25 Nov 2012

Christmas Fair

Today a trip through to the Château-Abbaye de Cassan on the outskirts of Roujan, about 45 minutes away.

It’s a stunning venue that hosts events throughout the year, including this one – a christmas and produce fair. The chateau was initially a royal monastery and then a prince’s palace. Now it’s an events centre, and wine is still produced on the estate.

Walking through the grounds and the interior was a real eye-opener – especially what is now referred to as the ‘grand hall’ but which was once obviously a chapel. I’d planned to buy christmas crackers, but they were sold out. But I never come away empty handed. A little early morning wine-tasting resulted in three nice bottles of red, a couple of jars of seedless raspberry conserve and some fig and cardamom jam. Yum …. stocking up for christmas.

Village meal

I hadn’t been to one of the village meals for quite some time, so on Saturday went along with a few friends.

When we saw the guitarist from the live music group that was playing throughout the afternoon, we thought we were in for a bit of a treat with some rock ‘n’ roll! But no, it was the usual keyboard and accordian music. And of course, everyone seemed to like it – it certainly got all the dancers up on the floor between courses.

An added bonus was that one of the waiters was apparently multi-talented, and put on an impromptu magic show.

Food as usual was plentiful and just delicious. And when you consider that for €18, we had aperatifs (Kir), a buffet starter course, a trou normandebetween courses (palette cleanser/sorbet/digestive – in this case, some sort of eau de vie flavoured with sugar and lime juice and zest - delicious) …… main course of coq au vin, a cheese course and then dessert. Continuous supply of bottles of red, rose and white wine. And with dessert, blanquette (the champagne of the region). And then deargod if you could fit it in, coffee.

Bonnie and Terry

22 Nov 2012

Château de Sériège

More autumn photos of another walk a few days ago – it was just such a stunning afternoon. Not a breath of wind and a walk in one of my favourite places – Sériège near Cruzy.

There’s an interesting history to the Château de Sériège. The family Andoque has at least 15 generations (since 1553). The Château was build in 1884, was never completed and has never been lived in. The family however are still producing wine on the estate.

The walk took us through the vines and along stretches of the Canal du Midi. Given that there was not a breath of wind, the Canal was like a mirror – just gorgeous.

We also came across some truffle oaks that were protected with a wire fence and various warning signs, including strychnine – whether just a warning or whether there’s actual poison there, I’m not sure. But it’s known to be laid in baits to deter truffle thieves with dogs!!

16 Nov 2012

Autumn walk

Back in France to the gorgeous colours of autumn. A walk last week behind the village of Aigues Vives followed by coffee and the obligatory cakes was a rather nice way to slip back into life here after my few months in Australia.

We came across an arbousier (strawberry tree). And while the fruit aren't particulary to my taste, it was quickly stripped of its ripe fruit by the French who definitely don’t mind them.


A capitelle - dry stone shelter used by shepherds and wine workers for protection.

Moving sideways

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