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Languedoc Notebook - May

For the first time in many years I was able to spend Easter at home and enjoy some quality time with my Mum.

Easter of course is a very important date in our culture; I remember as a child those never ending church services with the flowers, the scents of burning candles, the hymns, and all the ritual , kneel, stand, seat, pray, and the resulting sore knees; all  leading of course to the much anticipated Easter lunch.

I remember fondly Palm Sunday, “Les Rameaux".  While the old people were getting their branch of laurel blessed by the priest, the childrens' branches were decorated with small fish and rabbit -shaped chocolates and bells as well as my favourite marzipan baby carrots and fruits....gluttony was not a sin that day I suppose, as long as you could wait until the end of the service before eating. 

These days my waistline does not  allow me to have too many sweeties but I can still enjoy the Easter traditional lunch of roast gigot of milk-fed spring lamb served with dauphinoise  potatoes and flageolet beans along with the first wild local asparagus. You have to go foraging but it is worth the effort. The Mediterranean oak tree covered hills around Bedarieux are full of  the spindly spears as long as you can spot them hidden in the bushes. 

At home my mum serves them with boiled egg mimosa, also in full bloom, and together they made a lovely spring starter. Those prized little spears are, as all wild things, so much more flavoursome than the cultivated kind which are most of the time over -watered.  It is like eating "condensed" asparagus and with a touch of wild sorrel perfect with eggs and superb in an omelette.

Of course I had to do the cooking this time and I am unsure as to whether it matched my mum's standards. And I had to see my friend Catherine at Clovallon to get a couple of bottles from the Domaine; a 2008 Pomarede did  nicely! (JM Gauffre)

À bientôt!
Jean Michel runs La Garrigue in Jeffrey Street, 

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