Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday Market Day

We get up early enough to get to the market by 10. Today's market includes several butchers. We buy cheese and "jambon sec" (prosciutto)from one vendor. Then buy fruits and vegetables from another vendor. There is a vendor selling clothes as well and Katie finds a cute skirt and sweater, but decides not to purchase today. We run into Pat at market who invites us to their house for coffee when we've finished. We stop at the boulangerie to buy bread and then the local grocers as we've heard that they have excellent croissants (better and cheaper than the bakery). True enough. 5 croissants for 2 Euros ($3). We walk up toward the old town to reach John and Pat's house where we have coffee on their roof-top terrace. The sun is glorious, the roofs of the medieval town show their clay tile roofs and chimneys around us and the migratory birds are diving around the rooftops. We get lots more information on the town and region and learn of some wineries to check out. We see John's wine cellar on the way out and admire the collection while at the same time wishing we had the same access to good and reasonably priced wines to cellar and age. (Sigh)

But we have other shopping to do and need to get lunch before finishing our day's shopping. We try out the cheeses from the market. Yumm... we have no idea what we are eating - can't remember the names, but pick out the distinctive taste of goat cheese, a mild sheep's cheese and a brie type cheese from Languedoc. The croissants are indeed better and cheaper than those in the bakery. We wash it all down with French amber beer.

We decide to buy wine before going to the supermarket. Tony has brought us a 5 litre jug called a "bidon". You bring it to a winery that sells "vrac" which is wine out of a spout, right from the cask. We've had the wine cooperative in Murviel (next town over) recommended to us and, after giving Katie the tour of the church and chateau, we get to the "salle de vente" just after it opens again at 2 PM. We buy 5 litres of a red St. Chinian AOC for 1,33 Euros (about $2) a litre and then choose a Syrah Rosé in a bottle for 3,85 (about $5).

Wine safely inside the trunk, we decide to follow the sign to the Château Coujan we've seen along the roadside. We travel out along a single lane road amongst the vinyards and eventually end up at the château. We find we can do "dégustation" (wine tasting) and promise to come back next week when Mike and Browen are with us.

Then, we begin following a gravel path (road would be too civilized for it). It travels across the countryside, nothing but vinyards on either side of it. A jogger we had passed earlier passes us and we must pass him back. There's not really room for both of us on the same path. After several kilometres, including crossing a low place that says "interdite au temps de submersion" (forbidden in times of submersion). In other words, look out when it rains. Sure enough, we cross a bit of cement that is actually lower by a couple inches than the stream bed. We come to a tarmac road and decide that it's time to finish the grocery shopping and spend a bit of time on the terrasse of our apartment to enjoy the fine weather.

Shopping completed, we are now sitting on our terrass with glasses of rosé wine, enjoying the bright blue of the Mediterranean sky and the warmth of the sunlight. Dave has figured out the iPod and we even have his favorite music. Have I mentioned that life is good?

Tomorrow we pick up Christie in Lyon - 4 hours by car leaving at 5 AM to meet her at 9 AM. We're thinking of visiting the Roman ruins in Orange on our way back tomorrow.

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