It all started there decades ago: We were driving back from Salon de Provence where we had spent sometime with my maternal grandparents and we were heading home which was in Tours at that time. There is a big obstacle in the way, a very wide mountain range called Le Massif Central - The Central Range could be a translation. There was no freeway at the time and only a road on each side of the Rhone river, one called the Nationale 7, now doubled by the A& freeway and the Nationale 6 on the west side of the Rhone. We drove down via Roanne and the N7, but on the way back, the traffic was horrendous with trucks and other vacationists, so Dad decided to go via the N6 instead and rather that heading to Roanne again, he decided to explore another route...
Once he was on that road and Mum had calmed down a little about the change of plan(!) he stopped to look at a map (a real one, no iPhone then...) and decided we could reach the charming Lamastre in time for dinner. He then checked the Michelin guide and decided that we would stay and eat dinner at the Hotel du Midi. There was obviously no telephone nearby to reserve and we went on the odd chance that we would find a room and a table...And we did!
And what a dinner we had! I can't recall what we had as a starter, but we surely had one, and then we had the specialty of the region: Poulet aux morilles et à la crème - We probably had some cheese but I certainly remember the dessert: Fresh raspberries with guess what? More crème fruit!. Mum and Dad obviously enjoyed some wine, but again nat the time it was beyond my care!
So when my children asked me what I would like them to cook for my birthday dinner last night, I thought it would be nice to try to make that recipe as a tribute to my late father, but also because I knew I could get some beautiful morilles (morels) from my friends at Commissary Kitchen...
In essence, the recipe is a glorified Chicken Fricassée with lots of shallots and garlic, as well as plenty butter and cream and a good dose of Chardonnay. It was cooked in the versatile Australian frying pan, which is conveniently located under a good light, so we could easily record the process for your benefit! So here it is without further delay...
My Birthday Dinner - Ceviche of scallops for starters!
My Birthday Dinner - Poulet aux Morilles - Chicken fricassee with Morels
My Birthday Dinner - Fromage et Dessert!
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading through my birthday celebrations....But there is more cooking on the way as I got a new set of "casseroles" as a present and I have been recently appointed as the exclusive Architectural Sales representative for a new brand of kitchen appliances from Italy!
From Uzes, you are about 20kms to the A6 freeway (although not free at all...) and if you are in a hurry, you can drive from Orange to Paris in about 6 hours and will cost you about 200$ in tolls and petrol, or take the TGV from Avignon, and 2h40 mn later you will be in the center of Paris for about the same price for two - less if you book in advance. B
But obviously, that would not be fun to tell you that story on this blog - although I love taking the TGV!
So, instead, I have patched up childhood or more recent memories of the places I like along the way, or have some historical connections with my family, or just plain fun, as visiting wineries and tasting my favourite wines!
And the first stop is just that:
Chateauneuf-du-Pape - the jewel of the southern Cotes-du-Rhone
Well, as the name indicates, the Pope mass wine has become the wine for the masses!
And yes, John XXII was responsible for most of the planting and the improvement of the winemaking.
And according to Wikipedia:
The village and three other surrounding communes produce wine, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the southern Rhône wine region. Unlike its northern Rhône neighbors, Châteauneuf-du-Pape permits thirteen different varieties of grape; the blend is usually predominantly Grenache. Other red grapes include Cinsault, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Muscardin, Syrah, Terret noir, andVaccarèse. White grapes include Grenache blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picardan, Roussanne, and Picpoul. In recent years, the trend has been to include fewer (or even none) of the allowed white varieties and rely heavily (or solely) upon the Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. One may suspect that this is a response to international wine-market trends and the desire to have this sometimes-rustic wine appeal to a broader commercial audience.
Below, some of my favourites, Vidal Fleury bien sur, Chateau de la Janasse, one of my dad's favourites and a few more worth your while...just looking at the labels will wet your appetite!
Somehow less known than Chateauneuf, it is an excellent southern Cotes-du-Rhone, its name means "great pleasure" in Latin and vines were planted for the enjoyement of the Roman troops stationed near by at the time!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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