Monthly Archives: April 2009

Frenchitude Lesson #30: Get Yourself a Pèle Pommes

For all I know my favorite kitchen implement of the moment may also be in every North American kitchen. And truth be told I suspect by beloved apparatus is made in China.

Nevertheless, I have to report on the Pèle Pommes phenomenon that is happening here in Burgundy. Over the last two months almost everyone I know here has acquired one of these little miracle workers for their kitchen.

Martial was of course the first of our group of Burgundian friends to discover the Pèle Pommes at Laronze, a wonderful kitchen store on the Place Carnot in Beaune.

Remember now, Martial was the one who saved the day by bringing snowshoes to our recent weekend in the Jura. He is always the first to find the Next Big Thing.

Once he gave us a demonstration at his house Franck and I were so thrileld that we planned on going out the next day to buy one for ourselves. However, Martial and Isabelle beat us to it. They came over to our house for dinner that night and brought us a Pèle Pommes instead of the ubiquitous bouquet of flowers. We were thrilled.

The Pèle Pommes has held a place of honour on our kitchen counter ever since.

You pop and apple on the prongs, twist the handle, and the machine peels, cores, and slices your apple into a perfect spiral. All you have to do is rinse it off afterwards.

The Pèle Pommes has changed our life as we know it.

We are now buying apples by the flat and the girls eat at least two “pommes magiques” as they have named them, per day.

I have also embarked on an applesauce and apple tarte making frenzy. It takes me about a third of the time it used to and the Pèle Pommes creates apple slices of the perfect thickness. At the moment I am making apple tartes by the cookie sheet; they are delicious and go fast.

It has even inspired me to add a new “Cooking French – Ingredients & Equipment section to our store (and the very first item I added was the Pèle Pommes). See here;

But best of all is my new nightime ritual – feasting on a freshly sliced pomme magique with a bit of comté or several spoonfuls of confiture de lait.

Even if it is made in China, my Pèle Pommes is loaded with Frenchitude.

***Frenchitude Fridays (French + Attitude = Frenchitude) give ideas for injecting a bit of frenchness into your life, whether you live in Hyères or Hilton Head.

Running Water Comes to 13th Century Beaune Wine Cellar!

We now have a deadline.

The Beaune wine cellar under our apartment building at #19 rue Rousseau Deslandes has to be ready for May 17th.

Pourquoi? Well, because Franck and I have scheduled the official “baptism’ ceremony for the cellar (including naming a cellar godmother and cellar godfather – essential procedure as far as cellar baptisms go in Burgundy) for May 17th and have already started inviting people.

Tip: This is sometimes, especially when you have three kids and a very busy life, the only way to get a renovation project finished.

As a consequence the cellar work has been going full tilt over the last few days. Franck and our mystery cellar expert have installed the ancient stone sink and stone washboard for rinsing off the glasses after a tasting.

I picked out the dragon’s mouth bronze tap. Chouette, non? Even better – it works!

The next task is installing the metal door over each individual wine storage “block” (there are 18 in total) so that everyone can have a key to their own independent wine stash. You can see these “grilles” leaning against the wall in the above photo.

I have to say that Franck and I are very, very pleased with how the Beaune wine cellar is coming along. I think we actually may have it ready before our May 17th deadline, which would definitely be a first.

If you want more information about becoming a member of the Beaune wine cellar – the official name is being revealed at the baptism ceremony – which includes renting a wine storage unit (or several) and enjoying free access to the cellar for entertaining and tastings, just contact me directly.

In the meantime, in vino veritas!

Authentic France Travel Tips #28: Go To A Brocante

Children and brocantes, otherwise known as antique fairs, are not a great mix. Not only does there tend to be a lot of breakable items at brocantes, but as children generally don’t have a house or apartment of their own to furnish, they find them fist-gnawingly boring.

This is why I don’t go to nearly as many brocantes as I would like. Then again, it is probably a good thing I am reined in by my bevy as my bank balance could never support the extent of my brocante addiction.

Of all my favorite things to do in France, going to brocantes comes pretty darn high up on the loooooooong list.

Not only can you find beautiful, one-of-a-kind stuff at bargain prices, but even if you don’t buy anything you walk away with a whole new appreciation for the way life was lived in France for the past several hundred years.

Besides having more permanent brocante stores per capita than any other town in France, Beaune also has several big brocante fairs ever year in the covered market halles just across the street from the entrance to the famous Hotel-Dieu. These fairs are always extremely popular for both locals and antique aficionados from farther afield.

And guess what? There is one coming this Easter weekend on April 11,12, & 13th.

And if you miss that, here are the dates for the other Beaune antique fairs in 2009:

Beaune Antique Fairs 2009: Sous Les Halles

May 30-June 1st

August 15-16th

September 19-20th

October 31-November 1st

***”Authentic France Travel Tips” are posted every Tuesday and give ideas for savvy travellers who want to experience the authentic side of France.

No Frenchitude – No Joke!

You guys are far too clever! Hardly anybody fell for my Pam Anderson April Fool’s joke (well, my little sister Jayne, but only for about five minutes and she has the excuse of being pregnant which as we all know does odd things to one’s brain chemistry).

Although I had a lot of fun concocting the “Pammy and Her Heels Come to Villers” post I have to say it is going to be hard to ever top my April Fool’s post from last year.

Life has thrown us a few little “jokes” of its own this week. Nothing major, just discovering the car needed a surprise overhaul, Clem has come down with some scourge that seems to include sleep deprivation for everybody concerned, and there was a leak in the wall of an elderly neighbour’s apartment in Beaune that we have spent the past two days helping her repair.

So no Frenchitude this week malheuresement. Must go and retrieve crying, sick baby from crib now.

As my other sister says, shame about those little black rectangles. So what do you think? Do you think the video is for real or a montage?

Didn’t I tell you in a recent Frenchitude that the French prize craziness?

She May Want To Rethink Her Shoes

The Vancouver Island grapevine can sometimes produce some surprising results.

Apparently Pamela Anderson, a fellow Vancouver Islander, heard raves from friends and family back home about a lovely little restored winemakers cottage nestled in a peaceful village in Burgundy.

So yesterday I took my first ever celebrity booking at La Maison de la Vieille Vigne for this summer, where Pam and a “guest” will relax and sip sumptuous wines far away from the prying eyes of Hollywood paparazzi.

Those heels are going to be murder in the vineyards though…