Its now been three weeks since I’ve really been anywhere or done anything. I’ve had so much work on I’ve hardly left the house and after a day of continuous rain yesterday I feel as if summer has slipped through my hands.
Time to remind myself that I live in France and recall the reasons why I love being here:
French food is so yummy and varied compared to what I used to eat back in the UK. There’s so much passion surrounding food here, it really is part of life.
Families sit down for meals together with everyone from the youngest child to the grandparents including the surly teenagers all enjoying a meal together. Yes, food is also eaten in front of the TV but families do still make time to eat together on a regular basis.
Getting together with friends also takes place around a meal and an aperitif here often means wonderful home made nibbles rather than a packet of walkers and peanuts! The art of preparing an aperitif is complex and there are so many things to choose from, I don’t even know how to say some of the things in English – Verrines (small glasses filled with delicious edibles normally with different layers of food or in the form of a mousse) and cuillères (spoons of course, but you can’t say you’re having a spoon to nibble on so there must be another word in English).
Preparation of these nibbles can take hours and everything should always be beautifully presented. My Mother in Law is the absolutely brilliant with these fiddly things, so after buying a magazine for inspiration I ended up giving it to her as the recipes looked so tedious. I’ll wait until she does them and then ask for the recipe!
Choosing where to buy your food takes on an art form. Everyone knows a little producer for this, a farmer for that, a vigneron for that wine and a cheese shop for a specific cheese. So much care and pride is taken in the selection of food, people here like to know the foods heritage, how it is made or cared for, how best to enjoy it.
I always delight in visiting a food market (and there are so many!), in tasting the local farmers produce, in knowing where the food I am eating has come from and how best to prepare it.
Don’t even get me started on pastries and chocolates!