At the weekend I was invited by a friend to go to a village “do” in beautiful, rural St Remy au Bois in the Seven Valleys, Pas de Calais.
It was a “Tart Competition” and all I knew was that it was in the village somewhere – “look for a gate with a picture of a cow on it” and I was supposed to bring a tart!
Well, I started out with all good intentions I must tell you. I was up early enough to make one, I asked all my Facebook friends to help me with suggestions and Susie Kelly came up with a fabulous idea. A log of goats cheese mixed with a jar of mint jelly and two eggs (optional) and bake it until golden brown on top – scrummy…
But… the best laid plans of mice and men and me…
I have got to confess, it didn’t happen.
The night before I had arranged for my friends to come for a barbeque. Almost the second that they arrived it started to rain so we cancelled the barbecue and went into the house and had a merry old evening. Some more than others… that is to say the OH had an extremely merry old evening.
So merry in fact that he was a bit of a party animal, and then a bit more… and let’s just say that I spent my time in the morning making him aware of his misdemeanours which meant that there wasn’t any time to make tart.
Anyhoo, back to the Tart Contest that we all now know I did not participate in, I offered to take photos instead of contributing to the gorgeous tarts on display. Unless great French Chef Raymond Blanc had been standing at my shoulder telling me what to do, I wouldn’t have had a rat’s chance of winning. I know it’s not all about the contest but even Immi, whose Mum and Grandma had organised the event, and who is only 6 and a half and made of Queen of Hears Tarts did better than I think I would have! I have rarely won anything in my life so I am used to it. I did, when I was 17, win a competition for serving the most customers on a Saturday at McDonalds where I worked to get through school – I won a trip to Paris!
Well, there were plenty of lovely tarts and also arts. The lady who organised it exhibited paintings by local artists – honestly, this is the most artistic region of France, almost everyone seems to paint, draw or do something of a creative nature (and outside of Paris there are more museums in this, one of the smallest regions of France). Everyone who turned up had a tasting of the savoury and sweet tarts and had to judge which was best, this was the the cue for lots of comments about “soggy bottoms” and much hilarity. My personal favourite was the pear tart made with jam by local expert artisan jam makers Tea Together. Not surprising really as they supply the likes of Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, Claridges London and Alain Ducasse in Paris – all from their tiny atelier in rural France!
I am off to try my hand at that goats cheese and mint jelly tart now… so that I’m ready for the next one!