Wednesday, November 25, 2009
It's mushroom season; we're in the thick of it, and beneath, say, a squab en crapaudine or a ballotine of wild duck will be a little heap of black chanterelles or mousserons or cèpes. A few days ago, I was wandering around with a camera and snapped these boletes raw. It was only later, looking back at the girolles and chanterelles and pieds bleus and sheep's foot mushrooms I had also taken in the "seasonal market" series that my eye was caught on the price. Well, 50€ a kilo! That's 75 of your American dollars, at this juncture. Sure, split it by 2.2 to get the equivalent in pounds, but in truth, that's not the price of leeks.
I stumbled upon an article in the Times (London) about organized crime visiting the forests of southern France. And whatever the validity behind the alarm (I have heard expert talk that the fear is slightly overblown and the situation a bit different than described) the truth remains that King Cèpe can only be had for a ransom.
So, in the spirit of populism, I will not write such siren song phrases as, "The murmur of voices filled the restaurant, and the cepes glistened in the dim light."
No, instead, I'll suggest a cheap quaffer that'd go well with that kind of thing. The bounty of good, unpretentious fermented grapes can be all of ours.
2007 Clape "Le Vin des Amis" - a little wine from a great Cornas producer; a little bit like a Cornas, with good tannins and a rustic back-end. There is fruit, there is bark. There is a certain spiciness, that of black pepper ground. It is a happy thing, and a friend of the forest. I had this recently, and I look forward to having it again.
Now for the cliffhanger: soon I will write about the best Champagne I have had in well over a year. A year, note ye, filled with... Champagne.