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Autumn, cider and leafy dances in France


I hope that you and yours are well.

Here, as I sit and chat to you, a mad whirlwind of leafy ballet is taking place right by my head as the wind is whooshing past my little pigsty window. Gold, red and green leaves are whirling and twirling as if showing off. Then they are whipped away by a gust and whizz over the hedges to entertain my neighbours and the dogs and cats who chase them and jump about in the crisp air trying to catch them. And soon enough, another leafy performance takes place by the window, it’s mesmerising to watch and I’m not getting much work done. That’s not good, as I have to finish editing my new book (you can see the cover here on Instagram – I hope you like it)…

Bread Man says that this is his favourite season, it’s when he is busy making ‘appy pies’ which is his way of saying apple pies and since they do make you very happy, I don’t correct him. If you’ve never had a Tarte Tatin, a French ‘appy pie’ there’s a recipe below – it is truly delicious.

The wind has made all the apples fall from the trees in my garden, the late spring frosts did a lot of damage to the delicate blossoms so this year, there were not that many. A couple of years ago we were invited to join the Cider Club – a group of neighbours headed up by my friend and mentor Jean-Claude. Everyone pools their apples together to make a robust and scrumptious cider that’s shared out amongst us all. We usually fill a trailer load and a mobile press is hired and the juice is matured in barns in the village watched over by Jean-Claude.

This year there are not enough apples to justify the cost of the press, but as Jean-Claude says, ‘there is always a next time’ and we have plenty of cider left from last year’s bountiful harvest. There are just about enough apples to do some proper old fashioned home brewing, chopping by hand, and as you walk around the village, the smell of fermenting apples in barrels competes with Thierry the farmer’s tractor loads of fertiliser!

Jean-Claude’s mother-in-law Claudette turned 90 this year and she swears that a glass of home-made cider at breakfast is what keeps her youthful. She definitely is that, she’s full of beans and zips around the village, but I can’t quite bring myself to drink cider with my boiled eggs – yet!

Wherever you are, I wish you a very bon weekend and bisous from my little pigsty in France!

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Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online, and My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life

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Inspiration of the week: Gorgeous B&B chateau in Bergerac for the perfect break…

Weekly recipe: Tarte Tatin, created by accident and utterly scrumptious

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