Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall in Provence

Or fall in love with Provence?  Or fall in love in Provence?  Endless possibilities.
So, today I am writing from my terrasse, you see.
A lovely little spot, n'est-ce pas?  Just perfect for a morning café au lait and baguette avec du beurre et du miel.  My butter is the delicious kind with sea salt in it.  It crunches when you bite into it.  If you've never tried it, you just don't know what you're missing.  And my honey is flavored with lavender.  I buy it at the marché in Arles from Sophie, beekeeper par excellence.
In the evening, this is the perfect spot for an apéritif of kir or pastis, if you prefer.  (We are in Provence, after all.)   If the weather is nice when you come to visit, we will have dinner here.  Just a simple meal, using local produce that we find at the market, you know.  Perhaps une salade de chèvre chaud, stuffed tomatoes, pasta with pesto with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, or we could put something on the grill.  The wine?  A young, fruity red Côtes du Rhône, Costières de Nîmes or a bottle from the Pays du Gard maybe.  I think that a gâteau au chocolat, my favorite, a flour-less dark chocolate cake, would be the perfect dessert.  With a little whipped cream on the side, if you wish, and raspberries if they are in season. 

Yes, my friends, this is indeed today's fantasy.  I am really at my desk (shhh!) writing a test for my French 7 classes for tomorrow and working on my presentation about kids and cooking at Friday's NCAIS conference in Charlotte.  One can dream, though, right?

This drink is named for Félix Kir, a hero of the French Resistance and mayor of the city of Dijon, in Burgundy, from 1945-1968.  He liked to promote his region and made this drink famous.  Maybe he wanted his name to live on, too.  And maybe he just liked to drink the fruits of his region.  All good reasons to name a drink after yourself, in my opinion.
I tasted my first kir in 1987 while visiting the walled city of Les Aigues Mortes.   Isn't it interesting what you can remember?

You need:
  • Your favorite wine glass-- I have a couple made by Riedel that are nice.  My favorite one is a glass given to me by a friend.  It has a little chip in the foot of it.  I think that adds a nice touch to it.  It shows that it has been gently used.  Perfection isn't important to me.  I like glasses that have thin rims, if that makes sense, and are lightweight.
  • Crème de cassis, such as this one from Wine Authorities-- Domaine Vissoux, Pierre Chermette
    Black Currant juice+ sugar + Eau de Vie
    This is real Crème de Cassis from Burgundy, France. Rare to find in the US indeed. Much more potent in flavor than the usual domestic watery stuff, a little bit of real Cassis goes a long way. Keep refrigerated and ready to add a dash to your white wine or sparkling wine glass.
  • Chilled dry white wine, preferably Aligoté from Burgundy.
    The usual mix is 1 part crème de cassis to 5 parts wine.  You will figure out your perfect mix with enough practice! 

    Or, if you feel festive, make a Kir Royale, use a sparkling wine.  (It can only be called champagne if it is made in the Champagne region of France.)

    Bon appétit, Provence et M. Kir!

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