Friends Richard and Dorothy who live in St. Colombe sur l'Hers invited us over for lunch at noon. There went the afternoon. Because the mix of abundant sunshine, terrific food and a bunch of good people, turned it into a classic five-hour French dejeuner.
Richard and Dorothy's house is up a winding road with postcard views across the Hers valley to the treed hills beyond. Their garden is enormous: a vast undulating lawn, a bed of bright flowers, a lavender hedge, fruit trees, and in the top right-hand corner, a stand of tall bamboos. The term for a thicket of bambous is a bambouserie. One of those French words that sounds as though it should translate as something else. A riotous party or a rather clever scam perhaps.
We are the former. All of us English except Peter, the lone Canadian, so, in Brideshead Revisited style, we begin with tall glasses of Pimm's on the terrace.
Here's what we eat: chive-garnished individual terrines of salt cod and seafood, cold roast pork with carnelian-pink quince jelly, salmon quiches, green salad with heavenly olive oil to drizzle over it, potatoes, tomatoes....a platter of cheeses, drippingly fresh melons and nectarines, and blackberry tartes with crème fraîche all punctuated by liberal pourings of rosé, white or red. Delicious cool dishes that couldn't have been better on an extremely hot day like today. Driving home, I thought "all we'll want for supper is maybe a little pasta. Maybe not even that." In the end, and quite late, we snacked on baguette, cheese and fruit.