Un Repas de Village


While there is something to do year around, July and August is packed with events. Even though there are hoards of tourists, village life continues much unchanged. An example is the meal I attended with friends in the lovely village of Embres – Castlemaure.

The event begins with the apéritif.  There are two tables with bottles of water, juices, wine  (of course) and even boxed wine. Being Embres – Castelmaure we were treated to the wine produced there. I would confidently argue that it is some of the finest in the region and beyond. There are also trays of bite-sized treats such as olives, pizza or quiche. The baskets on these tables hold mounds of another local favorite, Courgette Beignets. A small donut/fritter with bits of grated courgette (zucchini) that is fried golden brown. Unfortunately, they are so popular and despite the vast amounts, they were gone before I could get a photo. However, if you would like to try them for yourself, here is the recipe I use when called upon to help with food for an event.

Courgette Beignets

1 pound (about 2 medium) courgettes

1 teaspoon salt

* 1 Tablespoon lemon zest

10 sprigs parsley finely chopped

* 1 medium-large clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup flour

Grate courgettes into a medium bowl then press out as much of the moisture as possible. The easiest way I have found is to put the grated courgettes into a clean dish-towel and wring it until you get no more liquid. Transfer back into the bowl and add salt, lemon zest, parsley, garlic, pepper and eggs. Mix well to combine. Slowly add flour stirring so no lumps form.

Heat 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil in a large saute pan over medium – high heat until oil sizzles when you drop in a small amount of courgette mix onto the pan and cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and turn beignets cook until golden. Bon appétit!

Note: Ingredients two marked with the * are ones I added. However, the recipes given me for the first batch I was asked to make were all different and there has been slight variations with the ones I have sampled. Each cook likes to add their own special touch. You can delete the garlic and/or lemon zest as you choose.

Paella simmering away

I choose to include the beignet recipe as Paella is a traditional Spanish dish. Yet being so close to Spain, it is very popular here in the south of France. While the Paella was simmering away everyone circulated greeting friends and making new ones. Although it was a village event and I live nearby, I was made most welcome as were the others who do not live in the village. There was a small band made up of musicians from surrounding villages. They played until the meal began.

Each table had several pitchers of wine (Rosé and Rouge), Bottles of water, Baguettes and more was supplied as needed. When the Paella was ready we took our seats and the feasting began. After the main course plates of Brie were passed around quickly followed by wonderfully ripe nectarines and peaches. Eventually we moved on to ice creams. Like all french meals, coffee was served after dessert.  A good time was had by all.

When you visit France, remember even the smallest villages have much to offer. Embres – Castelmaure . The last census in 2008 recorded the population at 150 people. I highly recommend a visit and a visit to the area demands that you check out their wines. You will not be disappointed.



17 thoughts on “Un Repas de Village

    1. Thank you Polly and bon appetit! Now to try and get my friend Josephine to part with the family Paella recipe… Not likely. 😦

  1. Hi Lea, As I read this lovely post, I feel so jealous I could cry…. god why wasn’t my long-lost lover from France instead of boring Denmark!! How wonderful that you can find such joys and such amazing food in a place of not even 200 people… I am glad for you. your friend, Leigh Singingbones ps thanks for the recipie, I have some zucchini in the fridge, will try it for dinner….

    1. Hi Leigh, Perhaps a solution would be to spend some time here each year? My dear friend, Rita, comes every year for a few weeks. It would be longer but there is her husband to consider… Before I moved here, she had only spent time in Paris which is common for tourists. Now she doesn’t feel a tourist as she has this home here and as time allows, will be here more. I haven’t been to Denmark yet but I never thought it would be boring. Yet it is much different living somewhere than visiting. Perhaps a second or home away from home in France is in your future? In the meantime, you do have your love. 🙂 As for myself, I am alone but never lonely around here. I hope you enjoyed the beignets. Bon chance!

      1. Hi Lea, thanks for your nice note. yes, the beignets were delicious, my husband liked them too! of course I love your idea of spending part of the year down in your neck of Europe… I’ll need to figure out some ways to make some money in the coming months…but will definitely keep this idea in mind. Denmark isn’t bad or anything, but it just isn’t… well… France, or Italy. They don’t call them romance countries for nothing! Hope you are well during all these intense energies going on right about now! hugs, Leigh

  2. The European village life really is the best kind of life. This sounds like the perfect way to spend the day – with friends, good food, and wine.

    1. Exactly. Also, there are no strangers. There are just friends you haven’t met yet. Not to mention, this village has some of the best wine I have had in nearly five years of living in France. It does not get any better than this. Merci!

    1. Alsace is on my list to visit properly. On a trip to Holland and Belgium a few years ago, we skirted through Alsace. However, I was traveling with a young friend and her 4 year old son and we had to get back to our village. What I saw of it was stunning. We drove east through Belgium crossing through Luxembourg. Lovely!

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