Monday, September 27, 2010

Plump, sweet and juicy

Non, non, non!  I am not referring to the ladies pictured here.   I am referring to the grapes we were sent out to cut down from the vines.
The late harvest white, turning very sweet the longer they stay on the vine.
These are a bit plumper.
So what's all this about?  The Second Annual Grove Winery Grape-Stomping sponsored by The Wine Authorities.  We (about 55-60 of us) boarded a bus and off we went to Guilford county, watching the I Love Lucy episode when Lucy is in Italy and goes out to stomp grapes to "soak up local color" and ends up soaking up too much!  A classic. 
We were sent out into the vines in teams-- I was on the Spice team (I am now Culinary Spice)-- charged with cutting the white grapes, de-bugging them (just in case a spider was hiding) and choosing only those that we would actually put in our mouths and eat.  I did have to taste them frequently, quality control, you know.  The bees were out and about, but I avoided them, luckily.
No spiders + no bees = very happy grape picker.
This is my lug.  It took a while to find this many grapes.  Due to the very hot weather and no rain, the bulk of the grapes at Grove had already been harvested.  Max and John--
decided we should make a sweet dessert wine, something they've wanted to do for a while.  But why pay pickers to do what we would do happily for free?
After the grapes were picked, we had lunch and tasted several of Grove's wines.  The sky opened up and the rain began while we were under the tent.  It did not put a damper on our fun, however (and the good Lord knows we are desperate for rain in North Carolina).  The stomping was set up under cover and off we went.

We stepped into 4 different foot-washing-rinsing solutions before stepping into the vat with the grapes.
It really wasn't so bad if you got the "new" grapes, the unstomped ones.  But if you were the third or fourth one in the vat, it was a bit slimy and slippery.
We also stomped some red grapes-

And here are my feet afterwards--
No, they didn't turn purple.  The juice was all clear, even from the red grapes.
Two new Lucys in the making!  Pink-tank-top Lucy didn't like the texture- she was only good for one round.  Blue-skirt Lucy may have found a new career.
Think Lucy 1 and Lucy 2 are having fun?
We worked up an appetite with all that stomping around so we had a little snack-
Doesn't that look délicieux?
A locally-made fromage.
We made new friends.  I loved the t-shirts some of them were wearing--

All sales final...
Thanks to Seth, Randy and Mic for organizing this wonderful outing.

And here's to the Lucys!

Bon appétit, Grape Stompers at Grove!

Friday, September 24, 2010

En Provence

I love iTunes!  This afternoon, I was able to sit here at my computer in Durham, NC and download the new CD by Moussu T e Lei Jovents.  It came out yesterday and I won't be going to France until March.  That is just too long to wait for their new music, à mon avis.  I have all their CDs--
I even have a DVD with all kinds of stuff, including video clips.  I used it in my French 8 class today.  We have been studying professions and adjectives so I gave them the lyrics to Forever Polida, we translated them and then I showed them the clip
So now I can have a nice chilled glass of rosé (it is 95F here again today!), listen to les mecs sing and dream of my little cabanon in the middle of a lavender field in Provence.
Which one should I choose?
This one is lovely, but a roof is a necessity, in my humble opinion, and I am not much of a handywoman.
Pretty?  Yes, but my sons are too tall to fit inside this one, I fear.
I like this one a lot, but it seems kind of lonely and a shade tree would be nice in the middle of the summer when the Provençal sun beats down.
Cute blue door, n'est-ce pas? I could live here.
But this one wins.  A shade tree.  A little window.  You can't see it, but I am sure there is a little patio to the side where I could sit and sip my café au lait in the mornings and my rosé in the evenings as I listen to Moussu T.  I could harvest the lavender and sell it at the market.  I could make sachets and wreaths.  I could bake lavender scones and make lavender truffles.  Lavender lemonade and lavender-lemon cookies would be a nice treat on hot afternoons.
Perhaps I should start buying lottery tickets?

(Cabanon photos courtesy of:  photo E. Tailleux Ascendant Sud)

Bon appétit, la Provence!  

Countdown 2011

I usually do not let them begin the countdown until after January 1.  But this year a couple of the girlies started it without asking and how could I possibly erase this and tell them no?  Pas possible!

So, we have started dreaming of the Champs-Élysées

making crêpes with Chef Érick


Galeries Lafayette

La Tour Eiffel

Impressionist art at Musée d'Orsay


D-Day beaches and the American Cemetery



Vincent Van Gogh

the TGV to Avignon

les arènes in Nîmes

and Arles

the Saturday market in Arles

the Pont du Gard

un sandwich au jambon

and Nice...
just to mention a few of the highlights of our trip.


Bon appétit, la France!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I've combined my two loves-- food and books

My September article appeared today.  I've already posted the two recipes I used-- la mousse au chocolat-- Clémentine's chocolate mousse recipe, and Midnight Pasta #3- Penne with popped tomatoes, onions and anchovies.

Bon appétit, cookers, eaters, and readers!