Perfect hangover weather here, 3000 feet up in the French Alps. After bludgeoning temperatures of over 30 degrees even up high on the plateaux it’s a relief to have them lowered as a result of the rain. Wisps of cloud are clinging to the wooded alpine slopes as they move through the valley before fading away. The rain falls soft and gentle, just like Van Morrison describes it in some of his best songs.
We are hungover because last night Pascale and Lionel invited us over to their place for a nosh up of the most wonderful tartiflette, made from potatoes and onions combined with lardons and Reblochon cheese produced from raw milk by the dairy farmers in the mountains of Savoie, where we are still camping. We began with a rose wine and croutons before ‘changing colour’ to a beauteous red wine which accompanied the main dish. I have never experienced such a matching up of wine and food. There was jambon sec and cornichons to follow with the crispy Batavia lettuce leaves and simple but perfectly proportioned oil-and-vinegar dressing. In the meantime a partly-drunk bottle bearing the hand-written legend poire 2015 had been produced and put on the table. When the Nescafe coffee and sweet fruit tartlets from the local boulangerie appeared so did four small liqueur glasses. As he poured out the pear schnapps from the bottle Lionel explained the label. In the region only certain families are permitted by law to distil alcohol and they are usually approached sometime in the autumn when the fruit is at its ripest to make the different flavoured liqueurs. Before the first tasting Lionel described it as ‘anti-freeze’, which fortunately proved to be a misrepresentation. Though it was obviously pretty pokey. More conversation followed and this led to another bottle of clear liquid being produced; this time we learned it had been flavoured with the ‘mirabelle’ plum, and dated back to 2010. A vote was taken and the second bottle took precedence. What I should say is that the rain had been pelting down since soon after our arrival at their caravan-and-awning and the thunder crashing and the lightning flashing down the mountain valley for hours. Essentially, we were captive. So my glass kept being refilled with plum schnapps as we awaited a break in the weather. By midnight we decided that, rain or not, bed beckoned and for the umpteenth time we made our farewells. This time successfully.
That was last night. Today…
Posted from Petit Bornand les Glières, Haute Savoie