Saturday, February 21, 2009

La belle France OR 100 Kms. - Part 2

Another delight was the bread. I made a daily stop at the bakers’ to buy bread -- bread baked that morning. With seven mouths to feed the bread went fast. We usually had several different loaves to choose from at table: baguettes, whole wheat, and farmhouse, among others. It was a wonderful treat to have bread that fresh and to slather it with sweet Normandy butter. Breakfasts were comprised of coffee or tea and bread. A honey local to Alsace, miel de sapin, or ‘pine tree honey’ was usually on the table with other jams and jellies. Miel de sapin is made from bees gathering pollen from pine trees that forest the local Vosges Mountains. Unlike most honey, it has a slight resinous taste; considered an acquired taste but one I learned to love. It was like no other honey I had ever eaten. Often on the weekend, Monsieur Zundel would jump into the car and drive to the local patisserie and bring back fresh-baked croissants.

The cheese course, after the salad course but before the dessert course, quickly became one I looked forward to. One cheese I grew to love was müntser, a locally made cheese from the Münster Valley, located about 25 kilometers from Colmar. Münster, a soft-ripening cheese with an orange rind and a nicely pungent flavor, was eaten with caraway seeds. Sprinkle a few caraway seeds onto a plate and dip a piece of cheese into them. The combination was delicious – the earthiness of the cheese with the pungent crunch of the seeds.

Photo Credit: Alec Sharpe

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Charles, nice to se that you finally decided to share your stories. I'm looking forward to more! Bisous, Anne