We were invited to lunch twice in the last week. The first time, last Friday, we sat outdoors at our neighbors' place across the street for apéros. Our hosts had bought a foccacia made with cheese and lardons (smoked bacon) that they served with sparkling wine from Saumur. They served the wine naturel or with crème de cassis to make a kir.
Then we all moved inside for lunch. We were eight and lunch was a very good set of courses that included fresh tomato salad, fresh melon (cantaloupe), roasted beef, bettes or blettes (beet greens), boiled potatoes, cheese, and plum clafoutis and a big bowl of fresh framboises (raspberries) for dessert.
The wine was a local red gamay. In fact, the grapes were likely grown right outside our back yard. Then, after coffee, our host brought out a big magnum sized bottle of marc, the eau-de-vie that's distilled from the skins of grapes after they've been crushed for wine. The only label on the bottle was a little sticker with the word marc hand-written on it. Obviously not bought in a store. None of the women wanted any, so it was just the guys who partook. I love marc, but then I like most of the French alcools, brandies, that I've tasted in my life.
At one point, one of the women mentioned that us guys were enjoying our little gnôle, a word I had never heard. According the dictionary, it's an old franco-provençal word which means eau-de-vie, alcool, or brandy in English. It's almost a slang or familiar term for brandy, used by local people talking among themselves. It can also be spelled gnaule, gniôle, or even niôle.
I certainly enjoyed my petite gnôle.
This morning while walking Callie I noticed something. Silence. Today's a holiday here in France, but I didn't think anything of it until I was out in the vineyard.
The only sounds I could hear were our footfalls, the wind moving through the trees, birds calling, and the occasional crowing of a rooster in the distance. No faint hum of traffic on the road in the valley below, no train whistles. No tractors in the fields plowing, trimming, or spraying.
It wasn't hard to imagine how it used to be before the invention and widespread use of the internal combustion engine. Quiet.
Marc de Bourgogne image from : www.shopping.orange.fr
Les années passent et les vignes repoussent
23 hours ago