Yes, as a matter of fact it is summer.
Or getting there, anyway. I can vouch that at least one of those peaches in the upper left was so juicy I had to wash all the way to my elbows after biting into it, and those black cherries are approaching complete and utter perfection. A nice light lunch after a leisurely walk to the market this morning. The Tomatologue still isn't in evidence, but tomatoes are coming in slowly, and the three beefhearts I bought (two of which are in the shot) were from a very small but nicely-priced selection from a small farm. The eggplants will soon be a pasta sauce I learned (but couldn't taste) last summer. As soon as the tomatoes really start to rock, I'm going to make that gazpacho again. And I can taste that for the first time, too. I'm looking forward to the summer's bounty, and the amount of water I lost on the hike to and from the market reminded me of the summer pace, which I also don't mind at all.
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The other thing I don't mind is the opening of the Estivales last Friday. This is the event which happens every Friday from now until Sept. 9, whereby a couple dozen wineries set up tasting stands, various food people set up "tapas" stands, and antiques merchants and crap merchants set up to sell everything from soap to nuts. I had the honor of escorting world-famous choreographer and dancer (and my former across-the-street neighbor from Austin) Deborah Hay last Friday (she was in town for Montpellier Danse, although, alas, her performance was sold out) and we made the mistake (unavoidable: she had dress rehearsal) of getting there at 10pm, when the teenage binge drinkers were already threatening to take charge. We managed to get a couple of glasses of wine, and then a nice combo plate from the ubiquitous Les Delices de Louise (they're often at the market, and always at affairs like this) and found a place where we could sit and talk, but I agree with the person on The Languedoc Forum who said that the trick is to get there early, do some tasting, and then head off to a restaurant. Because of the mob, I only got to taste two rosés, both very eccentric, and I took a bottle of one of them home: Le Puech, from Saint Clément-de-Rivière, classified as a "vin de pays du val de Montferrand," and managing to taste simultaneously of peaches and hay. Definitely a tricky wine to match, not that I'll ever see another bottle of it for sale.
One thing that draws people to Les Delices de Louise, however, is the smell of the farçous being fried. They're green patties, largely made of vegetables (although with some ham, in her case). I really must find a recipe for these things, because today at the market, there were some guys frying some up and offering samples, which they claimed were 100% vegetarian. Theirs were a bit crumblier than Les Delices', but they were, amazingly enough to me, even better. It was too early for lunch, but I bet there's nothing in a farçou you couldn't buy in the States, and they'd be a great party trick.
Watch this space; if I accomplish this, it will be blogged.
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It's stupid t-shirt season, too, and I'm already taking notes. On the way to the market I passed two women in identical blue shirts with a picture of a bulldog and the words WHERE IS MY OWNER? on them, but today's winner was the Japanese tourist kid who was walking with his girlfriend and whose shirt, in huge letters, declared
That's okay. A friend in Berlin came back from Japan with a t-shirt which actually said I Am A Stupid American in beautiful Japanese letters. We must extract revenge.
And I'm trying to think of appropriate punishment for the clothing store I pass every day which has, as its motto, "Be Fashion...Think Seven's."
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Finally, have you ever dreamed of having all of Montpellier on your smart phone? You have? There's drugs for that, you know. There's also now an app for it, according to the cards guys were handing out yesterday. Apparently in a few hours there's going to be an official launch at Cafe Joseph of a family of apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android from the toutmontpellier.fr website. So far, there's only the invitation to the launch available here, although the store connection may be up by the time you read this. The launch promises all manner of local celebs in attendance, but I'm not going to go, both because I have other things I want to do this evening, and because this obviously expensive card and launch party and website and app has neglected to actually specify where in the hell Cafe Joseph is.
A fine, and very Montpellierian, start, y'all.
10 months ago