Life in the Loire on lock-down. 2nd May. Day forty nine.

Feeling full of beans and ready to go this morning. I’ve got lots to do for our new collaboration with Chateau de Montdomaine.

A quick sourdough out of the oven and to work I go. I promise, I WILL stop talking about my sourdough adventures soon as you must be getting very bored with it. I know Nigel is. Although he did say that today’s loaf was the best yet! Sorry.

Another sourdough hits the table in Noizay

Louisa has already done two paintings for the recipes that will accompany the mixed case of wine we’re going to ship to the US and the UK. She’s extremely talented and I can’t wait to see the final recipe cards when they’re fininished. Each one will have one of her paintings on one side and the recipe on the other.

I’m doing some recipe testing today and tomorrow to make sure we have our quantities etc correct and that each recipe can be adapted to suit available ingredients. Louisa is a fabulous cook too. We have lots in common.

Two English ladies (is that the right word?). Both of us living in France. She, an artist, a winemaker’s wife (and from this year a winemaker in her own right), with a restaurant and a wine shop in Amboise. Me, an English wine trade professional since the 80’s (yes I’m a bit older than Louisa damn it), a Loire wine specialist running a wine tour and education company with my husband Nigel. Both of us passionate about wine. Both of us passionate about food. Both of us trying to support each other.

Two Loire wine ladies that realise the best thing to do at the moment is to build each other up, support each other and think outside the box. We’re all going to need each other when we come out of this.

Late this afternoon we formally tasted Le Breton 2018, the Cabernet Franc from Fred and Louisa that we’re pairing with tonight’s dinner.

Formal tasting is quite different to drinking. It’s a professional analysis of the wine. We make written observations, taste independently, then compare them and come up with a tasting note that reflects the characteristics of the wine. It felt good to be doing something constructive.

And then to drinking. We caught up with friends John and Sheila for a Zoom apero before dinner. Sadly, when we come out of lockdown next week, we’ll still be too far away to get together for dinner as we’ll be restricted to staying within 100km of home.

We did however, hatch a plan. A picnic somewhere halfway between us and them. They’ll bring the pork pie, we’ll bring the Scotch eggs (did I really agree to that after the trauma last time?). We’ll each bring a salad, we’ll provide the wine and, the pièce de resistance, Sheila will bring some home made piccalilli. Nigel will be happy, a Scotch egg, pork pie and piccalilli, what more could a man ask for?

Tonight’s dinner was a long slow cooked pork cheek recipe that has flavours of ginger, soy and garlic. This is the dish that will pair with the Cabernet Franc so I’m not going to divulge the recipe. That is part of the surprise for those ordering the case of wines.

Suffice it to say that it was delicious and went fabulously with the wine.

Bon appetit!