Bonjour à tous...and a grand merci for your patience and the gentle email nudges that were sent my way during my (albeit unintentional) hiatus. My goodness...who knew La Fourchette had so many followers! It's nice to know you are there.
Classes have ended. Final exams are behind me. And as to the “list of things to do”...well...it goes something like this:
Desk not cleaned off...check!
Billing not completed...check!
Summer studying not yet organized...check!
Oh well...it’s early yet and perhaps the most important thing on my list of things to do in recent days was to go to the marché because the result was that I brought home the inspiration that lives in the colors of a sunset over the Mediterranean!
Having recently witnessed just such a sunset, the colors were still dancing in my head as one day rolled into another and then suddenly, there we were at Saturday again!
My Saturday ritual (which actually began at the open air market in Del Mar, California) is to do dinner shopping at the marché for whatever-strikes-my-fancy aas well as getting flowers for the house. On this day it was roses...my usual larger bouquet of something that sings to me in the key of “not-too-expensive” and always an additional two roses that go on the mantel of spotted brown Le Tholonet marble from the old quarry at Mt. Ste. Victoire. My favorite flower vendor and his wife are big fans of Bodhi and they are often quite generous with me (last week it was an extra bouquet of pink peonies!) This time I found that an additional rose had been added to my bundle. As Monsieur Flower Vendor handed me the papaya-colored sunset wrapped in shades of soft gray tissue, he whispered that the extra rose was for Bodhi. (I promised my sister not to make this a “dog-blog”, but he’s actually quite a popular little personality in the ‘hood!)
My sunset collecting continued as I stopped in at my favorite lettuce vendors for a fresh-from-the-garden red-leaf lettuce and a few Cavaillon melons. (The last bit of lettuce didn’t get quite finished last week: Refrigerator not cleaned out...check!) There is a story to this next shade of sunset on the palette that is these melons. From the fertile region of Cavaillon, just north of Aix, their pastel outer skins, painted at regular intervals around the perfectly rounded globes with a darker shade of green, crack open to reveal a golden orange flesh that is sweeter than any melon I’ve tasted...that would be EVER tasted!
I fell in love with the Cavaillon melons during my travels to this part of the world and craved their honey flavor most when I was trying to enjoy a summer cantaloupe in California. One day, I walked into my local supermarket in San Diego’s North County and discovered, to my delight, a crate of Cavaillon melons planted squarely in a produce display just as I entered. Did I squeal with that aforementioned delight??! I jolly well could have! This was a connection with the land of Provence and all that is good about it: the markets, the lovely vast patches of agricultural activity that I love driving through, the love of good, fresh food that is so woven into the tapestry of life in the South of France...I was actually standing in front of the possibility to refresh all that anchored me to this place from too far away in a juicy mouthful of French melon.
I picked out one of lovely and very petite melons and carried it to the cashier’s checkout without completing the shopping I had originally come to do. (I can be like that sometimes!) So lost in my reverie of “my Provence” was I that although I had checked out every last detail of the red French label that was attached to the melon’s belly, I had failed to look at the price. Imagine my sticker shock when the cashier announced dryly “That will be 9 dollars and 54 cents.” Yes, that little petite gem weighed in at a wonkin’ 9 dollars! Ouch! It was to be my little contribution to a brunch with friends later that morning.
My shock began to soften on the trip down to brunch and the anticipation of digging into that melon was beginning to override the financial consequences. But with the balance never quite realized before walking in the door with my petite gift for brunch – and even before a hug or a good morning or a “How are you?” had been exchanged - I went directly to setting up the experience of this foreign delicacy for my hosts: “You will never believe what this baby cost?!?!” I believe that was followed – finally – with an explanation about why it was so important to me to have spent nine dollars on a small piece of fruit. In hindsight, I do hope the romance of the moment of sharing a little slice of Provence wasn’t too dashed by my clumsy entry...but then again, I’m not sure the disclosure of the price might not have enhanced the whole experience for D and A. ...and besides, I think they love me for some of those quirky things I do!
If these show up in a market near you, make the leap! It will be worth every penny...errr, dollar!
A petite p.s. to my friends, new vineyard owner, Jean-Marc Espinasse at the former French-Wine-A-Day and his writer-wife, Kristin at French-Word-A-Day, are in the process of moving to their new digs on that recently purchased vineyard. You can read about their new adventures as a new chapter opens in their lives, which included a recent blast of a Mistral wind and a storm that brought heavy skies and some torrents of rain in these parts. A bit challenging for our new wine grower! May the result of the recent weather challenges result in a Grand Vin du Mistral! Bon Courage to you both! (These are not their "new digs", but I thought of them as I passed this winery near Mt. Ste. Victoire and immediately sent good wishes on that stormy wind for their baby vines to survive the Mistral that was battering us at the time.)