There is totally room for potatoes in all the gaps in the meat section. Especially if you slow-roast and mash them..mmmm

There is totally room for potatoes in all the gaps in the meat section. If you slow-roast and mash them, they’ll definitely fit… mmmm.

High on the list of things that may be the worst idea in the world: attempting to eat a Paleo diet while living in France.  Look.  It seemed like a good idea when I got here, and it didn’t seem so tough to implement with some deregulations – at home my pantry is paleo-friendly, and when I go out I can eat what I want, although I haven’t tended to stray too far just yet.  But then I went to London and gorged myself on potatoes.  (There was some wine in there too.) And now that I’ve been back for one day, I’m in potato withdrawal.  (Not even bread… clearly I’ve got some Irish in me somewhere!)

London was another escape to the land of the English-speaking, during which it appears I lost any and all ground gained while immersing myself among the French for the first week.   The wine tastings didn’t help with language retention, as you can see from this very scientific chart, although were particularly useful with increasing my knowledge of wines from the Rhône – especially Côtes du Rhône – and Italy.  I feel a peculiar affinity for the tortoise statues sitting in the middle of Place de la Victoire, and no desire to be active.

More math required to properly optimize said returns.

Feed me grapes and let me lie here in the sun!

Feed me grapes and let me lie here in the sun!

The London weekend started out with me feeling properly British by playing a game of football (soccer to the North American crowd), followed by a pub and then tea in not-so-quick succession.

London Secrets: a blurry Eye on the way home of what was supposed to be a game of footie, but is really a night at the pub. And invisible sunworshippers.

London Secrets: a blurry Eye on the way home from what was supposed to be just a game of footie, and invisible sun worshippers.

This winery is located somewhere near the nose of the plane.

Font de Michelle is located somewhere near the nose of this plane. The important takeaway from this picture is that I did not lose the paper plane competition.  (standard post-wine lunch activity)

The next day a good friend (and wine merchant) had arranged a tasting with a producer from the Côtes du Rhône, in the southeast of Châteauneuf du Pape (near Avignon: ‘the new castle of the Pope’) from a winery called Domaine Font de Michelle.  We were fortunate enough to try vintages from 1998 through 2014, so got a good experience of the evolution of the wines and styles.

One of the neat things about this winemaker is that he grows all the 13 accepted Châteauneuf du Pape varietals (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, etc) but doesn’t regulate the exact balance of each in order to create a specific blend, the way many Bordeaux or Tuscan winemakers do. In fact, he often replaces old vines of one varietal with completely different varietals, and always blends all of the grapes together during the harvest. So the wines are a completely unique expression of each year, rather than an attempt to recreate a signature blend of flavours each time. Makes it far more interesting for the consumer, and – having had the chance to compare several vintages – a pleasant surprise to look forward to in each bottle.

It was hard to tell when the wine lunch ended and the weekend began, but it must have, because I found myself still there on Saturday, well into said weekend.  Fortunately for my liver, the wine tastings slowed down to a crawl, and I could just spend some time with friends – tapas, coffeeshops, walks through Clapham Commons; I tried my hand at Pétanque (Bocce ball for the North Americans), and Sunday wrapped up with an impromptu party in Brixton with – you guessed it – more wine. Almost everyone I know here happens to be attached to the industry somehow, so a certain amount of consumption is inevitable.  Encouraged, nay educational, even.

I saw the sun, and it opened up my eyes: early morning Brixton on the way to pick up fixings for breakfast, and above St Paul’s Cathedral.

It was finally Monday, and almost time to go home, but not without a proper English breakfast, a visit to the Whisky Shop and the Decanter Italian wine tasting, before heading back to Bordeaux.  Slightly tired and dehydrated, but definitely happy.

South Bank

I’m a sucker for a good billboard quote; had breakfast at this lovely little place with quirky signs and a river view.

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