La ratatouille provençale

I love this dish, but only when it is prepared perfectly, for botched approximations are invariably grotesque parodies and an offence to the palate. I have never eaten a good one outside France and I have yet to be served a good one in a restaurant. The best I have ever had was with a wonderful family who welcomed me when I was hitch-hiking as a student. They had fought with the resistance in the mountains near Grenoble during the war and I was greatly privileged to be shown the location of their operations and to join them at the ceremony commemorating the massacre at the Massif du Vercors. They were amongst friends there and the poignancy of the enduring solidarity between them was palpable. LJ

“L’art de préparer une vraie ratatouille provençale” :

IGP pour la choucroute d’Alsace : “Une reconnaissance du savoir-faire alsacien”

Une très bonne nouvelle, la choucroute alsacien étant la meilleure de toutes, et de loin! Ça s’arrose! Une bouteille de Riesling svp!

I must go down to Krautergersheim, where cabbages are king,
And all I ask is a chop’ of wine to make my tonsils sing,
An Edelzwicker, Sylvaner, or fine Gewürztraminer,
A Choucroute garnie and a Marc, and “Santé!” to the weaner!🐖LJ

L’eurodéputée d’Alsace Anne Sander explique mardi sur franceinfo que le label d’Indication géographique protégée pour la choucroute alsacienne va permettre de mieux valoriser cette tradition régionale.
— Read on

On the metamorphosis of supermarket plums

This article explains many things concerning the maturation of fruit, but does not broach the problem of the Tesco plum, which metamorphoses with mysterious suddenness from an adamantine state with the consistency of a diamond that would not be out of place on a snooker table and that would break the teeth of a baboon, to assume, within a few short minutes and invariably overnight when one is off one’s guard, the form of a flaccid sac of sickly, treacly liquid scarcely fit for a wasp. LJ

“Est-ce encore possible de savourer des tomates qui ont du goût ? ” :

Chablis Daniel-Etienne Defaix

Chablis Daniel-Etienne Defaix – Site Officiel à Chablis. Découvrez ses Chablis, Premiers crus et Grands Crus élevés plusieurs années avant commercialisation. Oenotourisme : cave, restaurant et hôtel.
— Read on

Une belle soirée au Restaurant L’Insolite à St.Martin de Ré en compagnie de Sebastien Boutet, Alizée Massé et Monsieur Daniel-Etienne Defaix, dont nous avons fort apprécié les vins excellents.

In Memoriam Batger’s Chinese Figs

The most delicious of all confections and the most intense of gastronomic pleasures at Christmas time, which, alas, have ceased to exist. I had hoped to find something comparable amongst the glacé fruits at Fortnum and Mason, but these fall a long way short of the exquisite crystallised figs I knew as a child. Sic transit gloria mundi.

How I miss that choice Christmas confection
Of Chinese Figs! Their recollection,
Such texture and sweetness
Restored to completeness!
I’m praying for their resurrection!  LJ St.Martin

Batger’s Chinese Figs


Apricot Jam

It has been a good summer for fresh fruit from the garden, with peaches at home and apricots and greengages in France, inter alia. The jam made from the apricots is quite outstanding on a slice of pain noir fresh from the market bakery “à quatre pas de notre maison.” Slurp!

Confiture à l’abricot faite à St. Martin au mois de juin