Tuesday, June 12, 2018
We got up at 7:30am, got dressed and made breakfast: toasted baguette with some of the cherry jam and fig jam we bought yesterday. At 9 am we walked over to the train station across the street to meet Kate, our guide for the day.
We drove to Olonzac where we visited the weekly market. The weather was nice and sunny and it was a pleasure to learn (from Kate and the vendors) about the different kinds of cheeses and sausages. We met a young woman from Northern Ontario, (whose husband was from Calgary) who was selling their own grown red wine. The market was a colourful placed with beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables, orange olive oil and one we all liked was sesame olive oil. We also tried several different kinds of honey, the one with chestnut tasted very good. We bought two French cheeses after trying small pieces of several. Towards the end of our market visit we split some of the “kitty” money and bought vegetables, fruit and nougat. Apricots and cherries are really in season right now and plentiful – they taste delicious! The nougat was a special treat: expensive but really good! The sales woman told us that it stays soft for a year – we told her that that would not be a problem for us!
We left at noon to drive to Caunes Minervois to have lunch at the home of a local. This village is also where Kate lives and as she dropped off some of the meat and cheese she had bought at the market, we were invited to come in. We admired her marble fireplace and her “wall” of wine bottles. From there we walked over to Petra and Marcel’s house. This was where we were having a hot meal. It turned out that Petra and Marcel moved to France from The Netherlands 5 years ago. Marcel and Kate work with the same company doing tours, wine tasting and cooking for community events etc. Petra and I exchanged some words in Dutch which was very nice for both of us. They came from The Hague. We were treated to a wonderful meal consisting of an aperitif, a main course of stuffed chicken with a cream sauce, potatoes and carrots. This was followed by a platter with cheeses and then for the finale we had crème brule! Of course we had white wine with the meal. Coffee and fresh mint tea for Eke closed it off! It was a wonderful experience and a delicious meal!
After all of that we drove to the next village called Rieux Minervois to visit the Chateau Rieux winery. The owner and wine maker was not there and Kate took the lead. She did an excellent job of explaining the whole process of making red and white wine: the premium and the bulk wine. She also told us about the structure that organizes the wine industry in the different regions of France. Kate has a wealth of knowledge about wine. She answered all the questions; especially Jill was very interested in the whole process and asked a lot of excellent questions. Then we had a chance to try some of the wines. We all liked the Voignier, a white wine made with one kind of grape – which means that the wine cannot be classified as an Appelation Organise Proteger wine. To qualify for that designations, a wine has to consist of at least 2 different kinds of grapes.
By that time it was 5:15pm and time to return to Carcassone and “our” boat. We thanked Kate for a great day and made it to the boat before it started to rain. It rained off and on throughout the evening. Nobody wanted dinner so we ate the sweet pastries we had bought at the market and each had a piece of nougat and a cup of tea!
The evening was spent with updating our devices, reading, showering and doing laundry! A funny story happened when Eke went to the showers on shore in the harbour building. She enjoyed the warm water flowing and having plenty of space when she suddenly remembered that she had forgotten to bring a towel! First it was kind of disconcerting; then she thought that she could always use her shirt to dry herself. Then only one piece of clothing would get wet. After a while she came up with another idea: the hairdryer that was hanging on the wall! So that is what she did! She dried herself totally with the hairdryer! Nice and warm even though it took quite a while!
Another night in Carcassone!