|My Grape Paris, Laura Bradbury|
Laura Bradbury published her latest Bestseller, My Grape Paris, (read my review here) her fifth book in the Grape Series on May 1st. She and her Burgundian husband Franck split their time between the West Coast of Canada and their four vacation rentals in the vineyards of France and I am delighted she is taking us to Burgundy today, for a typically Burgundian #LazySundayinFrance.
Lazy Sunday In Burgundy by Laura Bradbury
“Burgundians spend so much time at the table!” complained my friend Marie, who hails from Paris and Normandy.
“Isn’t that just a French thing?” I asked, having newly moved to Burgundy like her.
She shook her head. “On Sundays in Paris or Normandy we might spend two hours at lunch, but in Burgundy lunch can last literally all day.
Six months later, when our families had become established friends, neither of us were complaining. Sundays in Burgundy were now indisputably set aside for visiting and eating.
It became an unspoken ritual that we would either go down to Marie’s home in Beaune or her family of six would come up to our house among the vineyards in Villers-la-Faye. We included whoever else was around—family, other friends, and new acquaintances.
When I was hosting in Villers-la-Faye, Franck and I, with the “help” of our two oldest daughters, carefully set the long wooden table from a nearby monastery, bought at a local brocante. Franck and I searched for ages for a table big and sturdy enough for Burgundian meals.
Around eleven thirty or so, Marie and her family would arrive. While the seven kids (her four plus my three) ran off to play, we adults retired to the couches with freshly sliced saucisson sec from Chez Batteault in Beaune and some of Franck’s famous gougères. We usually enjoyed an apéritif of kir royale (made with 2/3 crémant de Bourgogne and 1/3 local crème de cassis) while we rehashed our weeks.
We chatted and laughed until around twelve-thirty or one o’clock, at which time our offspring started to send envoys to complain they were hungry.
We’d all move to the monastery table, the adults staggered male, female, male, female and the children grouped at one end. I would bring out the appetizer, often tartines with baked local goat cheese on a frisée salad with my homemade vinaigrette.If they were in season, I added thin slices of fresh pears. We’d serve a local white, probably a Meursault or Gigny.
We’d linger over our wine and food, and eventually the kids leaped off to play again while Franck—a pure Burgundian—put the finishing touches on the main dish: his fabulous boeuf Bourgignon served with gratin dauphinoise.
Once the food was plated and brought it to the table, we’d call the kids. There were always two huge pots of Dijon mustard on the table because we were only thirty minutes south of Dijon (and Franck was born there).
The beef dish, with its deep flavors of wine and onion, married sublimely with red wine from our village (a Hautes Côtes de Nuits or Beaune) or perhaps a Pommard or Volnay brought by Marie’s husband, a winemaker in Volnay. Once they were full, the kids were off again to continue their game.
Eventually my stomach needed a break from laughing. I’d escape to the kitchen to assemble our cheese course. I always included an Époisses, an aged goat’s cheese from a village up the road, a large wedge of conté from nearby Jura, and at least four or five others. We’d serve the cheese with our best wine bien sûr—something aged and earthy. Maybe a Grand Échezeaux or a Gevrey-Chambertin.
After the cheese course, it was generally around four o’clock, which meant time for dessert. I often served lemon tart made from one of the many recipes Marie passed on to me. It’s incredibly lemony and not too sweet. Parfait. I’d make two because there were seven children between us, and none refused a slice of tarte au citron.
We’d follow it with espressos for the adults served with little squares of pitch-black chocolate.
By this time it would be around five thirty. We’d all agree it was a good idea to “marcher un peu.” We’re lucky that both of our homes back onto miles and miles of rolling vineyards, so we’d get everyone in their shoes and stroll up the hill behind our house to a large pasture known as “Les Chaumes.” There is a perfect view down over the sloping vineyards and a playground for les enfants.
We’d always say we should go for a more arduous walk, to the nearby Gallo-Roman ruins hidden in the forest or the site where the resistance fighters hid during WWII. Yet we’d all feel full and lazy, so a stroll above the vineyards would have to do.
When we returned, the kids would say they were hungry again, so we’d make them homemade waffles with Franck’s parents’ ancient metal waffle iron. They’d smell so good that the adults would have one too, spread with homemade blackcurrant jam made by Franck’s parents. And heck, what’s a waffle without a glass of cider from Normandy?
Laura is currently working on her first fiction, a culture class romance, as well as a companion cookbook to her Grape Series - for a sneaky peek join me back here tomorrow where Laura will be sharing her tarte au citron recipe with us. She also has several more Grape books percolating in her mind! All of Laura's books are available in ebook and paperback format and links to Amazon can be found below.
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