Amanda on September 1st, 2009
Ripe Figs

Ripe Figs

The last of the season’s fêtes drew to a close at the weekend. The early morning light revealed a Coke can rolling casually down the street and tattered streamers flapping gently in the warm breeze. The tourists have gone and the lazy, hazy, crazy days are over, but the hot southern summer lingers on.
The famous vineyards of the region are heavy with fruit, we have had no significant rain for three months and the grapes are cooking in the searing heat. They cannot be artificially watered if they are to produce an AOC wine and there is no likelihood of any rain on the horizon. No other crop could stand the pace. Read More »

Tomato Chutney and Fig Preserve from French Life

Amanda on September 1st, 2008
Wild Fruit Harvest

Wild Fruit Harvest

The last few weeks of summer are lazy. The mercury is boiling in a thousand thermometers and nobody feels inclined to move.
Vignerons prowl slowly round the vines, squinting anxiously at distant clouds. Holidaymakers prowl round the little villages, cameras at the ready, squinting curiously through ancient stone doorways and posing in front of the old chapel; the rest of us do as little as possible in the heat of the day, and wait until the cool of the evening to conduct any serious business. Eating, drinking, flirting and partying are the most serious, naturally, but even the more sober pursuits, such as harvesting – the combine-harvesters work all night – and of course shopping, are done in the evening. Read More »

Figs for Breakfast from French Life

Amanda on September 1st, 2007
Figs

Figs

It is early September and all the children are back at school. The fête tables have been packed away for another year and according to the calendar summer is over – but not here. Fortunately for those of us who have the luck to live and work in this enchanting little corner of France September is usually a particularly hot month, and so it is proving to be. The figs on numerous trees in every garden, potager and country lane are dripping with luscious purple fruit, the roads beneath them a slippery hazard to little old ladies with bent backs, flimsy sticks and bulging marketing baskets. I feel it’s my duty to pick the dropping fruit and relieve the anxiety, so yesterday afternoon I set off with a large basket, a stick and our neighbours dog – who wasn’t invited, but came anyway – to gather the surplus harvest. It’s a bit like blackberrying in the English hedgerows, but without the prickles, with a lot more wasps and very much larger rewards. Read More »

Sunny September Living in France from French Life

Amanda on September 6th, 2006
Fig Compote

Fig Compote

Figs can be used in a variety of ways; they are quite delicious served fresh for breakfast with a thick yoghurt or crème fraiche. They are equally delicious poached with sugar and lemon juice and served in the same way. But I like them best when they’re combined with various spices and fat cloves of garlic and made into a glorious compote to eat with Duck, Goose and Pork in the first chill of winter. In fact in November when the hunting season is in full cry, this is just the thing. However if you can’t wait that long it also make a delicious accompaniment to a good strong cheese, a Cantal Vieux perhaps with a warm baguette and a good glass of Cahors. Read More »

French Fig Compote Recipe from French Life