29 Aug 2012

A Gourmet Walk At Fleury D’aude

Each year a ‘wine and food walk’ is held - Les Sentiers Gourmands en Clape Vigneronne and a group of us got together back in May. Given that we had to pay in advance, the fact that it had been raining for two days and was continuing, we turned up on the morning. And the rain stopped.

The walk is about 6 km long and starts from a wine cave in Fleury.

We’re given a straw hat, and a pouch to hang around our necks for our wine glass, cutlery and a booklet describing the wines and food at each of the six stops.

What a great day …. food was delicious, so was the wine, and a walk in the ‘Clape’ region was a new one for me. And we got to see a man and his horse, ploughing between the vines in the traditional way.

So all in all a very good day. The menu was this:
Creamy cauliflower with shrimp coulis - Egg cake with mushrooms, meat juice vinaigrette, arugula and olive oil - Salmon mi-cuit, broad beans, ham and fresh black basil - Caramelized belly pork with sage jus, potatoes and red onion - Franceline with duck fat - Cheese - Salted butter shortbread, white chocolate ganache, raspberry and pistachio - Coffee
And delicious wines from 6 different wine producers at each course – with a selection of sweet wines  at the final stop. I’m not sure the 6 kms would have walked it off …..

Bonfire Night "Fête De La Saint-Jean"

The "Fête de la Saint-Jean" (celebration of St John the Baptist) is celebrated here on 24th June. Some villages built huge bonfires that are lit on the night. These things sometimes take days of preparation, and are huge. Bize had a beauty on the river bed, nearly a week in the making. However someone thought it would be a good idea to get things underway a bit early, and it was set alight in the very early hours of the Wednesday morning before. So come daylight, all that was left was a group of pompiers standing around a large smouldering mass on the river. Fortunately friends who live in Agel had the same celebration and I joined them for the evening – a meal first first, bonfire later. I have to say that their bonfire was a very well-structured affair with most of the timbers coming from the roof of Bonnie and Terry’s renovation project.  

But Bize rallied, and in fact another bonfire was put together and lit the following Saturday – a good night with live music on the promenade, and a MONSTER of a fire.

Nicky and Alan

A recent visit by friends Alan and Nicky (well back in June actually) – who will soon be doing a house-swap with me for a couple of months. As usual a good time was had by all, with good food and wine featuring heavy in the five days they were here this time. And good timing it was too – as their stay coincided with the end of year picnic for the walking group, as usual up in the Black Mountains beyond St Pons de Thomières, on the edge of the lake of Vésoles. And with the usual aperitif of Soupe de Champagne. 

Bize Bytes - moving to Google+

I’ve been absent from this blog for some time for various reasons, and have now decided to pick it up again, but to do it a little differently. I’m not really a fan of Facebook, but am going to have a crack at Google+ which I’m still learning about. And I think I will find it easier to post more frequently and perhaps just shorter snippets of bits and pieces. Especially as I’m heading off to Australia for a while and will be on the move a bit. I’m doing a house swap with friends for two months and am really looking forward to it. 

Although I am leaving the Minervois behind at my very favourite time of year – autumn/vendange. Only yesterday I saw the first of the tractors with trailers with a tail-back of cars behind it, laden with white grapes. I’d heard that it was going to be an early harvest this year. Nicky and Alan (my friends who will be staying here) will need to be prepared to be held up on the roads for at least the next couple of weeks.

So if you’re interested in following the new format of Bize Bytes, it can be found here:

Bize Bytes on Google+ 

I’ve decided to revert back to this Blog format – which now appears will automatically update Google+ anyway.  So in effect, I’ll be posting here intially and it will be synched to Google+. Yes, I’m obviously a little confused, but seems I’m back to where I started ……

I’ll be copying Google+ posts from the previous year (with the date of their originally posting) to bring this blog up to date. 

Moving sideways

Future posts on Bize-Bytes can now be found on Facebook. Link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bize-Bytes/895137113876897