Late Spring in the Loire

Hello Friends! Gourmet Girl Denise here from the Loire river valley, France. The weather here just went from blazing hot in the ’90s to intermittent thundershowers, with some parts of France experiencing flooding. This is a real change from drought-stricken southern California. I can’t remember when I experienced rain in the month of June in SoCal.

My potager is thriving and my Iris’s have given way to wild poppies, ferns, and foxgloves. My roses and lavenders have begun to bloom and the bumblebees are buzzing about. They are so fat and furry and very gentle! They are like the panda bears of the insect world.

While the weather was warm I got together with my friends at the Moulin Bregeon for a Barbeque. We had quite the feast! I made our Cast Iron Ratatouille, from our cookbook The Gourmet Girls Go Camping, in tart form and it turned out quite well. There’s a layer of carmelized onions under the golden zucchini, tomato, and eggplant. I used pre-prepared puff pastry dough from the market for the crust.

I also made apricot and frangipane tart. Yum!

Late Spring brings white asparagus to the Loire too. Most folks in France eat it ‘en salade’ or cold with a vinaigrette.

My friend Bernard the chef at Moulin Bregeon made this strawberry, rhubarb, and blueberry tart.

After all of these goodies, I felt the need to exercise so the next day I went on a 40-kilometer bike ride through the Foret de Chandelais with my friends Alain and Gilles.

It was grueling but the scenery here in the French countryside is so beautiful you tend to forget that your legs are in pain. This kind of exercise also enables a person to eat guilt-free and with all of the amazing food and wine here that is a good thing! I’m ready for the next BBQ!

How are you spending the balmy days of late spring and summer? What are you cooking on the grill? Let us know! And have a safe and happy Summer.

Until next time,

Denise, Gail, and Lindsey

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