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).

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