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.
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.
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.
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.