Apéro Provençal

19 08 2009

It is HOT in Paris these days.  Like, too hot for me to be sitting upstairs in my apartment whose copious afternoon sun one fateful February day made me fall in love with it.  That same afternoon sun is now causing my awesome loft-office to heat up to approximately three million degrees (Fahrenheit, Celsius, it doesn’t really matter at that point, does it?).  I’ve been hearing that this is the hottest summer in Paris since the infamous death wave of 2003.  (well, August, anyway – July often required sweatshirts.)  What does all this have to do with Provence?  Nothing, really, except that down in the South they have longer, hotter summers, and have mastered the art of the refreshing apéritif in the form of Pastis.

The Classic

I’ll admit it took me a while to warm up to the anise-flavored spirit, licorice being a hard one for me to tolerate most of the time.  (There are notable exceptions.)  I still often choose a chilled glass of white or pink wine or a beer for my apéro, but thanks to some fancy boutique pastis Nick and I sampled at a salon, with a minty freshness to balance the other herbal qualities, I have found a place for it in my life.  Which is good, because Nick has taken a shine to the stuff.  We generally keep a bottle of Ricard, one of the most popular mass-market brands in France, on hand.  It is traditionally served chilled, with water to cut its potency.  We, being American, insist on ice cubes, which make it the perfect refresher on a hot day like today.  What’s cool is that when the ice and water hit the clear liquor, it turns a milky mint green color.  It even looks refreshing.

steps 2 and 3

Pastis is often enjoyed in conjunction with a friendly game of pétanque, or boules, as we call it around our house.  While the game is pretty much a national pastime in France, it is especially ingrained in the local culture of Provence, probably due to the region’s wealth of warm, sunny days.

Last Saturday

1. The First Throw, 2. Playing Boules (Pétanque)

Which I shouldn’t be complaining about here in Paris.

Just a quick reminder that my Provence poll is still open, so be sure to vote on how you want me to heat up my kitchen!

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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8 responses

20 08 2009
Lissa

This is the apéro I missed last week? Sad… I, too, have taken a shine to Ricard. We’ll have to do it before it gets too cool – time is flying by!

20 08 2009
Anja

This spring we build a boule lane in our garden. I know that in Provence they play it everywhere, but now we have our own in the garden. We donated a bottle of ricard pastis to our father at the induction party…. nice post and pictures.

21 08 2009
onlinepastrychef

I have an Issue w/licorice flavor, myself, although I’m a fan of Italian sausage in all its fennel-y goodness. Not sure you’ve sold me on the beverage, but it is very keen that it changes color.

Your boules pix reminded me of this. Something that nobody should NOT know about, but most people don’t know anyway. http://www.wvirishroadbowling.com/ Enjoy!

21 08 2009
Ann @ Cooking the Books

I love pastis, though I never drink it when we’re in Provence. Odd. And you can use it in bouillabaisse, too. Your Provence month is making me nostalgic for my vacation! BTW, I’m blogging about Provence too this week — great minds…

21 08 2009
croquecamille

Lissa – No, that evening we just had a bottle of chilled rosé… also from Provence. But we can, should, and will get together soon!

Anja – Thank you! How great to have a boules court in your own backyard! Maybe one day, when we have a backyard to call our own, we will do the same.

pastrychef – I was a hard sell, too, but it’s growing on me. And that road bowling is awesome! Thanks for the link!

Ann – As of now, bouillabaisse is in the lead in the poll, so I just might do that. Great minds indeed. :)

24 08 2009
Hopie

I learned to play pétanque during my theater workshop this summer. The director is on a team that goes to the national tournament every year! Then I got my entire family hooked on it while I was on vacation. We should go play by the canal st. martin like everyone else does ;-)

24 08 2009
Trisha

Your heat sounds miserable — We’re still in for the long haul all the way over here in Phoenix (where we keep our air conditioners running through November). I feel for you, but take comfort in this: Paris is prettier, even through a haze of heat. : )

25 08 2009
croquecamille

Hopie – Absolutely! When are you back?

Trisha – Air conditioner? What’s that? ;)




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