vendredi, juin 29, 2007

07.06.29: Portuguese mystery mash, Mirabelle, Poire William, Moonshine

This is my level of sophistication: give me a beer, or I'll have a glass of wine. I don't much care.

This is not an attitude or behavior pattern that is much shared here. Before dinner, we have an aperitif, with the entrée, we might have a little white wine, unless the entrée is foie gras, in which case there is a very limited and special selection of wines to choose to accompany (Juraçon seems to work pretty well), with the plat then we have a little red wine, and then after dessert, we can have a little digestif. Add to this, each region of France seems to have a slightly different version of a local apéro and digestif specialité. This is a lot of different alcohols to keep up with. I'm doing the very best that I can.

Before I came here, I think all of the alocholic beverages I consumed came in bottles with official looking labels from real companies. Don't think I had that moonshine kind of stuff. But, then I'm a Yankee, and all that, anyway.

In the last 3 weeks, I have now had 3 home-made alcohols. Like I said, I'm doing the very best that I can.

Went for a bike ride on Sunday with the group into Paris. Had a picnic in Bois de Vincennes in the early afternoon. Full spread of all the frenchy pique-nique items. After the picninc, went back to the 'hood for a little dessert specialty ... came in a 2-liter plastic softdrink bottle, plastic cap and all. Pass the bottle around, pour a little into your little plastic cup. Toast the day. Wow. That was some tough stuff. Apparently a portuguese family recipe for home made digestif. Careful what you drink.

Went to some new friends house for dinner later in the week. Had a super nice dinner, initiated by canteloupe and very thinly sliced italian ham (together), finished off with a little putting lesson on the living room carpet, and a family specialty mirabelle digestif. Apparently, in former times, certain regions of France retained the right to make distilled alcohol for family use. At any rate, the right to distill certain quantities is retained by the family as long as they continue to own the farm. The grandfather of our hosts for the evening makes his own special blend of mirabelle (a small plum, regional speciality) every year, and distributes to the family. Strictly medicinal. I did putt better afterwards.

Went to borrow a bicycle from Daniel in the cycle club. He invited us to stay for dinner. Very simple, yet elegant salad followed by beef, at the backyard patio table on a very pleasant summer evening. Turns out, it was their wedding anniversary, which they were going to celebrate more formally the next evening, so decided to share the evening with us. After dinner, Daniel said that his father makes a traditional family recipe of poire william (pear based eau de vie) if I would like a little digestif. Why not? This was something. He pulled a bottle out of the cooler that was labelled 1976 and we sipped a little homemade in the garden, long after the sun had set, just the four of us, sharing some conversation about the difference in life between US and France, and which boulangerie has the best baguette in town. Very strong stuff, served chilled, goes down very easy with friends of an evening.

Moonshine next?