This week we’re having a ball

Soccer has arrived in France big-time. Happily the French national side kicked-off the European Championships with a win on Friday evening. Over the next 30 days there will be 51 matches – so 76.5 hours of soccer (not including extra time and penalty shoot outs).

He's been on the kir!

He’s been on the kir!

For some that’s a gargantuan sport fest, for others a month of face-painted people dressed in silly costumes waving flags. We guess that soccer (and possibly sport in general) polarises people the world over.

Actually in Europe at the moment it’s quite important to know whose side you’re on. In many cases nationalism is straight forward. For those of us who are expats and have families here it poses interesting cultural issues for the children – do they/should they support the land of their fathers and mothers, or the country of their birth? It’s a good question and hard to answer.

We don’t often reflect on what brought us here to stay but for some reason we decided to up-sticks and live in another country. Then again we only have to go out on deck in the early morning as the warmth of the sun starts to lift the mist hanging over the Burgundian vineyards to know that, whilst this might not be our homeland, our chosen tranquil simple lifestyle here is second to none.

That’s not to say our pulses won’t beat a little faster when England play Wales at soccer this week. We have blood ties to both countries so once again there a little stress about which side we’re on. Furthermore, whilst we may literally be in something of a European backwater, we’re not immune to the tension in the UK just now where the question on everybody’s lips, to quote that wonderful song by The Clash, is ‘Should I stay or should I go’.

Zut alors, who needs all this stress? Luckily for us there could be no better antidote than taking a slow boat through Burgundy. What’s more we know the perfect boat to do it on. Pass me a glass of Santenay – I’m going to go and chill out on deck and I may be some time!

Talking of chilling out our dish this week, taken as ever from Eleanor Garvin’s wonderful cookbook ‘Le Papillon Recipes’ (available through Amazon) is mind-bogglingly simple and guaranteed to take the heat out of any situation.

SORBET A L’ESTRAGON – Tarragon Sorbet


2 cups full fat milk

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced

2 teaspoons heavy cream

Bring the milk, sugar and cream to a boil in a saucepan. Add the tarragon and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool completely then freeze in an ice cream maker. This dish is best served on the day you make it.

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