Colombard Wine, French Bread
Mussel, Onion and Parsley Chowder Recipe
In another life, not that long ago actually, I remember one evening when we (my husband and I) took some American guests who were staying at our B and B in France to a local vineyard for a nocturnal “dégustation”. The vineyard in question was Domaine Gardrat, it was (and still is) our favourite source of good Charentais wine as well as Pineau des Charente. I say it was in another life, as I try to distance myself from the Karen that went on that particular
bender tasting session, as she was not that well-behaved! Picture the scene; it was a very hot summer’s day in SW France – I had been up at the crack of dawn serving breakfast to the guests, and then there was the cleaning of the rooms, laundry, shopping and prep for the evening meal. Malcolm and I got on very well with these particular guests and we had promised them a special wine tasting excursion one evening. And so it was that we drove to Domaine Gardrat one evening for a wee tasting session. The tasting room was a small hut, from where Mr Gardrat emerged having dismounted from his tractor around the back, still in his “les bleus”. Excitement mounted as he sat four wine glasses on the counter and uncorked the first wine………my favourite, the Rosae.
I won’t go into all the details, they aren’t pretty, but suffice to say that I over imbibed, and Mr Gardrat realising he had a real
lush connoisseur of his wine in his presence, plied me with more and more…….and, for those of you out there who have seen the “wine tasting sketch” in Absolutely Fabulous, then all I can tell you is that this was a very similar cameo of over indulgence. I don’t think I was QUITE as bad as Eddie and Patsy, but there are photos of me sporting a “wine”moustache somewhere, whilst wine dribbled down my chin……….Malcolm “poured” me and our equally inebriated guests into the car and drove us home, where I somehow “threw” together a meal for all of us, I cannot remember what it was now, and yes, we DID buy several cases of wine! Anyway, enough of that, the reason I mention that particular (shameful) incident, is that today I uncorked a bottle of Domaine Gardrat’s fabulous Colombard wine to accompany our Mussel, Onion and Parsley Chowder for lunch…..and the memories, such as they are, flooded back!
This luscious chowder style soup is part of the Healthy Happy Heart’s challenge that I am currently undertaking with Fish is the Dish. You can read more about it here: Healthy Happy Hearts: Low-Calorie Spicy Mexican Fish Wraps Recipe and here: Seductive Salmon! Salmon, Sorrel & Cream Cheese Parcels (Recipe). As part of this challenge, I am required to eat fish or seafood at least twice a week, which isn’t that hard for me, and this is recipe number three in week two. I was sent a hamper of fish a week or so ago to help me with this six-week challenge and there were a big bag of mussels as part of my fishy haul! Mussels freeze very well, and so today I decided to defrost them to make this creamy, unctuous soup for lunch. The inspiration for this soup came from my love of that American classic, New England Clam Chowder; when I lived in the US many years ago, I had the pleasure of eating genuine clam chowder on many occasions, as I lived near the Eastern Seaboard – I also attended “clam bakes” too, a fabulous way to eat fresh seafood. This recipe is also very similar to the Scottish classic, Cullen Skink, only mussels replace the smoked haddock. Whatever the name, this soup was perfect for a cold spring day, and I served it with the aforementioned glass of wine (as a pre-weekend treat ) and some crusty bread.
Wine is NOT compulsory when eating this recipe, but after a rough few weeks we (Malcolm and I) decided that we were “worth it”, and after all, it is the weekend! If you have clams available, then do add them to this soup – I also like to add sweetcorn to chowder style soups when I make them. I hope that the snow and rain will not affect your Palm Sunday weekend, stay warm and see you later with a new bread and Hot Cross Bun recipe…….bye for now, Karen
Other Healthy Happy Heart Recipes: