Baby it’s Cold Outside!

Hello fellow campers and gourmet’s!

Gourmet Girl Denise here from the Loire River Valley in France. It is definitely winter here. I can see my breath inside the house as well as outside, and the temperature is 1% celsius. For those of you who don’t know the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius, freezing in Celsius is 0%, 32% in Fahrenheit. That’s cold!
I’ve asked a few neighbours how cold it gets and they just smile. Evidently it can snow here. They have reassured me that a light dusting on the ground is as snowy as it gets. But even so, that is quite a change for this Santa Barbara, California girl. I am used to 60 degree winters, and snow just never falls in town, just some rare years in the surrounding mountains. It will take some getting used to but I do believe that cold weather is a good thing: it kills bad bugs like fleas and ticks, and perhaps even bacteria and viruses. So I’ll just go buy a down jacket and wait patiently for spring.

I have begun to feel very sorry for the adorable little birds that are everywhere around my house in the cold forest. There are no more seeds for them to eat and they are so tiny. So I went to the store and bought these round seed balls to hang from the bird feeder outside my kitchen window. As soon as I did, WHOOSH! The birds descended upon them like voracious locusts! Except they are much cuter. They look like these:

So before the winter is over I will certainly have made a dent in my savings feeding the birds. But heck, who can resist?

Christmas is right around the corner, and thanks to our friend Jamie Schler here in Chinon, France, The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook is included in the Huffington Post’s list of the best single subject cookbooks for gifting that foodie in your life. Thank you Jamie! She is an excellent food writer and has contributed to many publications, as well as having just published her first cookbook, Orange Appeal. You will find Orange Appeal listed in this article as well.

And speaking of Jamie, I begin a food writing workshop tomorrow in Chinon at her Hotel Diderot! I am very excited and honoured to be taught by two of the best food writers around, Jamie and her partner Domenica Marchetti. I hope to hone my skills so that this blog will continue to improve and hopefully motivate all of you wonderful readers to get cooking and get out into nature asap! Well, ok. Maybe when it’s a bit warmer.

So for now it’s time to cuddle up in front of a fireplace and eat roasted chestnuts, just like in the popular Christmas song. There are Chestnut trees growing wild everywhere here in the Loire. And the ground in September is littered with these:And then perhaps wash them down with a warm beverage. Here is a recipe I found to keep you warm on those cold nights

And don’t forget to put one out for Santa!
Happiest of holidays to you all!
Denise, Gail and Lindsey