May 29, 2009

Garden Wonders

This spider takes on the color of its it has taken up residence on a wild garlic blossom. Isn't it magnificent? And that is coming from a person who screams when she sees a spider. I took dozens of pics!

On this particular day, the butterflies were all over the wild lilac in the garden. Captured this one with its wings opened and it appears that she has not shed all her cocoon.....

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May 1, 2009

FRENCH ROSE....An Endangered Species???

I was in the grocery store yesterday and took this photo. Oh, what choices of rose (sorry I cannot make the accent happen on Blogger with my American keyboard) we have here in Provence and particularly, the Var! LOOK! This is ALL rose!!!....A whole aisle!!!!

So, those who know me know that I am a strong proponent of FRENCH rose. OMG, I cannot believe what is happening here in Europe.....blend red with white to create a rose....preposterous...ludicrous......

Below is an article from that fully explains what is happening. I am not sure what one can do on their own to stop this but I can tell you that the French and particularly those here in the Var (the oldest wine producing region in France) are in disbelief that this could happen. I hear the word 'politics' alot.

For centuries, French winemakers – particularly those in Provence, the world’s leading rosé region and the site of France’s oldest vineyards – have created the “gold standard” for dry rosé by briefly macerating red grapes and removing the juice before it becomes heavily colored. This production technique provides the wine with complexity, balance and a unique flavor profile.

“It has taken many years of patience, professionalism and exacting attention to quality control to persuade consumers that rosé is a distinctive, refreshing selection for wine lovers throughout the world,” stated Francois Millo, directorof CIVP–Wines of Provence. “Simply mixing up a solution of five percent red wine and 95 percent white wine creates a product that, while pink in color, is by its very nature different from true rosé, which is made from red grapes.
“This proposal will destroy the true wine’s hard-earned image and undermine a time-honored tradition of production excellence.”
According to CIVP/Provence Wine Council, the EU’s recommended compromise of labeling the red and white mixed wine as “blended” rosé is not an acceptable solution, as the designation will mislead consumers into believing that this unharmonious mix of “white with a dash of red” is a true rosé. Polls indicate that 87 percent of French consumers also oppose the EU plan.

The EU has stated that allowing the creation of a new, blended rosé will open additional export markets for Italian and Spanish wine producers who may have an oversupply of red and white wines.
The global market for rosé is booming, with rosé making up a fifth of the wine bought in France, where it has overtaken white wine, and one-tenth of wine sold worldwide. In the United States, rosé wine sales grew 53 percent by value in 2007, according to a Nielsen Company survey. France is the leading producer of rosé in the world, and Provence is the leading producer in France, with the world’s only research center specializing in rosé.

The EU will vote in a referendum on the new blending technique on June 19th. If the ruling is approved, the blending technique could begin by August 1, 2009. A delegation of wine producers representing CIVP/Provence Wine Council will be in New York from April 22-25 to introduce their 2008 wines, primarily rosés. During this time, they will be meeting with consumers, members of the trade and the media. The Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), known in the United States as the Provence Wine Council, is an organization representing all Provence wine producers and trade companies. Its' mission is to promote and advance the wines of the Provence region of France. Founded in 1956, the organization today represents more than 750 producers that together produce 95 percent of Provence’s Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) wines, or 6 percent of all French AOC wines.

La Premiere Salade

Oh my goodness, and I do mean goodness! At this time of the year, the garden is delivering the yummiest fresh greens....big rounds of tender lettuces, baby spinach, radishes galore, and, my favorite, the rocket (arugula). Toss this up and serve with Xavier's vinaigrette. I promise you will never get tired of it. The vinaigrette is in my cookbook but Xavier is always changing it up. The one pictured here includes some broken pecans (hand delivered from Georgia!) and onion tops. Of course, there is nothing better than a French baguette (a little mouse got into this one) for cleaning your plate. I love this stuff......In fact, I have just imposed a personal restriction on more baguette with has been out of control.

Want another treat with this vinaigrette? Grate fresh raw beets...3 or so....and add a grated apple, toss with vinaigrette and lots of fresh parsley....For this recipe add a bit more salt.....and you might want a little more red wine vinegar. (that's Xavier talking on the other side of the kitchen!)

Spring has sprung in Provence.....and I am lovin' it.