly he stopped and just announced his plan. This is a simplification for sure, but the unions are angry. They are also upset with the change, and the University students are protesting too. They feel that if people work longer, then there will be less of job turnover, and no new jobs for them. The result of all of this is a huge disruption of transportation. The trains are very limited if not cancelled all together, the air traffic is slowed way down so all flights (if there are any) are all late, bus service is at a minimum with about 1/2 of the buses cancelled (this is local buses included), the Metro in Paris is at a minimum, and the refineries are blocked so gas is not being delivered to any gas stations. Now 25% of the stations in France are totally out of gas. There are gas lines all over. People are trying to get to work, but it is more and more difficult. So does this effect us. Yes, it does. I just filled the tank hoping that it will last for a while, but we are not just taking off in the car to do things that we would normally do. But we are coping. We do have our bikes, the grocer and baker (but unfortunately not the candlestick maker) are within 2km. And wine and cheese too.

Keith has his work meeting/party this weekend. There was a train at 6:20 this morning (Oct 22nd), so he took it. He is heading to Orange, where others are meeting to drive to the northern corner of Italy (there will be gas in Italy for the return trip- no problems there). He should be home on Sunday.

Hopefully trains may ramp up the next couple of days. Why, good question. It looks like the Senate may pass the bill, and unions said they would continue to strike (greve). However, the next two weeks are "vacances" (school break vacation). There are families all over France with planned vacations, so maybe, just maybe, a few of the strikes will ease off for the next two weeks. We will see (on verra)

Have I told you about Keith's winter hobby? He bought an old Bianche bike and is restoring it. He has been in the garage more than once, just polishing. Some of the components need replacing and he searches the internet to find the original parts. Keeps him busy.  I will post a photo when he has done a little more.

This last week he replaced the sink in the kitchen. I noticed a crack in the floor of the sink (it shouldn't happen, but it did), so he wanted to replace it immediately. A person who does DIY projects is a "bricoleur" and the process of doing the work is bricolage. Since our kitchen in transition (Keith making new cabinets during the winter- now on its 3rd winter), it was not a good time to get a new sink. We want a completely different style in the future. So he went out to find a "cheap" sink that would fit the existing whole. So now we have the black counter tops, and a creamy/white sink. Oh well, it works well .

My Genealogy/History group started up again this month. Making plans for the next exhibit, plans for the next Gazette, and plans for future outings. Sounds like another good year ahead.

 HAPPY HALLOWEEN ...(not a big deal here at all, they tried for a few years, but it is fading away)

Recipe of the month

I am going to stick with something very simple for this month.
It is a  great dessert and is not hard to make. Pears are in  season and delicious.

Please give me feedback if you try any of the recipes. I could have made a typing error...could happen..

PEARS and BLUE CHEESE   for 2 people
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 2 oz of Roquefort (or other creamy blue cheese)
  • 2 Tbls of honey
  • 6-8 walnuts crushed
  1. Peel and slice the pears (about 8 slices per pearm or thinner if you want)
  2. Lay slices on the plate (maybe fanned in a semi-circle)
  3. Drizzle each pear with 1/2 of the honey
  4. Crumble each pear with 1/2 of the Blue Cheese
  5. Sprinkle each pear with 1/2 of the crushed nuts
Now how simple is that.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

September 2010

It is almost the end of September. This year the month of September has been a wet cold. We did have a few days of great weather, but mostly not! 

Almost forgot, I had said I had some Black and Whites of Paris. If interested here they are: PARIS

I left off last month with the opening of our Exposition on Cluny/Gevrey/ and the Chateau.

First, our Expo lasted two weeks and we had almost 600 visitors. I would say it was a success. It was full of historical information; some people read it word for word and stayed for over an hour, and others skimmed and toured the Expo in about 15 minutes.

When an Exposition opens here in France (or at least here in the Cote D’Or), it usually opens with a “vernissage” (private viewing). For a large Expo, the mayor of the village may come to the vernissage and say a few words. The president of the club or organizer of the Expo will say a few words too. After the speeches are finished, there are refreshments (petite coup- a little glass). Beverages such as wine, or Cremant and apple juice are served along with some type of snacks (crackers, gougères, salmon treats (on toast), cheese treats....).
Since this Expo was at the request of the Mayors office, the Mayor did indeed come and give a short speech. And as this is Gevrey-Chambertin, and the vernissage was hosted by the Mayors office, the wine served was Gevrey-Chambertin [Gevrey is one of the better wines of the Burgundy region- red wine only-Pinot Noir. Many Expos serve a cheaper wine (Aligote) or a regional Cremant ].
Now that is what I call a grand opening.

Expo Set -up- Everyone is busy- oops- bad lighting
One panel with Sue's photos -Info on Gevrey
Panels one both side...lots of information

The weekend of our Expo opening( August 28th
 and 29th), the Chateau in Gevrey also had a grand fete (it is the official Clunisien site here in Gevrey). They had animations, stands with things for sale, and a few demonstrations ( a forge, leather work, caligraphy, plowing vines...). I had a free ticket in exchange for taking photos. So off I went with cameras in my back pack (it is only a few blocks from where our Expo ). The rain had stopped and it did not appear to be too bad of an afternoon. In fact, it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon. There was a play at 6pm (or more like 6:30pm) just in front of the chateau. The sun shining, the sky color was gorgeous. Wow, sometimes the light is so beautiful.

I enjoyed myself for several hours. I took a lot of photos of the children in costume, but alas, France has a lot of regulations on using photos, especially photos of children without parents permission, so I do not want to post any of the photos of children and commit any violation of the law.... In all I took about 460 photos, not bad for an afternoon. Of course not all are good photos.  I have included a few that I took of adults that were in costume.

Pelerin- Pilgrim to St. Compostello (the play)
Leather working
Wating for the Play
Is it SHARP?    Oui...why do you ask?
Chateau Chorale Group
End of the Day

I went up to our Expo most days in the late afternoon. There were always a few club members gathered around talking about some aspect of history in or around Gevrey. It did wonders for my French to sit and listen. One member of our club , Monsiuer M, is a walking, talking historian. It took me a few years to understand him with his old Burgundian accent, but I have arrived. I like listening to his stories. He can look at old photos and start a story of who it is, where it was taken and what they were doing. What a honor to be there and listen.

When our Expo closed on the 12th of September, we had a small party. Although not required to bring anything, almost everyone showed up with something or another. It was a pizza party ( pizza to be ordered from the local pizza place). A few brought cake fresh from the oven ( a savory cake is made with butter, eggs, and then maybe something like ham and cheese and olives are added ... it is so good and rich). Madame C brought lots and lots of fruit, so there I was stuffing in the fruit when I really wanted a piece of the cake. I knew I would not eat pizza either, so I made a large salad, enough to share with the group. And then there were desserts.... lots and lots of desserts. No one starved.  Now...the wine, I had brought a bottle of Burgundy red, but when I saw what the vignerons brought, I left my little bottle in my bag, it was a meager Red Burgundy. They had brought Gevrey-Chambertin Pinot Noir. A couple of the vignerons are well known, and the wine commands a good price, and here we were swilling it down with pizza. What a treat, I savored every drop of the wine and enjoyed it completely.

Someone had said once that my Blogs seem to talk a lot about food and wine. And yes I do, but food and wine are so intertwined with life in France, it is impossible to separate the two. I can not tell you about what I have done without talking about food and wine. In a room of 10 french people, probably 7 are “master chefs” in some respect, that is they love to cook, and are very good cooks.

Keith has been busy working. This week he has a private tour of 12 people. It is an 8 day tour, so new routes had to be planned and other sites/places to visit. So he has been very busy and I have not seen much of him. One hopes they are enjoying the trip, a little cold for people from the south. 
Although some of the mornings have not been great, by the time they have started the rides, it has not been too bad. So they have avoided some of the rain (but not the cold). A tour at this time of year is a bit of a challenge, it is harvest season and the vignerons are working in the vines. Many places are closed. Great time to see the harvest in progress, not so great for wine tasting.

And speaking of the vendanges (grape harvest): it is a difficult year for the vignerons. The weather has not been the best this summer, and now when they need sun to increase the sugar content, we have cloudy misty rainy days. It poured last Friday! My birdbath filled and ran over in just a couple of hours. When it rains like that at the end of the season, the grapes suck up the water. The water in the grapes dilutes the sugar and acid content, and of course the taste of the grapes. 
So wait for better weather? Or harvest now? Most have started the vendanges.  There is a saying the years that end in 9 (i.e. 2009) are good years, and years that end in 10 (2010) are not so good. We will see. In November there is the first tasting and sale of wine in Beaune.
I feel so sorry for those poor workers out in the nasty weather. Since the weather is not very good, I took no photos of the vendagnes this year.

The Haute Cote (just over the Cote – going west from Gevrey) has not started the vendanges yet. The elevation is a little higher, and therefore always a week or two behind this side of the Cote. For whatever reason, the grapes look better up there. Did a personal inspection (and nibbled on two grapes) on Wednesday.

Mid September of every year, France has a weekend called "Patrimoine" or heritage. This year it was the weekend of the 18th-19th of September. Many old places or things that we would call "historical" are open to the public. Some charge (if they are not state owned) and many are free. It is also the only time some of these places are open to the public. The list of places in the Cote D'Or was published the weekend before. It was quite extensive, as it included many churches in the small villages, and some in the large cities too. When the day came, Sunday the 19th was a beautiful day. In the morning Keith wanted to make the rounds of a few "vide greniers" -(town garage sales- or literally empty the attic) to search for a new light fixture for the garage. We went to three and finally found it. He did not want the cute one that had four colored fish with light bulbs in their mouths...fussy fussy.
After lunch we picked Longecout-en-Plaine, a village not too far from us, east on the plain (20km). The chateau was open only for the weekend. It is a private chateau (XIII th century) and cost a whopping 2 euros to visit. We had a interesting tour, however since it is not open for tours, the information of our guide was a little limited. I want to do some research on a little of the history, but have not done it yet. There is always tomorrow. Here is a photo however of the chateau.

It is the time of year for the “Musique au Chambertin”. For about 6 weeks starting in September, concerts and wine tastings have been arranged by the Office de Tourisme of Gevrey for each weekend. Last weekend I went with Marie Therese (Keith was working) to a Baroque concert in the small church here in Gevrey. It was an excellent concert and very atmospheric in the old church. There was a violin, cello, harpsichord / organ, cornette/recorder, and vocal (male tenor), so five musicians in total. This next weekend there is another concert and I have tickets. It will be again here in Gevrey. The local trumpet player, Thierry Caens, is playing. He is extraordinary.

Went for a walk today (Wed the 29th). Not the prettiest day, grey, hazy, possibility of rain. But Marie Therese and I walked walked up on down the hills and dales of the Haute Cote. We started in Chavenne, walked up the hill towards Detain, but then veered into the woods. We ended up on the plateau above Arcenant, and then circled around back to Chevanne. Nice walk, and in spite of the haze (brume), there was some very pretty scenery. The new dog, Flipper, had a great time too. Flipper is a little bigger than expected. Oh well, he is a good dog.

Just above Chevanne- Vines in rows
Looking down on Arcenant

Before I launch into a recipe I have to tell you that I finally watched the movie "Julia- Julie". I really enjoyed the movie, as I have always been a fan of Julia Child. Meryl Streep was outstanding in her portrayal of Julia. I have Julia Childs first book (my is paper back) and use it as a guide often. There are however, many recipes I have yet tried to make. One day I will......


I looked at my past Blogs and did not see a recipe for Quiche... Hmm, I presume that I have  never shared this recipe?
It is a deviation from my “healthy” recipes of the last few months, but I am thinking of whipping it up for Keith, so it is on my mind. This is not a fat free recipe - but it is very easy
Does anyone try these recipes? If yes, give me is possible that in my random typing I make mistakes too. Or is it just not to your taste? 


Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • 1 Pie Crust (make your own, or buy a ready-made. The crust I get at the store is very good, so often I just use it.
  • 3 eggs or 4 eggs (if small use 4)
  • 1 1/2 cup crème fraîche (or cream)
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • Other ingredients... try any one of these:
  • *1/2 cup cooked and dried spinach (spinach holds lots of water, so it is necessary to put on a paper towel to remove excess water) OR
  • *1/2 cup to cup of blanched broccoli cut in very small fleurettes OR
  • *1 cup cubed ham OR
  • *1/2 cup sautéed leeks (cut in small circles)
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Put the pie shell into the quiche pan ( or pie tin)
  2. Prick with a fork and put it in the oven for about 10 minutes. Watch it during this time, if crust bubbles up, poke bubble with a fork.
  3. Remove from oven.
  4. Add cheese to the bottom
  5. Add other ingredients (i.e. ham, broccoli...)
  6. Beat eggs, crème fraîche, salt and pepper
  7. Pour over the top
  8. Place in oven and bake for about 40 minutes (pierce middle with knife, if it comes out clean, quiche is done).