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shewhomust

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Travels past, travels future [Aug. 7th, 2015|10:18 pm]
shewhomust
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The Guardian travel supplement last Saturday offers a guide to Sardinia, ostensibly about the beaches, but with alluring descriptions of the nearby villages, because you've got to eat, haven't you? Naturally I want to go there - it's an island; I want to go to all the islands - but not this year.

Because this year I want to go to France. We are almost - but somehow, mysteriously, not quite - at the point of booking the ferry. It's too long since we have been to France. If you don't count a brief foray into the Pyrenees, during our Spanish holiday (and I don't see why I should count it, we spoke to no-one, we didn't even have a cup of coffee while we were there), then it's five years since we were in France, on our way home from the Villa Saraceno. We paused for a couple of days on the way home to do some walking in the vineyards of the Rhône valley - but in Switzerland - which I don't seem to have written anything about. Perhaps I will, one day, or perhaps not, but in any case, not now.

We left Switzerland at Le Locle, which proclaims itself "Cité de la Précision" That is, it's a clock town, industrial and slightly grubby, but with some quirky, interesting buildings, altogether more appealing than the smugness of ski towns like La Chaux de Fonds, which we had just passed through. The road took us through a cleft in the rock, and then forked, following the valley edge, with a statue of a cockerel in the V of the fork. Then left through a rock arch held together by metal bolts, wire mesh and something I can't now decipher -

- and we were in France, land of the elaborate horticultural sculpture on roundabouts:

Chamois


This was in Villers le Lac (Doubs), where we lunched at Le Caméleon. My tarte à l'oignon was a thin, crispy pastry base, covered with cream and scattered with bacon and onions, served very hot - a kind of Alsatian pizza. For dessert I had the 'tourbillon des sapins', a whirlwind of pine trees - expressed by pine bud flavoured ice cream ('bourgeons de sapin') with a shot of sapin liqueur: it was ice cream rather than sorbet, freshly minty and faintly medicinal. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Edited (for once) to remove: a final paragraph which belongs in the next instalment.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: desperance
2015-08-07 11:51 pm (UTC)
My tarte à l'oignon was a thin, crispy pastry base, covered with cream and scattered with bacon and onions, served very hot

Hunh. By me, that is a tarte flambée. Or a flammkuchen. Or I can't remember the Alsatian word, but it's something similar.
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2015-08-07 11:51 pm (UTC)
(and of course that might be how I get over my pizza anxiety: by making something that's really not a pizza honest...)
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-08-08 04:30 pm (UTC)
That's awfully plausible; all I know is what I write down at the time. Plus photograph.
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2015-08-08 04:37 pm (UTC)
According to Wiki, Depending on the region, this dish can be called Flammekueche, Flàmmeküeche, Flàmmaküacha or Flammekuechle in Alsatian, so I excuse myself for not remembering...
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[User Picture]From: sam_t
2015-08-10 03:21 pm (UTC)
I think it would probably depend on whether the base is pastry-ish or breadish, but then the last time I saw flammkuchen was in Bremen, which is not Alsace by a reasonable distance. (I think that the base was bread-ish in that case, but I was eating the Lobscouse so am not perfectly certain)
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2015-08-08 04:44 am (UTC)
For dessert I had the 'tourbillon des sapins', a whirlwind of pine trees - expressed by pine bud flavoured ice cream ('bourgeons de sapin') with a shot of sapin liqueur: it was ice cream rather than sorbet, freshly minty and faintly medicinal.

That sounds fantastic. I had savory mint ice cream tonight.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-08-08 04:32 pm (UTC)
That sounds good. I have a recipe for camembert ice cream which I've never dared try, but there must be a place for savoury ices...

Today is actually summery - can you tell?
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[User Picture]From: anef
2015-08-08 03:02 pm (UTC)
We went to Sardinia for a walking holiday a few years ago and it was FANTASTIC - the food, the wine, the scenery, the fascinating historical relics. I cannot recommend it too highly. Basically we did half of this in a week: http://www.inntravel.co.uk/holidays/walking-holidays/Italy/Sicily-Sardinia/Sardinia-North-to-South?tab=itinerary

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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-08-08 04:53 pm (UTC)
That sounds terrific! We used Inntravel once, long ago - discovered that they were booking packages in France put together by the local tourist offices, and started booking direct. But Sardinia's outside my comfort zone, and the recommendation is appreciated.
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[User Picture]From: anef
2015-08-08 05:56 pm (UTC)
Inntravel are always well organised, and they are good at finding excellent little hotels. We stayed at the Hotel Su Gologone near Oliena for a couple of nights, which was comfortable and charming and the food was amazing, and the Hotel Las Tronas in Alghero for another couple. We ate in for one night and I'm pretty sure that this is where we ate for the other http://www.altuguri.it/. Two of us had the seafood set menu and the other two had the veggie set menu, and both were beautifully presented but also very simple and fresh. Delicious. Anyway, I could go on in this vein for some time but you should just go.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-08-10 10:35 am (UTC)
This is not a sheep. This is definitely not a sheep. If I say this often enough, perhaps it will be true. (I have a close up picture of the head, but that is too scary, even for this journal).
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