“Where’s the food?” I hear you say, “isn’t this blog about cooking?”. And you’d be quite right. This post, I’m afraid to say, is somewhat off topic. Not a recipe to be found. Instead I’d like to share with you a little corner of France that is my home for the next week or so.
I’ve been coming to the Languedoc region of France ever since I was a student, spending my summers working on the beaches around Perpignan. I love it here, the people, the landscape and especially the food. Olives, almonds, duck and fresh figs plucked from the abundance of trees that grow round and about. The local dishes are a wonderful blend of Catalan, Occitan and French food traditions. And then there’s the wine. Fitou, Corbières and my favourite Muscat de Rivesaltes. This rich, fruity desert wine is served chilled as an aperitif with spicy cured sausage and black olives. Heaven!
These days, my family have a house in the little village of Cascastel-des-Corbières. A medieval village nestling amongst the vineyards in the mountains between Narbonne and Perpignan. A classically French village complete with its unusual traits and traditions, such as hunting trophies of wild boar trotters that are nailed to barn doors. There’s also a loud speaker that announces (usually at an un-godly hour of the morning) everything from the butcher’s arrival to the next village fête.I’m sorry to say that my French is pretty basic, which makes communicating quite a challenge. Luckily for me the people here are very friendly and patient. Over the years we’ve gotten to know a number of the villagers quite well, especially my neighbour Jean-Francois. He grows the most amazing vegetables and I often return home to find French beans, tomatoes or courgettes hanging in bags from the front gate. Jean-Francois and his elderly mother are very fond of scones, so I return the favour by baking for him.
So there you have it my favourite corner of France. If you enjoyed this little glimpse of French life I would recommend you visit “My French Heaven” which is without a doubt the best blog on all things French. In my next post I’ll be making Tartiflette with ingredients bought in ‘les Halles‘ – the indoor food market in Narbonne.