May 30, 2007 - On Rue Tatin

Wednesday is market day in nearby Le Neubourg, but unfortunately is was freezing cold and spritzing rain. Not to be deterred, we set off in Susan's vintage VW van and started the morning off with a coffee before heading out to shop. It was fun to learn how the markets work, see what's local and what's been shipped in, and listen to all the vendors calling out to "Le Americain".

Our mission was to buy something for a "picnic" type of lunch, and my contribution was a country pate and once I had purchased that I continued on through the market, fascinated by the kids holding chickens and rabbits that I hoped would not become someone's dinner soon.

Back at One Rue Tatin we cooked up the mussels Susan had purchased plus some tiny artichokes that Sue and I had found. We also cooked an omelet and a pound cake for the evening's wine tasting before sitting down to eat all goodies from the market. Lunch included:

Mussels in cider
Fried artichoke hearts
Pates and breads
Cheeses

We returned in the evening for a wine tasting with Herve from Honfleur. Listening to Herve talk about wine in French was like listening in to a private conversation about sex and seduction - he was mesmerizing. We learned about inflated Bordeaux prices, the regions of France that you don't hear as much about, and then did a tasting. For aromas, first sniff to catch the grapes and flowers, then swirl to pick up the deeper traits about the wine. Taste is your confirmation of what you saw and smelled, but you already have 80% opinion of whether you'll like it at this point. Taste has three phases: the attack, the development, and the finish - the attack and the finish are most important.

We then tasted 3 roses from 3 wineries, and then 3 reds from the same three wineries - all done in a blind taste test to see if we could match styles of the wines from the same wineries. My gut answer was 100% and I should have listened to that!

Dinner wasn't really dinner, but was a fabulous crudite of carrots, cucumbers, beets, radishes, turnips all drizzled with lemon oil and served with a dollop of mustard infused creme fraiche. Of course, many slices of baguette accompanied this. A red pepper and mint omelet followed, then dessert of poundcake with nuts and fruit glaze on top.

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