Archive for July 21st, 2018

July 21, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXV

And as had a longer weekend this time, here I am again to tell about our daily lives in our belle France! And even better our gorgeous Morbihan Breton. Today was hot sunny 25C or 77K and just bright perfect, even if we got up with a light rain at 8h. By noon it was just perfect day indeed.

As told in my previous blog post on my travels in the Morbihan , we were today to do some heavy work which was needed.  First , painted the laundry room in our basement , now just perfect. But still more work in my vacation in the basement, as the ultimate goal is to do two bedrooms for family and guests in the future.

Pluvigner

I went out and did my gardener’s  best as usually it was my dear late wife Martine who took care of it. We have 1000 square meters of land including the house, the garden is about 750 square meters and the house about 255 sm. So its a lot of land, and hopefully my boys still here helps me a lot.

Pluvigner

As my boys were changing TV from the one they got yesterday at Eletro Depot as in my previous post, the old one needed to be discarded.  We have been flooded now with pawn shops or cash outlets in our area and the new one was Easy Cash, (very nice French name ::)).  They were not only able to sell the old TV there but ,also some manga books and now they know. The store takes in almost anything so video games, cd’s, dvd’s etc. They will be back to clean up some of their older stuff which is hardly seen nowadays.

We came back home and already did some work on the items we plan to sell including mines. Have very old CD especially which hardly listen to nowadays no need to have clutter in the house. Next time. This is the time of family vacation but as we are here far (min 6 hrs car drive) still do not think if going to visit some family members or just take off somewhere. We are always last minutes travelers. Only thing fix is Honfleur in late August but not really vacation, will be there to drop the ashes of my wife to sea with the SNSM volunteer lifeguards Notre Dame boat.

Oh yes we did eat of course. This time at home we had lunch with our great Krombacher German beer ,our wonderful local terrine of pork with 5 peppers, brie cheese from the market of Vannes, and the local Pluvigner baguette bread here call Breizh (which is Brittany in Breton language).  Also, top it off with wonderful saucisson sec home style with 3 peppers and Corréze area one a bit spicy call the Correzo.

The day still long and time to catch up on my previous travels and update my posts. It will keep me occupied and nothing better than going over memories at home on a hot day out.  Best weekend for most or finishing some.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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July 21, 2018

Some wine news from France!

I let this subject slip by often, even if it is dear to me. Read my blog on wines and you will see my credentials. Maybe wine is so personal I dare not write much about it, but it is there with me always with me, wine is in me. Ever since my maternal grandmother let me taste some when 8 ,it has not stop. It’s part of our culture regardless on what the cro magnons will say.

Let me bring you some news on the wine trade in France, my belle cher France!

As we are getting into Summer, and barbecue is here as I write lol!  On the meat side, almost all combinations are possible , really stop been bigots all works. You have mastered barbecue cooking so that the taste of “burnt” is not too marked and does not eclipse that of the wine. On the other hand, vine branches used as fuels develop very subtle smoky flavors in meat. This gives relief to the food-wine chords.

With a rib of beef, tender and fond, this piece of noble red meat does not have its equal to magnify the Grands crus. It’s time to get out of the cellar a beautiful Hermitage, a Côte Rotie, a grand cru of Pauillac or a great Burgundy wine of which one is particularly proud. There is no possible error; on the other hand, treat the seasoning of this meat with peppers sorted on the shutter, few sauces and fireworks.

With skewers of poultry; the ideal, is the red wines of the Loire Valley type Sancerre or Saumur-Champigny  (love it) which give the response to poultry with their fruity, their vegetable tip but also a characteristic sour freshness. But the Burgundy red wines such as the Mercurey or the Beaujolais wines also lend themselves to the game of concordance with this type of food.  Lovers of white wines and skewers that mix poultry, lemon and vegetables will turn to a little fleshy cuvées; Meursault, Pouilly-Fuissé, white wines from the Massif de La Clape.

With grilled fish, try the rosés Provencal, the white wines of Cassis, those of the range of Ballet or Corsica enjoy the company of a bar or a grilled sea bream. And with sardines? Prefer the rosés of Roussillon, like those of Collioure powerful, with aromas of red fruits. The rosé, color of summer, is also the wine of the Grill par excellence! Prefer those who possess matter and density such as the rosés of Tavel, a rosé Bourgueil or a Marsannay.  There you go from 45 years of wine drinker, collecting, selling, and diploma guy from France and Spain.

A wonderful  event always looking forward to it if not always attending like this year. This will the 71st anniversary,of  the Wine Fair of Alsace inviting you from Friday 27 July to Sunday 5 August 2018 in Colmar.  Since 1948 the Wine Fair of Alsace has been vibrating in the summer thanks to numerous animations and a daily concert program in its open-air theater of 10,000 places!

It is around a good glass that professionals and wine lovers exchange opinions and wine knowledge. For others it will be an opportunity to discover good vintages at the stand of the vine leaf and share their impressions. The Fair is an opportunity to participate in commented tastings, lectures and initiations animated by passionate professionals. As each year you will also be able to attend the enthronement of the Queen of Vines. This year’s program will include Cooking classes provided by great chefs, Cabaret Colmarien that promises laughter and wonder, Children’s entertainment, -Stage OFF with regional artists, burlesque dance shows with Alsatian pinups.

Practical information shows the dates from Friday 27 July to Sunday 5 August at the Fairgrounds and Congress of Colmar. Monday to Saturday from 11h30 to 01h00. Sunday from 11h to 01h00. Rates: from 4.50 euros to 55 euros. More info here: Colmar Wine Fair

Some of my favorite bottles is the Les Folatières the largest Premier Cru vineyard in the Côte de Beaune commune of Puligny-Montrachet. It is located on the same line of the slope as the Le Montrachet and Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru vineyards, although its higher end reaches further up the slope of the Côte d’Or.  Les Folatières Premier Cru wines, made from Chardonnay, are typically Puligny  focused and minerally, but with nutty, rich overtones of fruit.

The vineyard covers 17 hectares (42 acres) Les Folatieres is right in the middle of the slope and is surrounded by other Premier Cru vineyards like Clavaillon and Champ Gain, with village-level vineyards visible in the distance at the bottom of the hill. Unlike many Burgundy Premier Cru climats, which are mostly named for the state of the soil or the vegetation there, Les Folatières’ name has a rather colorful origin. It refers to lights seen in the vineyard from a distance, although whether the word signifies fairies or the weather phenomenon known as St. Elmo’s fire is a cause of some debate.

The leading estates making wine from this vineyard include the Domaine Leflaive (my favorite) , Lalou Bize-Leroy’s Domaine d’Auvenay, and Domaine Etienne Sauzet. Their webpages to follow.

Domaine Leflaive

Domaine Etienne Sauzet

Domaine Leroy_ Auvenay

A bit on mother nature.  After the violent hail storms that destroyed more than 7,000 hectares of Bordeaux vineyards last May, a new stormy episode hit the Gironde last Sunday 07/15/18)  evening and touched some 2,000 hectares of the most affected areas of Bordeaux . During this last episode of Hail are most affected the  Médoc, Graves, Bourgeais and the Sauternes, according to the president of the CIVB (interprofessional Wine Council of Bordeaux) Allan Sichel, at the General Assembly of this forum on Monday 16 July. More on the wines ,grapes, history , all you need to know of Bordeaux here:  Bordeaux wines

 

Pauillac

And you got some news, the latest from the world of wines, or Bordeaux or well France, what else is there. Always trying to be imitated, but never surpassed.  My opinion of course.

Enjoy the wines ,it’s good for you, and helps keep a long long tradition of human existence alive. Drink in moderation, always with a meal and good friends. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

July 21, 2018

A Palace in the forests of Castilla!

Since my youth ,I have been coming to this area of Spain first with my mother, than friends, then girlfriend, and my dear late wife Martine, and last with the boys. A lifetime of memories all floating now in the forest of Castilla. This is the fairy tail dream of a man native of Versailles, France.

The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso is an 18C palace, summer residence of the kings of Spain since Felipe V of Spain. It is located in the village of San Ildefonso, in the province of Segovia, 80 km from Madrid. In Baroque style, it is surrounded by French gardens and 26 sculptured fountains. It is now open to the public as a museum.

I have written a blog entry on it a while back ,here it is for reference: Palace of San Ildefonso

The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, located in the Sierra du Guadarrama, is an example of European palatial architecture, dream over by Felipe grandson of king Louis XIV of France born at Versailles, baptised at Notre Dame Church of Versailles and move over as bourbon king of Spain under Felipe V. Current king of Spain Felipe VI is a descendant.

Of course, been born at the Palace of Versailles and coming over, the need to try to recreate the splendor of the old place was imminent. So he decided to ordered built the palace in the forest around the village of San Ildenfonso. This he succeeded in a smaller scale but just as beautiful.

The story goes that in 1450, king Henry IV built a hunting lodge at the site of the present palace. Later, the Catholic monarchs gave the property to the monks of the Order of St. Jerome of Parral. In 1720, Felipe V, the first Spanish king of the Bourbon dynasty, bought the land and ordered built the royal Palace of San Ildefonso. In 1724, the wings were added to house the courtyard.  A new facade on the garden ends the building in 1735. We owe king Carlos III the beautiful portal that marks the main access of the ensemble. The palace has 40 rooms with Flemish paintings from the 17C and a collection of tapestries. In the Royal Chapel, a tomb contains the bodies of Felipe V and Isabel de Farnesio. The French gardens are inspired by Marly’s and the 26 monumental fountains are part of splendid water games. A real Versailles lost in the forest

It is a splendid example of the European palatial architecture and has gardens and fountains inspired by Versailles, with constant references to legends and mythology. The palace’s rooms are adorned with Carrara marble, Japanese lacquers and crystal lamps. Its name is due to an old farm of the monks of the Order of Saint Jerome of Parral. Felipe V  is buried here.

San Ildefonso San Idefonso San Idefonso San Idefonso San Idefonso

king Felipe V wanted a garden that reminds him of  his childhood in Versailles. To develop these 145 ha, the landscapers of the Grama and the gardeners were inspired by Versailles and gave a unique identity to their realization. Forest perspectives and French country aisles connect well-independent garden parts in the Arabic style. The water games of the Neptune Basin, the new waterfall and the Fountain of water jet and the chestnut trees imported directly from France are superb.

A wonderful side trip from Segovia or even Madrid. Easy to get to the shortest cheapest way is by the Puerta de Moncloa under the Tunnel from Madrid and continues on the A-6 highway passing the town of Las Rosas (famous for the outlet mall) get on the road M601 exit/salida 39 direction Puerto de Navacerrada and continue on this direction and road passing the town of Navacerrada, Cercedilla, with hilly roads until you reach the town of San Idefonso.The palace will be on your right hand side. There is train and bus  « La Sepulvedana »  but only took the bus as a boy with my mother afterward all has been by car.

Some of the webpages to help you plan your trip here are

National Heritage Royal sites of Spain on the Palace

Tourist office of Madrid on the Palace of San Ildefonso

Tourist office of Castilla y Léon on the palace

Tourist office of San Ildefonso

A really nice place to visit and one I would have no problems in a repeat. Hope it helps

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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