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A taste of the sweet life

Minerve - South of France

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Minerve never ceases to amaze me - each and every time I visit, there are new discoveries and a new appreciation for the beauty I find here in the South of France.

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Discovery of a new path leading from the center of town to the riverbed below - the Southern Posterne.

 

 

 

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The Cesse and Brian rivers flow above ground only in winter - giving you a feel for the canyons they cut in years past.  You must visit at least twice in order to capture this vision.


minerve-natural-bridgeminerve-below-closeThe Cesse flowing strong from under the mountain.

Turn around and look up!

 

Back up in the village, upon the plateau, more little treasures pop up - modern sculptures...

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and old stone stairsminerve-street-stairs...in the old stone streets..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plan your holiday to the South of France now.

There is to much to miss if you don't!

 

Chinese New Year - South of France

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In honour of the upcoming Chinese New Year, and all the available Asian ingredients found locally in the South of France, I had to share this simple & delicious meal !

One of my favorite dishes to make with Napa cabbage, or "Chou Chinois" as it is called here, is a quick stir-fry with a few basic ingredients.  It is a Chinese country-style dish, and can be varied according to your taste.

Pork roast or basic chops (or replace with chicken)

Ginger

Peanut oil

Fresh or pickled hot peppers (or minced garlic)

Napa cabbage (or curly leave cabbage or bok choy)

Sea salt, to taste

Slice the pork in very thin pieces, grate ginger and mince as many hot peppers as you dare.  Slice the cabbage, and if you choose to add onions, slice those too !

chou-topHeat up a wok with peanut oil (or use sunflower if you prefer). I try to stick with oils from the country of origin to keep the flavours as authentic as possible, but preference is personal.  Add the grated ginger and peppers (or garlic) to the hot pan and stir-fry until flavors release - add the pork and cook until browned.  Sprinkle cabbage on top of cooked pork and sprinkle on a handful of sea salt, cover.  I used ground pork in the below photo, it is what I had on hand, again preference - chicken, turkey or even tender beef can replace the pork as well.

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The dish is done when the cabbage is to your taste, less time for a crunch or longer for a wilted texture.  Serve with jasmine rice, or, as shown here, thin rice noodles.  Sprinkle minced green onions over top or as shown below, or even minced red onions - again taste is what you prefer!

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Bon Apetit !

Cycling in the Minervois, South of France

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Time to get your cycling trip planned...and what a better place to start than in the Minervois, a wine region located in the South-of-France.  The different terrains, Cathar ruins and even Medieval, Roman & Neolithic history are all accessible from this one, unique spot.

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Want to climb a small 15km hill to Minerve to then experience how one group of Cathars lived in the early 1200's when they sought refuge here so many years ago?  See where and how they lived from within the village and even from below, in & out of the caves within the dry riverbed below.

On the way to Minerve from Azille, you can take a short cycling break and see the Dolmens, a Neolithic burial ground just outside of Siran - easy to access amoungst  the vineyards.dolmen-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or how about a cycle ride along the UNESCOcanal-du-midi-aquaduct-3 famous Canal du Midi?  Experience the tranquility of the 17th century tree-lined,  engineering marvel through small villages, lock houses with artisans products and sculptures, and a pleasant picnic along the way.  A day out if you want, or take it slow and stop along the way to have a wine-tasting...

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So many chateaux, wine caves and vineyards surround us here in Azille, so why not imbibe while having a cycle in the area and discover the diversity of our grapes, vines and their producers?  You could visit a different wine-maker each day without ever having your feet touch the ground!

 

 

 

And at the end of each day, you would cycle back to Azille only to be amazed at our fortified village, every time...So book your itinerary now!

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For more ideas on cycling in the Minervois pick up a copy of "South of France - a bicycle your France guidebook" - by Walter Judson Moore who visited us and enjoyed a week of day trips from Azille, from easy to difficult!

Winter Motorcycle Rally - Minervois

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It's that time of year again in the Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon - it is winter and the local motorcycle club, Les Picrates (meaning a bad quality red wine, almost vinegar), host their annual rally in Azille.  At the end of February, not for the week of heart, only the hard-core, real 'bikers' will dare to come...sometimes they line their bikes up in the snow and cold, arriving from as far as 2-300 kilometers away for a weekend of fun!

line-of-bikesUpon arrival, you will register, pick up drink/meal tickets & the 2015 Picrate pin (to add to your collection, of course) - setting up your tent should be next on the agenda and then the evening begins with drinks at the bar, surely to warm you up after the long ride.  Dinner follows and live rock-n-roll ends the very late night.

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Wake up (or not) to a warm breakfast giving you the courage to get on your bike to take a tour, set up in advance by the Picrates.  An apertif with oysters & drinks offered to everyone, then trophies are passed out for the oldest, youngest, furtherest traveled bikers (among several other) all precede lunch (also included in your entry fee), then 'back on the road again", as Willie Nelson sings!

Put it on your calendar for the 28th of February and contact me for the registration details

Happy Riding!

 

Happy New Year 2015

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Happy New Year !

to all our friends, family & past, present and future guests.
From the two of us her in Azille, Minervois, South-of-France

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Best wishes for the new year and we hope to see you all in 2015!!!!!

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CANAL DU MIDI at sunset - photo provided by Alexis

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