Sunday, September 27, 2009

Waiting for ... (16)


All week there was a buzzing of activity around the house: all the neighbours winemakers started to harvest the red wine grapes under a lovely sun - harvesting at 26 ° !! Some photo impressions:

* gathering of the grapes with machines :

* it is incredible how these machines by mere vibration manage to do a very proper job and collect almost 100% of the grapes :

   - before passing

   - after gathering

- when the grapes arrive at the chai (wine-cellar) they go through an égrappoir (crusher / de-stemmer), which takes the stalks off and breaks the grape skins, then into a pompe à marc (grape pump) which pumps them into the cuve (fermentation tank).

It is at times really a beautiful sight in the vineyards: autumnly colours and ripe grapes.

This week in the series 'popular dishes' : one of the all time favourites as entree, especially by hot weather : salmon cottage cheese mousse with red, yellow and green peppers.

Nature photo of the week : a praying mantis ('mante religieuse') doing some acrobatics on the laundry rack.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Waiting for ... (15)


As promised last week in the future the blog of mas de l'houvande will present pictures of visits, recipes etc. that our guests liked very much.

First in the series of visits: the rocher des aigles in Rocamadour : a brilliant birds' show with eagles, vultures, falcons, parrots in a beautiful breath-taking surrounding.

At table Jamie's Dad's Super Chicken was one of the favourites amongst young and old, accompanied with zucchini, pesto and mozzarella.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Waiting for ... (14) : It's viognier time


The touristic summer season has come to an end. It has been a lovely hot summer with very nice guests. We would like to thank everyone for their confidence, the nice evenings, the positive critics, the presents, etc. From next week on we'll present some of the most beautiful pictures we received from our guests on a regular basis.

But the event of the week is the early start of the vintage period this year. Because the summer has been very hot and because last week had temperatures above 30° C, the alcohol percentage in the grapes has risen by more than one percent in one week. Therefore the vintage of the white wine grapes already started. Otherwise the grapes risk to lose too much of their acidity and freshness which would give a too mellow wine. I took a closer look at the vintage of the viognier grape which produces my favourite white wine, comparable to the roero arneis grape of the Piedmont region in Italy.

the vineyard

the grapes to be harvested

the cropping and the gathering

the final cleaning

the harvested grapes : waiting to be pressed

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Waiting for ... (13)

The touristic season is getting to an end. Nevertheless we still had one premiere this week: the first French couple that took the table d'hôtes (dinner) with us. This may seem strange to you, but in fact it isn't. A lot of French tourists stay in chambres d'hôtes to visit friends, to go to an anniversary party, a marriage, ecc.

Although the weather remains summerly the mornings are getting fresh - so for the first time this season breakfasts were taken inside.

Progress is still made in the house. At last the missing curtains arrived and some curtain cords (embrasses) too. They should have been delivered more than two months ago. Again thanks to Martine for helping us out during the whole season.

To mention also a beautiful soiree with couturier Arturo Costanzo: lovely food, nice atmosphere, singing and dancing, accompanied on guitar by Yvan, a french singer, whose repertoire also contains English pop songs as Nights in White Satin and Without You (thanks to Céline).