Pink party!

Pink dinner party
A few months ago I participated in a wine tasting at Château Capitoul in nearby Gruissan. Of the many wines they produce, there was one that stood out: Rive, their signature rosé. This is notable for two reasons: one is that I don’t generally drink rosé, and the other is that this is definitely a unique wine. I tasted roses, which seems apt if a little unusual.

I enjoyed talking with the fellow who did the tasting for our group, and we spoke a lot about the foods that might accompany the wines. When we tasted the Rive rosé, he said something that stuck in my head: it would be fun to feature this wine at an entirely pink dinner party.

So we did just that, last week, and it was a lovely pink evening on my terrace. Here’s the evidence:

Pink togs for a pink dinner on the terrace.
There’s plenty to eat in the pink/red/purple range of foods!
The idea began with this Rive rosé from Château Capitoul.
Left, pink peppercorns and pink salt. Right, a small bowl of cherries on the dining table.

If you think you’d like to do something similar, you can start by making a list of pink foods, and then use that to build a menu. We did our best to stick with seasonal foods, so watermelon was off the menu, but it would be a great addition.

For appetizers (entrée in French) we drank pink champagne and nibbled on red radishes with butter and sea salt. We also had small cups of puréed tomato gazpacho with crème fraîche. (Purée is itself a French word, but puréed soup is called velouté in France, meaning velvety.)

We served the Rive rosé with the main course (plat in French), which consisted of two protein dishes, salmon and ham. We kept them both fairly simple, making a sauce that worked for both. We also had a salad made of purple endive and red oak leaf lettuce, with grapefruit, avocado and pomegranate seeds. The salad dressing was made with a raspberry coulis. At the grocery store, we happened to find some edible flowers in a medley of pink hues, and those went into the salad and also decorated the serving dish for the ham.

For dessert we had a lovely raspberry sorbet topped with fresh berries, and a delightful box of Mon Chéri candy.

The color theme was continued when we found some pink Himalayan salt and bright reddish-pink peppercorns. A vase of pink peonies and roses completed the picture.

Katie and I found luscious flowers for the event.

Parting shot
I was driving along a country road and spotted the sign below, an amusing bit of street art that’s similar to the work of an artist I’ve met, Clet Abraham. Clet has altered many street signs in his home city of Florence, Italy, and more of his work is found around the world. I have no idea who helped this deer to fly, but it’s fun!

When deer fly

Road trip!

I was supposed to join a group of friends in Ireland, but that tour has been postponed. In the meantime, I decided to take a road trip to a region I’ve long wanted to visit, the Aveyron.

The first part of the trip will be with friends Maryse and Claude, and we will set out early on Tuesday morning. After a few days together, we’ll split up and go our separate ways. With the blog, I thought I’d try something a little different for this trip, and do a short post every day. Be sure to keep checking in and follow along!

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Two fine days

Refreshment on a hot summer day

Two different sets of people, two different days, in the same region two hours northeast of Bize. It added up to a lot of time in the car, but it was well worth it.

On the first day, I traveled with Isabelle and Anthony to see the Viaduc de Millau, and later to have a tour of the cheese caves of Roquefort, with a refreshing picnic between the two.

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June in Paris

Paris rooftops at dusk.

In April, after months of lockdowns and curfews, France was a-buzz with chatter about reopening. The government began to announce the slow and deliberate steps that would begin to ease us back to some semblance of a “normal” life, always with the caveat that increasing covid numbers could lead to a retraction. There was a rising sense of hopefulness, perfectly timed to coincide with spring. Thus it was that a few of us hatched a scheme to visit Paris in June.

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One fine spring day

The village of Vieussan clings to its perch in the foreground. Behind it is the mass of Mont Caroux (the Sleeping Lady) in the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Languedoc.

A lovely day in this corner of paradise
Saturday, 3 April was our last day of freedom in France— our third covid lockdown was looming. The weather was fine, and a small group of us decided to have a day trip, driving nearly two hours to begin our adventure in the hamlet of Douch, situated north of us in the sprawling Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Languedoc.

Before putting our boots on the trail, we were enticed by the hamlet, built entirely of local stone. We spent a happy half-hour strolling past ancient structures, some in perfect condition, others showing the effects of time and gravity with warps and dips and missing stones. Douch is a place right out of a fairy tale.

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Song of summer

Garden Toad
A toad the size of my hand surprised me one morning when I was watering my garden.


Heard from my terrace
You know that old story about how city people can’t fall asleep in the countryside because it’s too quiet? Well, that doesn’t hold water here in the South of France. It is not quiet; all manner of things are making noise. I’m here today to talk about two of the noisemakers: cicadas and frogs.

The cicadas awaken when the sun pops over the hills and begins to warm the earth. All day long, every day through the summer, the cicadas sing their amazing song. That music can get quite loud, up to 120 decibels, enough to damage human ears at close range. The cicada—cigale in French—is among the longest-lived insects, and it is recognized as a symbol of longevity and metamorphosis.

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