Out-of-body Experiences and Mushrooms

A free weekend in Bordeaux?

Fine...if I must.
gironde france
Welcome to Gironde...
After a few days of garden work, we were whisked off for a weekend to Joelle's family home in Gironde, which borders the famous wine country Bordeaux. About 100 years ago, her grandfather began making wines on this 45 acre estate (which might explain the free-flowing wine we have encountered since our arrival), and we tagged along for the return of Joelle's son, who had been making wines in New Zealand for the past six months (tough life, huh?). 

Little did I know that to celebrate his homecoming, we were in a for a dinner that would render me incapable of of performing any other action than raising a fork to my awe-stricken and salivating mouth for a good 30 minutes...at least.
I have humongous vats of wine in my backyard.
What about you? A playhouse?
I told you they own a vineyard...
Let's backtrack a bit for a small 
primer on the area of Le Bugue, where Joelle and Julius live. While you may not have heard of La Bugue proper, you have heard of the delicacy for which it is famous: foie gras (literally: fatty liver). Additionally, here you will find France's sweetest strawberries, finest porcini mushrooms, and--the final blow--wildest truffles. Alas, the season for truffle and mushroom hunting doesn't come around until later in the year, when John and I will be long gone from France. (Hear that? That's the sound of my heart breaking.)

Never fear! By a stroke of good fortune, Joelle had managed to procure some of the renowned cépes (sounds like: crepes), aka porcini mushrooms. I had heard of porcinis before, and probably had even eaten them (in a rehydrated form), but I had I truly known them before this night? Never. 

Was it an out-of-body experience? Maybe.

The Porcini is not a normal mushroom. It's thick, beefy, smooth, and tastes like an elven forest would taste if we were somehow able to take a bite...of a forest? I wouldn't be surprised if wood nymphs themselves cultivate these all year until a silly mortal strolls by, takes note, and calls the alert to the rest of the town, "Everybody call in sick to work--it's porcini pickin' time!" And then everybody starts screaming and TVs explode and probably some people spontaneously combust. Supposedly work attendance rates really do plummet. 

A culture that calls in sick to hunt mushrooms? This is why I love Europe.

So no, there would be no room for greens tonight. We simply couldn't seem it necessary to find room among the pork tenderloin, roasted pommes de terre (aka "apples of the earth," aka potatoes, ha!), and porcinis sauteed with garlic and parsley. 

A dinner, brown and beautiful. Let the gluttony begin. 

We finished the night off surrounded by French friends and family animatedly talking into the wee hours of the night. John and I understood little, and we spoke like 12-month-old babies, but somehow it didn't seem to matter. This random wwoofing experience had brought us up close and personal to the real France, and it was wonderful. Sometimes I wonder if my life is actually happening, or if I'm still in my cold winter Wyoming bed, dreaming the dream of France. 

Tomorrow we head back to Le Bugue. How can I return to work after something like this?
Julius and Joelle, wondering how they got stuck with these two strange Americans...
And long after darkness falls, the baguette and the French alcohol remain

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  1. The anchovies really should not be optional! People really need to open up to them.

  2. I completely agree. I've gotten to where I just eat them with bread and butter. I don't know why it's so shunned in the U.S.? Did you see this recipe: http://www.chowgypsy.com/2012/05/fridge-raiding-with-muriel.html ? I could probably eat it like soup...which is a little disgusting

  3. I can't stop laughing at your profile pictures ha ha

    1. dude... you're funny! I bet your name is Stephen Graves!

    2. Bro, you're right. It's me Stephen Graves and I think you're pretty funny as well.

  4. so, stephen, were you just having this conversation with yourself?




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