As Provence is in my blood through my mother's ancestry, Vendee is in my blood through my father's family.
Interestingly enough, he ended his life there quite by accident, mainly because my sister chose to buy a house in Les Sables d'Olonne for her retirement.
We used to come to this part of the world and to Noirmoutier in particular for summer holidays and to visit my horologist great-uncle Victor in La Roche-sur-Yon.
I have great memories of these visits, as many a child would do, being left alone to our own devices, roaming the beaches, climbing trees and being treated to somptuous meals populated by all the wonderful local produce that Mum would accomodate in endless and delicious permutations.
I have just updated my "Travel" page with stories and photos of this pleasant part of France. Click here for more.
After a two month break, the growers are back at the Pyrmont Market in Sydney.
Before Christmas, I paid a visit to compatriot extraordinaire, Gilles, who with his wife of 30 years grows organic garlic near Braidwood, a small town between Canberra and Batemans Bay. It is a very seasonal business, as the garlic is harvested in November and all sold by the end of February, when it is time to plant again. See photo below.
Today brought two surprises; a new frenchman, Jean Marc Amar, who is at the market for the first time with his Australian made, but very French saucissons. It is believed that a 300g saucisson doesn't last more than 15mn...These ones will certainly have the same fate (or should I say fete...)
The second surprise comes in the form of an Italian inspired goat cheese from Willowbrae Cheese. Karen went on a grand tour of Italy last European Autumn and has refined her recipe since. One word: amazing!
Both products featured photographically below.
If you are going to have saucisson and/or cheese, then you need bread...and some red wine: you are in luck!
Near by in Ultimo, Ultimo Wine Centre have just received a shipment of the most amazing Pinot Noirs from Burgundy, and Domaine Gachot-Monot: Nuits-Saint-George, Cote de Nuits-Village and Bourgogne.
I have tried the Cote de Nuits-Village: it is simply delicious, supple, fruity, typical Pinot Noir, and thanks to the high aussie dollar, it is only 39.00$. I gather it won't last very long...If you miss out, you might want to rush and get one of the very few bottles left of Ultimo Wine Centre Hospices de Beaune Corton Grand Cru ‘Cuvee Dr Peste’ 2007...
Finally, we can find bread and pastries (fromage et dessert anyone???) in Rozelle, where Labancz Patisserie boulangerie has taken over my favourite bakery, Moana Bakery, which has been operating for over 15 years and with three different owners. Pierre Labancz, of Deus Cafe fame is baking a reasonable baguette, although not as good as Moana, but excels in the "pate feuilletee" department: croissants and pains au chocolat being butter rich, crispy and fluffy at the same time...
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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