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Archive for May, 2010

Another strong memories I have to share with you is a very rare sight. The “birth” of a new vine plant. Our family owns a wineyard for the past 50 years or so (yes, that’s a lot of wine to drink! 🙂 ) and we’re cultivating and vinifying two major kinds of grapes which are growing particularly well in the sandy stone soil left by the Rhone glacier centuries ago. Indeed, the valley where I come from is the birth place of the Rhone river. So the two kinds of grape are Gamay for the red (perhaps doesn’t ring a bell, but it’s the grape used to make Beaujolais) and Chasselas for the white, the latter being more of a local grape, but is also grown in the Loire region and often blent with sauvignon blanc to produce the “Pouilly-sur-Loire” wine. We also grow some plants of Johannisberg, Pinot Noir and a few hybridal experiment that we use to blend in some of our wine, just to test it out.

Most of the vine plants in our wineyard are old, they were already there before my Grand-Father bought the properties. Most of them are 40 to 50 years old. And once in a while some plants die naturally and so we replace them. You have to know that to start producing wine, a new plant need 3 to 5 years before the characteristics of the grape are starting to be good for wine making. We talk about sugar level and terroir. The deeper the roots go in the soil, the better your wine will be.

our wineyard

Our wine yard in the spring

My Father preparing the soil...

Pushing back the soil...

We gathered some stones around the new plants to keep the heat from the sun.

Clement inspecting the yard 🙂

The planting process is rather simple, we dig a hole of about 30 to 40 cm in the ground (that was my job!), lay some compost in the bottom, place the young plant that we bought from the shop (i’ll explain why…) add some more compost, add a little argile water, fill the hole with the original soil and finally add a good liter of water. That’s it!

The reason we don’t grow our own vine plant from scratch is simple. It’s technical and here is the story: The base wood of the vine plant ( a stick of about 30 cm in lenght with roots) comes from the USA (yes, me too, I was really wondering what’s the catch…) and the actual sort of grape (in that case Gamay) is a little bud transplanted on that main root. This is where it begins and you have to be very knowledgable in doing this to do it yourself.

So, if we planted those in 2010 and for the next 50 years they’ll do the job, we probably won’t be there to see the next round, but the good thing is that we have all that time to enjoy the good wine it produces!! 🙂

Cheers!

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Vacation at home, in Switzerland, are always about family, friends and food. And unless you’re really sick, there is no way to escape any of my family’s delicious cooking – the problem? Weight. You just keep on gaining weight!! 🙂

Of course, I was also very happy to join the efforts and for example, I had prepared this great carrot cake. I glazed it with a nice lemon glaze (lemon juice with icing sugar) as it exits from the oven, so with the heat, the icing impregnate the cake and creates a perfect thin layer around the whole cake. Wow!! I just think that lemon icing is more pleasant to eat than the old style heavy cream cheese frosting.

The carrot cake

The carrot cake amongst my mother's beautiful spring tulips...

And since we were eating from morning until night, I had the privilege to eat (every morning) for breakfast my mom’s black cherry jam that she had made last summer with the cherries from our own cherry tree. We had the luck to be there when all the cherry tree were blossoming – it was spectacular as there was quite a lot of cherry trees in the area.

Cherry Jam

My Mom's black cherry jam with our garden's cherry blossom.

I will always miss home’s food, but for the sake of my weight, I am happy to be back in Hong Kong! 🙂

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