To every thing, as they say, there is a season. We are now officially in Aperol Spritz season, with the temperature (as recorded in my car this afternoon) sailing past the 30-degree barrier. In Fahrenheit terms, that’s into the mid-90s.
Here’s a brief refresher on our seasonal drink, plus a couple of other weather-related tidbits.
The impact of heat. The hot, sunny weather means that an Aperol Spritz is now perfectly suited as an apéritif before meals, replacing the vaunted kir. Aperol is made in Italy by the same company that makes Campari, and it’s a similar drink, although less bitter. So an Aperol cocktail is wonderfully refreshing.
Now you probably won’t find the drink available in any restaurant here in French Wine Country, where the idea of stocking a drink made in Italy would be just too bizarre. We order ours specially from the Julien de Savignac wine shop in Sarlat, and eventually a bottle or two shows up.
I wrote about Aperol in my posting “The place for Italian food — in Prague,” on May 11, 2011. To refresh your memory, you make an Aperol Spritz by placing a few ice cubes in a glass; adding a slice of orange; and then pouring in one part of Aperol and three parts of sparkling wine like Prosecco. The original recipe says you should add some club soda, but — hello? Extra water?
In any case, here’s what the bottle looks like if you’d like to track it down in a store near you:
The impact of cold. You may remember that this past February was incredibly cold here, by Greater Daglan Area standards, and it looks like this had quite an impact on the plants and trees here. Here we are in May, and many of the trees that were pruned back hard in the fall are only now starting to show leaves. As an example, here’s the large plane tree in front of Le Petit Paris:
The impact of rain. Following the very cold winter, we had a very rainy spring. The water was much needed, because the landscape had become very parched, and the vegetation had died back more than we’ve ever seen it. But all the rain has brought back the flowers, grass and weeds with a vengeance.
Back in October 2010, I wrote a posting called “Shave and a fauchage, two bits,” in which I pointed out that one of our countryside’s “striking characteristics” is “how neat and tidy it is.” In case you’ve forgotten, fauchage simply means using huge mowing machines to trim the roadsides.
Now, with all our recent rain, the plants along the road are getting just a touch out of control. Here’s how one of the roads leading out of Daglan looked this afternoon:
I have no doubt that some fauchage action is just around the corner. Meanwhile, our thoughts are turning to our brand new barbecue, which has been sitting in the garage waiting for the weather to warm up. I am thinking of some nice fat hamburgers cooked over charcoal; my wife Jan is thinking of grilling some sardines. We shall see.