Monday June 1, 2009

Bonjour. Comment ca va? C’est tres bien. My mother-in-law enjoyed herself so much she wanted to stay a week! I think she loved having all her seven children and their spouses around her for two days. She was sure she’d packed her own suitcase!

Our group enjoys the inside of one of the courtyards of Mittelbergheim, Alsace. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Our group enjoys the inside of one of the courtyards of Mittelbergheim, Alsace. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

The Alsace and the wedding were wonderful. So were the wines which were all from local vineyards.  After the wedding ceremony in Rosheim at the ancient stone L’eglise St. Paul et St. Pierre, we enjoyed an apero in the courtyard of a former farmhouse. Alsace villages were once mostly farm buildings in a U-shape around a courtyard and a gate leading in. The front of the buildings with the gate joined to the next farmyard  and formed a solid wall to the village street. One of the delights of wandering through the villages is peaking in through these gates. Often this is where the wine tasting takes place, or restaurants have their outdoor seating, or a wedding apero is hosted.

The garcon asked me what I would like to drink. “Un vin rouge, s’il vous plait.” (I did take three years of French in high school.)  He obligingly brought me a glass.

Roses in front of one of the churches of Mittelbergheim, Alsace. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Roses in front of one of the churches of Mittelbergheim, Alsace. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

That’s when I noticed no one else around me was drinking red wine. Oh, oh – a serious faux pas? My sister-in-law: “You asked for red wine? Don’t you know you don’t drink red wine until at least four o’clock?”

Sorry, I grew up in the northern Canadian bush drinking rhubarb and dandelion wine.

But I did enjoy the Champagne from Christian Lassaigne-Berlot as the appetizer, the Pinot Gris 2007 from Francois Platz, Bergheim with the Buffet de Hors d’oeuvre, and the Chateau Meric 2006 – a Bordeaux from Graves – with the Mignon de porc aux baies rouges.

There are many wineries in every village, the trim rows of vineyards covering the surrounding hills. We visited Mittelbergheim on Sunday afternoon. Many of the courtyard gates were open, inviting visitors in for wine tasting. One village has a different farmer every day set up a wine tasting booth in the village square.

Ripening cherries in front of an Alsace farmyard. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Ripening cherries in front of an Alsace farmyard. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

I was delighted to see the first ripe cherries. The Alsace has some fine orchards alongside their vineyards. Westhoffen just to the west of Strasbourg is the cherry capital, hosting a cherry festival every year in mid June. I slipped around a building to take a picture of a tree full of ripe cherries. Yes, I did eat one. But only one!

On our way home we passed many a cherry stand, some also offering fresh strawberries which are in season too, and asparagus, whose season is coming to an end soon.

It was a lovely time to spend a weekend in the Alsace. The wine, the cheese, the cherries, the climbing roses spilling over brick walls, and a wonderful family to share it all with.

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