Monday, November 8, 2010

Menerbes, Mr. Bricolage, and French bread

Tomorrow my parent’s fly home; can it really be that time already?! Dad wanted to go for a walk around Ménerbes that we’d done before, so we set out, noting how different things looked than the last time we’d been. The olives continue to ripen on the trees; I really want to see them harvested, but haven’t so far. Well, we did see one old man picking the lone olive tree just below our house across from the Marie (the town hall) – he was sitting on the stone wall beneath it and filling his bucket; he told Mom that he walk going to make olive oil with them. Most of the olives still seemed green to me, but maybe it doesn’t matter for oil?

I found this just growing by the road.
I wanted to take it home and eat it!
Life is beautiful. Yes, yes it is.
After walking all the way around the hill we returned to Ménerbes proper, only to find the route barre (road closed)! Tourist season is over, and all the towns seem to be hurrying to get things fixed up before winter comes. Of course, here in Lacoste it has taken them the whole time we’ve been here to pave and paint a little parking terrace with six spots… and all the roads in the center of Ménerbes are torn up! We had thought that since we were walking, it wouldn’t be a problem; however, the road we came down was completely filled with a backhoe, leaving no room even for walking on either side. Not wanting to walk all the way back the way we came, we tried a few roads till we found one that lead us back around, through the construction (but only torn-up roads and no machines) to our car.

Another machine on one of the still intact streets.
The afternoon found us once again visiting Mr. Bricolage; Alan had a few frames that need glass, so Dad got to see his favorite store once more. We then made a quick run to the grocery store; and, since it is Monday and the épicerie in town is closed, we had to get bread too. French bread… now that is one thing I will miss, although it is sometimes quite the ordeal to get! Lacoste only has a bakery in the tourist season because Pierre Cardin, who owns the chateau, bought out the bakery but then only has it open in the summer months when it is most profitable. Since the French buy bread every morning, the little épicerie (grocery store, although really it is just the only little shop it town that carries odds and ends of everything from fresh eggs to Sudoku books) sells bread, which it gets fresh each morning from a bakery. They’ve used three different bakeries since we’ve been here, and the second one was our favorite, although the croissants from this last one might be the best.

The traditional baguette is not our favorite, as it goes stale before you can say you want a slice, and so we stick to the “special” breads: cereal, complet, and compagne. Every bakery has these breads, but they are very general terms, as each baker’s version is very different, with a few basic similarities; cereal breads have seeds, like poppy, sesame, and sunflower, complet is whole wheat, and compagne is a heavy white (compagne means “country”). Cereal is our favorite. Nut bread is another one we try sometimes, as Mom had a really good loaf when they were in Viason-la-Romain, but we haven’t found as good a one down here. They are made with walnuts and walnut flour, and seem to come out a little dry more often than not. We go through about two loaves a day, and so every morning Mom trots down to the bakery to stand in line with the locals and pick us up some more bread; if we’ve been good, she might even bring us a croissant! So on days when the store is closed, we are always happy to be near another bakery or grocery store to get our fill of this French tradition.

A nut bread and a cereal bread.
In the afternoon, Mom and Dad worked on packing. The rain finally looked like it was really going to come down around four o’clock, so Mom and I hurried out for one last walk. Another dog adopted us as we walked through the valley, and Mom was worried he was going to come all the way home with us! Luckily he stopped when we got to the edge of the village, and hopefully found his way home.

No comments:

Post a Comment