Thursday 19 March 2009
ICE CREAM AND ART? HOW DO THEY FIT TOGETHER?
John Brice in Armagnac Heaven
ART, ARMAGNAC, ENGLISH, A BIT OF FRENCH HISTORY AND A HEAVENLY DESSERT.
The medieval village of Mézin, where we live, is famous for three things:
1. Armand Fallieres, a former President of France, was born here.
2. It was once France’s biggest cork manufacturing centre.
3. The locals produce the best Armagnac in the world. (More about Armagnac later).
Although very few of the villagers speak English, Mézin was once an English village. For almost three centuries during the Middle Ages, Mezin belonged to England. This was because Eleanor of Aquitaine gave the whole region to the English King Henry II as a wedding present.
Our art courses in Mezin cater for all ages and levels, and I firmly believes that everyone can learn to paint and draw. Most people who come to La Petite Galerie for art holidays want the best of both worlds. They want the painting and drawing component, but they also want to find out more about the area. So we usually fit in one or two painting sessions every day and on most days we paint en plein air in Mézin or a nearby village. Then, after a picnic lunch, we explore the area. And with eighteen hours of daylight in the summer, there’s normally time for a wine tasting, a trip to a nearby market, a swim in the municipal pool, or a short walk amongst the vines, in the forest, or along the canal.
Our transition from Downunder to France has been a wonderful experience. Every day’s an adventure and there’s a surprise around every corner.
And the best thing about living in this little known corner of France is that, after seven years, the villagers have finally accepted us. We now call Mézin home. And that’s it.
But oh yes, what about that Armagnac?
Well, it’s the world’s most HEAVENLY after dinner liqueur. So finally, here’s a great dessert recipe using Armagnac.
RAY'S GASCON ICE CREAM - WITH AN OPTION FOR CHEATS
My wife Lynne is a much better cook than me, and when I prepare this pud, she says it’s cheating - because it’s so quick and easy I suppose. But it never fails to impress.
1. Use your favourite recipe to make plain vanilla ice cream for six. (Cheats can simply pop into a supermarket and buy a tub of quality commercial vanilla ice cream).
2. Coarsely chop eight Pruneaux d’Agen. (Cheats can use any old prunes).
3. Soak them in Armagnac for a few hours. (Cheats may choose to just use brandy).
4. Mix all ingredients together and freeze.
To serve: Drizzle some Armagnac over two scoops in each bowl.
(When serving, cheats make sure they get the biggest helping - three or more scoops - and plenty of drizzled Armagnac ).
Simply tasting the dessert with genuine ingredients guarantees direct entry to Food Paradise.
The cheat’s version is simply WONDERFUL!
Posted by Ray Johnstone at 06:32