French Market Newsletter – Gardens centre winter Market Sale – Lavender sachets from Provence – Weekly Recipe Tomates Mordicus and Sancerre Blanc

Dear French Market Shoppers,

With the sudden onset of summer in the middle of winter, I was completely taken by surprise yesterday as I was dressed in my winter woollies and boots when it was 27 degrees outside. Long may it last, well at least until this weekend. Saturday is still sunny so plan an outdoor picnic with some French cheese and wine.

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I can tell the schools are back as there are far more people in the centre. From today until Saturday is the Gardens Centre Winter Market Sale and most stores have tables outside with special offers, it’s a good time to come and visit the Centre.

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The smell of dried lavender takes me back to my childhood when I used to help my mother pick the dried lavender in our garden to make sachets to store with our linen. I recently received some dried lavender flowers from Provence and have made some lavender sachets with them in little organza gift bags. These make a lovely house present.

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My wines and spirits have been selling like hot cakes (!) which has really thrilled me, the most popular have been the two Superior Bordeaux Chateau Bire 2011 and Domaine de la Martinette 2010, the Burgundy Pinot Noir La Vignee, the Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Blanc from the Loire and the Triennes Rose from Provence, as these all represent good quality wines at the right price.

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I have loaded up the current wine list on my website at the following link; these wines should always be in stock in the shop (I expect to get my replenished stock in tomorrow morning). I also have a “Suzanne’s special Collection” list which is solely by order, as there is a limited stock and they are subject to a minimum of 2 working days to get to the shop. Please contact me for more information.

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My cheeses are also keeping everyone happy especially the pungent Brie de Meaux which is on the Winter special until Saturday. Apart from the Brie de MeauxI have runny Camembert from Normandie, stinky Epoisses and triple cream Delice from Burgundy, Munster from Alsace, unpasteurised Comte and Morbier from the Jura, cow byre smelling Reblochon and smooth Tomme from Savoie; tart Goats cheese from Perigord plus a range of blues including strong Roquefort, subtle Fourme d’Ambert and creamy Bleu d’Auvergne.

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My pates this week include the traditional Country Terrine with herbs and garlic, Terrine Forrestiere with woodland mushrooms, coarse textured Duck and green peppercorn and smooth creamy Duck liver mousse. Plus I have saucisson sec and Rosette in stock.

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This week I felt like some tasty, juicy tomatoes, like the ones in the markets in France, because I had found this delicious garlicky recipe, Tomates Mordicus, in my Good French Cooking book by Mapie Toulouse-Lautrec. The recipe is really simple and ideal for a brunch or a light supper. The tomatoes are slow cooked then topped with Emmental which melts beautifully over the hot tomato. Added to this is bread fried with garlic and a fried egg. Once the dish is assembled there are lovely layers of different flavours. Click here to see the recipe on this website, you can also download a pdf from the recipe page.

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To match the acidity of tomatoes the recommended wine to pair with them is either a Sauvignon Blanc or a Beaujolais. I decided to pair this flavoursome dish with an Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Blanc 2012. So much of French wine has a long history; Alphonse Mellot is no exception, with an ancestor Cesar Mellot being appointed as Wine Counsellor to Louis XlV. This Sauvignon Blanc wine is a good example of the Sancerre wines with a fresh taste of peaches, gooseberries, aniseed, lime and vanilla.

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I look forward to seeing you soon and wish you a very happy, sunny weekend,

Regards

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Suzanne

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