Cooking has got me through Lockdowns 1,2 & 3, as it has lots of people.
I found myself returning to many of my original Recipes from the French Wine Harvest. An old favourite would often tick the box for us. Although we weren’t working in the vineyards or vat-houses, we needed comfort food -
Recipes for the Pandemic, if you will.
So, after a bit of a pause in blogging, I will be posting some regular reminders of recipes from my book, and a few that have come my way since publication, that might lift the spirits; I’ll choose those that can be easily adapted to whatever size of household you find yourself in.
One of the things that especially lifted my spirits this last summer was jam and chutney making - there was some great fruit in season and I had the time to devote to this. All of these have been a very welcome stockpile during this past winter. They are a reminder of the sun as well as being so rich in flavours - I’ll put up a selection of favourite recipes
You may wonder how wine growers coped with the harvest in a pandemic.
They still needed to recruit their teams of pickers - Covid tests were required in advance by many Domaines. Dormitories needed to be changed to allow space, and, with restrictions in place, many people put up tents or awning to allow outdoor eating. Caterers brought food in airline style trays to avoid contamination. Smaller estates used family and friends who had already been in a bubble together, or co-opted their office and sales staff who were not allowed to welcome clients for tastings at the time. They made it work!
Food for the wine harvest has been evolving. Tastes have changed, and, due to climate change, harvests are often earlier. This last year, 2020, many French regions started picking in August - different dishes are called for in hotter temperatures. Pickers still need food and comfort, their muscles still ache, their energy levels need replenishing, their hands still have blisters from secateurs used to pick the bunches. I think we can be sure that the wine harvest will continue to be convivial and celebratory.