Monday, February 8, 2010

Au Revoir aux Amis!

But first, les fromages de la semaine! (the cheeses of the week) - the round number (with the section already cut out, merci monsieur Mac, cheese preparateur extraordinaire) is a Crêmeux de Mont-Saint-Michel: Iris 1) picked it out and 2) asked the fromagier for it by name (he always gives her a little cheese to taste, but this time, it was two!) - it's a deliciously rich cheese, must involve lots of cream at some point. The big slab in the front is a hunk of Beaufort cheese, a total discovery: it's from the Savoie region and this one is made only from summer milk (why do I find that so incredibly poetic?) (I am not alone: Brillat-Savarin dubbed it "Le Prince des Gruyères) - it is absolutely fantastic: it has the nuttiness of Gruyère, but then a gentler final taste, almost sweet at the end; the wedge is a Saint-Nectaire (AOC, from the Auvergne), a strong cheese which surprises you because it smells relatively mild - but the taste: pow! Hallie and Matt tried them all - they fear no cheese!

We've noticed that lots of people take walks along the canal, past the fairy tale house on the island - lots of families with kids roughly 7-12 years old. So we joined the flow and saw the directrice (principal) of Oliver's school, and one of the nice library ladies. This added to bumping into our neighbor's niece at the market, and having a nice chat, is making us feel a part of things. Here, at Iris's insistence, I have a picture of two ducks working against the current to get to each other - brave ducks!

The walk was our last outing with Hallie and Matt - the kids were buzzing with joy all week-end. It was wonderful to be in the presence of such great energy, discovery, smarts, and good will - and they left us all with little treats: drawings for Iris and Eleanor, tales of Tunisia for Mac, a movie recommendation for me (and so tonight I went to see Away We Go right here in town - a lovely, warm film that somehow makes you feel lucky in our human frailty - lots of "gros mots" but that's part of human frailty, too!). Oliver finished the fifth book of Harry Potter right before lunch and it was Hallie and Matt (who have actually read all the books) who were able to most meaningfully rejoice with him! He'd started the six book before the day was out. Eleanor walked them with me to the bus stop where (very conveniently!) Hallie and Matt could take a bus directly to the Rennes train station to catch their TGV for Paris. Alors, au revoir, les amis!!!

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