Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Temps de la Toussaint
Well, the Mistral wind did rear its ugly head yesterday, rather sneakily too, I might add, slowly building to a crescendo that was positively Wagnerian. But, alas, this is France, so we can't go without bread, no matter the weather. In Soulier, my permanently rosy-cheeked friend behind the counter explained simply "C'est le temps de la Toussaint"--the weather that traditionally arrives with the All-Saints Day holiday. With a shrug she added "it's just a little early this year. Be careful going home."
Warning well-heeded. With the garbagemen still on strike, there was even a greater number of UFOs to worry about than usual and at 110 kilometers per hour--we drive that fast!--the Mistral can rip off loose roof tiles and whip them through the air like playing cards. Even once, safely inside, I was hounded by the howl of the wind whiplashing the garden and shaking up the chimney. Maybe all of those souls for Toussaint were visiting a bit early too.
Only one thing to do in such circumstances, eat a meal to knock the life back into you. So here is the Mistral Menu that we served yesterday evening:
For the apero, toasts with tatziki dusted with paprika and red pesto dotted with balsamic reduction.
My soup--this time with butternut squash, sweet potato, apples, ginger and mystery spices.
My honey's Made In A Rainstorm Duck Confit served with garlic potatoes and chanterelle mushrooms.
A barely touched cheese plate with fig jam.
Our friend Patrick's compote made with apples from his brothers garden in Alsace.
All of this washed down with a 2008 Crozes-Hermitage and an insane Gaston de Casteljac cognac.
We had to huddle in a pack to walk our friends back to their hotel but there is nothing like an evening spent in fine company to take the mystery out of the Mistral.