Showing posts with label coffee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee. Show all posts

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sunny end-of-winter morning

Over the last few days, weather specialists on TV have been warning us that the apparent early arrival of spring is an illusion, and that we should remain prepared for further cold days. Be that as it may, primroses have made their annual appearance at Gamone.

These lovely little flowers have always been the first tangible sign that spring is not far away. Meanwhile, the landscape remains brownish. On the slopes, patches of bare soil, left naked between tufts of dead grass, have a dry lifeless look. After the harsh days and nights of ice and snow, the earth will need a little time to revive and nourish the dormant vegetation. We must be patient.

Already, the weather is sufficiently sunny to invite me outside for my morning cup of Ethiopian Arabica [see my blog post on this subject].

Fitzroy looks on, while Sophia lounges in the morning sun.

Funnily, whenever I step outside the front door at Gamone for a cup of coffee in the sun, while admiring the Choranche valley and the Cournouze mountain, I'm reminded inevitably—by an immediate and automatic mental flashback—of a spring morning in 1962, not long after my arrival in France, when a couple of Australian friends and I were driving through the French Riviera, on our way to the F1 Grand Prix in Monaco. We halted for coffee at a café on the edge of the Mediterranean. It was a simple enough event, and yet I realize retrospectively that it was probably the first time in my life that I had sat down for coffee at an outside table in such a magnificent natural site. Normally, as a youth back in Australia, I should have had similar opportunities at the seaside or in the mountains… but none of them have remained in my memory as vividly as that marvelous first morning on the French Riviera.

For the last two decades, I've been fortunate in being able to rediscover any number of marvelous mornings on my doorstep… at least when the weather's warm.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Internet shopping

Towards the end of my blog post of 12 June 2011 entitled Basic beverages [display], I mentioned my discovery of a shop in Valence named Pivard that sells many varieties of high-quality coffee grains, roasted in their big factory on the southern outskirts of the city. Since then, I've often found myself driving all the way to Valence and back simply to purchase fresh coffee. Now, when I take into account the time it takes for such a trip, and its cost in terms of gasoline, I realize that this excursion to Valence is somewhat absurd. So, I decided to look into the possibility of purchasing high-quality coffee grains through the Internet. I soon discovered that this solution was perfectly feasible, and that the prices were similar to what I had been paying in the shop at Valence. Besides, since proximity (within France) was no longer an issue, I could choose the vendor who seemed to offer the most interesting range of products. I soon discovered that, in Strasbourg (Alsace), an ancient establishment named Reck proposes three varieties of Ethiopian Arabica for which I've acquired a taste: Yirgacheffe, Sidamo and Harrar.

Sure, it would be nicer if I were to drop in personally and buy my coffee grains at the old Reck shop in the Rue de la Mésange, five minutes away from the great cathedral of Strasbourg. But being able to purchase such products through the Internet is indeed a convenient luxury.

I've always been fascinated by the atmosphere and aromas of ancient shops that sell tea and coffee. Thanks to my KitchenAid burr grinder, I can reproduce at least the aroma of freshly-ground coffee in my kitchen at Gamone. And the true pleasure, of course, is in the drinking.