Once again, we are back at Chateau Bonnefous. They are host to our annual Bio Marché where growers and artisans bring there wares for us to sample and purchase. There is also plenty of information available for those that want to explore organic gardening, wine making and more.
Being in the largest wine producing region in France, the wine makers are well represented and happy to share their wares.
There are baskets of fresh local cherries and strawberries for sample and sale. If you get hungry, there are food sellers who offer snacks or a meal. The Chateau also has a full scale restaurant where you can dine indoors or out on the patio.
Fresh and aged local cheeses, breads, it is a tempting display of local wares. Of course artisans of all persuasions are on hand.
Games and toys made of wood offer hours of fun without using any electricity and no batteries are required.
The carousel is a favourite with the young ones. But each year the children’s entertainment changes. There is no charge for the ride or the petting zoo.
At any event, you will find music. This is no different and a merry band of locals wandered about the event regaling us with their tunes. Naturally, there is impromptu dancing.
There are tables set up for those who want to sit and chat with family and friends over café or a glass of Rosé. Face painting is offered for the children and once again, no charge.
An effort is made to introduce everyone to environmental issues and organic foods.
One of the many things I love about France and the French is that they truly enjoy life and celebrate it completely. Last Sunday, the village association invited us all to socialise and share; food, music, wine, blanquette and most of all, each other. The tables were covered with white table cloths to allow the green ivy and olive branches to stand out.
This event was organised by Durban Village Association. The event adds to the social calendar at a time when many things are on the quiet side and the small admission of three euros each goes toward the Associations coffers which fund improvements in and around the village.
Les Chant des Corbières, one of the local choirs, was asked to perform and we were happy to do so. Albeit, being in the choir, I was unable to take any photos during the performance. The songs performed included; Les Tourterelles, L’Epervier, Cangaceiro, Je Reviens, El Condor Pasa and Des Jonquilles. Le Chef (choir director) Jacque has included a significant number of songs in Spanish to our repertoire this year.
Like all other social events, people mingle about chatting with their friends and neighbours before settling down to a table. After everyone was seated the choir was introduced and the singing commenced.
After singing, the choir members joined the others. Some sat with their families and the rest of us claimed a table of our own. Plates of chocolates, cookies and a clementine were passed out then someone offered us each servings of Galette des Rois and Couronne du Roi. There were bottles of Blanquette at each table and water of juice as desired.
A tombola was next on the agenda. Each of the several winners received three bottles of wine and one included a large plant. Of the eight or so winners, three of us at our table had winning tickets!
Our next village social is planned for 3 February 2013. Our host will be le maire (The Mayor).
The harvest from the vineyards is safely bottled and most will go on sale next year. Yet in the wine region, we have festivals to toast the new wines. It is an opportunity to taste the fruits of this years harvest. It was fun to experience this with friends, Yvonne and Pauline, who had flown over from London for a long weekend of delights. This particular event was in the village of Trèbes a short 7 km from the city of Carcassonne. The population at the last census, 2008, was over 5,500.
As with any event, there was music (bands and DJ), dancing, and of course food. There were plates of mixed cheeses, Charcuterie – plates of assorted sausages and hams, each served with pain (bread) then of course you can have foie gras which is served with a special bread which contains bits of dried figs. Also on offer was grilled brochette of canard (duck) served with spiced apple (Amazing!)
We took a cab from Carcassonne on the first night so that this Designated Driver could safely sample the delights of the event. However, the next day I drove us back to the village to make a few more purchases and explore the town. However, that will be another post!