The sacred and the profane

Greetings from the Loire Valley!

It seems that it has been quite a while since I last communicated with you, perhaps because Spring is such a busy time here and I am sure for all of you as well. Here in France, we experienced an unprecedented freeze that decimated the wine grapes as well as froze all of the blooms on just about every fruit tree in France, except, of course, in Provence. The saddest part of all this is that we had a very warm end of March, beginning of April, and my very old Mirabelle plum tree came into bloom along with the unseasonably warm weather and the bees came out! So there was pollination, which did not occur in unison last year so there was no fruit. I was so elated to see the bees covering the blooms! And Milo was there to witness!

Then came a late frost. And now there is not one piece of fruit on any of the trees in the Loire. It is a disaster. You may have seen pictures online or in the news of the many vintners lighting heaters to save the grape harvest. I am not sure how or if they survived the frost. I do know none of my fruit trees here at Le Petit Saint Barnabé will bear fruit this year. No cherries, no pears, no plums. So very sad.

Well, in spite of the weather, which of course we can not control, life goes on. Dinners are shared with friends and great wines are opened, and the culinary traditions of France continue, in spite of the loss.

Below, salmon salad with greens from the garden and avocado.

Vegetable gardens are thriving as we are having a very rainy spring and mine is providing radishes, baby lettuces, and delicious strawberries! So all is not lost! And we don’t have to use city water to keep our gardens growing because it rains every day for just a little while, then the sun comes out. Perfect!

This is a variety that fruits only once a year in my garden called “Garguette”. They are the best strawberries in the world!

Here are my lettuces and potatoes growing.

And of course French radishes! So good dipped in a spot of butter and salt.

And my irises and roses are blooming their little hearts out.

So we humans are resilient and so is nature. We will always have setbacks that are out of our control. And there is always if you can step outside just at twilight, a Maxfield Parrish sky to inspire you. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Good night and God bless.

Denise, Gail, and Lindsey. The Gourmet Girls on Fire!

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