August 15, 2005

August 11 -- Domaine du Viala, Paraza France

August 11 -- Domaine du Viala, Paraza France
Vacation is winding down, but we are doing our best to keep the French economy vibrant by continuing to drink their wines and eat their food.

Last night we had a great thunder storm. Mostly wind, lightning, and thunder with just some rain. Quite a show. It was still kind of funky this morning. Julie, Christopher, and I went to Narbonne, a nearby city. It was market day along the canal there. Beautiful french fabics, but we did not buy anything. From there we went to les Halles, the permanent market in the town. Lots of cheeses, wines, produce, and fresh seafood. We bought a couple of pizzas for lunch, as well as some local sea salt and honey. We have a new favourite appetizer--warm goat cheese with just a touch a honey on it.

After our outdoor lunch we found the company (Connoisseur) that we are renting our boat from next June. They even let us go aboard the boat we are planning to rent, the Magnifique . It was quite a boat and we know that it will work out well for us.

We went wine tasting with with Regis (the gite owner) to Roubia, a nearby village. There we visited Pique-Perlou winery owned by his fried Serge. A once in a lifetime experience as we drank wines right out of the tanks with the owner. We had a late harvest grenache dessert wine. The Minervois AOC (appellation) is 40km by 25km and very unique. Only 5 types of grapes can be grown (grenache, syrah, mendevois, carlleon, and something else). The vintner poured wine right out of these huge tanks into bottles which we corked ourselves. We have subsequently found Pique Perlou wines in the the San Francisco Bay Area at Odd Lots Wines in Albany.

While we were tasting, the kids were picking berries. Tonight was leftovers as we did not come close to finishing our dinner last night. Casoulete, poulet basque, chevre with miel (goat cheese and honey) crepes with orange, creme fraiche and chocolate.

The circus is in the village for one night and Patrick and Emily went on their own. This is not a huge circus as it all fits in two small trucks. But at 5 euros per kid it is a cheap evenings entertainment.


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