THURSDAY 7 JULY 2011 • BACK AT HOME IN FRANCHE COMTE
Back at home in Franche Comté
If you ask me what is the most blissful food and wine association - without hesitation I would tell you - a mature Comte cheese and a glass of Jura wine (Savagnin). It is exactly what I got, at the Fort St Antoine, under the sun shining above my pastorale Franche Comté. How lucky I am.
I am here to record the next part of my new series for the BBC, in which I take my two young commis chefs, Katie-Beth and Kush, to different regions of France. Together we discover the produce and cuisine of the area and then we face the ultimate challenge – to prepare and cook a dinner of the local cuisine, for the locals! This is not a task for the fainthearted! We are face to face with our sternest critics, and they know what they like.
But this particular episode is perhaps the most special of all, because I am at home, and the audience will include my own family; including my own teacher and boss – Maman Blanc!
When we arrived in France this time, I was able to go home, see my wonderful parents and be treated to breakfast prepared by my Maman. But there was no time for a false sense of security, as the real task was waiting for us.
Here you can see thousands of saucisses de Morteau and hams being smoked. Franche Comté is a county which really loves his pigs. There is a simple contract between the farmer and the pig: the farmer promises to feed this noble animal and to fatten him/her to the most desirable size, then the pig has to honour the other part of the contract – to return the favour and be the food for the family.
It’s hard to believe but this little deux chevaux is amongst the most iconic and desirable cars! And the girls keptlooking at it... maybe because it was so, so slow? I was getting all my produce to prepare our feast for my family and my friends, so it was getting really personal.
And yesterday was the day! There was a mighty blue sky all over the Jura and far beyond. The night before, and all of the morning, Kush, katie and I worked on our mise-en-place. We gathered some beautiful and authentic local produce; I even chose and killed the fattest rabbit I have ever seen; just two miles away - that is seriously local!
On Tuesday night at 7pm my family (just 30 of them plus chefs, friends and other guests) were arriving at Port Lesney, all expecting to be given a feast to remember. NO pressure!
And in the middle of all this, we are thinking of our friends at Le Manoir and at home and wishing you all an extraordinary day - why not!
Best to you all
PS Please tell me what you think of my blogs and my website: I want to hear from you!
Raymond Blanc's new book, Kitchen Secrets, featuring recipes from Kitchen Secrets Series 1 & 2 and many more, was published by Bloomsbury on 14 February and is available to buy online from Amazon, from Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Brasserie Blanc, Maison Blanc, and from online and retail bookstores.
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