We VCCA folks had lunch at the home of a French sculptor. She served us a delicious salade landoise which is a lightly dressed plate of greens with duck gizzards and dried duck breast.
Tonight, I ate a salade Gascogne at my favorite restaurant in Auvillar, Sadoul de la Tour. Salade Gascogne is toped with the aforementioned bits of duck plus a roasted duck leg and a nice slice of foie gras on toast. It smells like Thanksgiving. The waiter at Sadoul de la Tour looks like a cross between Tony Curtis and Emilio Estevez and always speaks French with me very patiently. After my salad and my dessert of glace liegois, I needed a digestif so I ordered an Armagnac and he brought it with 3 sugar cubes and explained to me that one can ease the firepower of the Armagnac by eating a couple of sugar cubes dipped in Armagnac first. Sort of a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.
Which made me remember that today at lunch the sculptor explained how the French like to partake of an eau de vie (which means literally water of life) after they have coffee following a meal. The eau de vie is poured directly into the empty but still warm coffee cup which enhances the aroma and the taste of the eau de vie. We had two to chose from--a locally made plum eau de vie that she had added vanilla bean pods to or a mirabelle (a tiny yellow plum the size of a cherry) eau de vie from the Alsace region. I chose the mirabelle.
Oh--and then there was the apple tart.
The concept of joie de vivre requires absolutely no explanation after a day like today.