Ratz beer from Cahors

We went for a stroll in Cahors the other day and happened upon a store specialising in local produce: mainly Cahors wine, olive oil, foie gras, rillettes, and beer.

I’m a big fan of beer (although as a girl in France I risk social pariah status every time I order one), and I’m always up for testing some of the local stuff when I happen upon it.

In this case the local stuff is called Ratz and is brewed in Cahors. The white beer got a bronze medal in the 2016 Concours General Agricole, the annual celebration organised by the French Ministry of Agriculture which celebrates the best French produce. That was good, although not as good as the ‘blonde’ (lager or light ale) which has a lovely hoppy taste and is quite strong (6%), which in my opinion makes it better from a taste point of view. That one got the bronze in the 2013 Concours General Agricole.

Both are from the organic range, which is not why I bought them. They just happened to be the only ones sold in the shop, which I suspect sells a lot of stuff to holidaying Parisians who are in general obsessed with anything organic.

I stumbled on an article about he Ratz brewery in the local paper the day after buying the beer and learnt that they’ve been going for 15 years now. The brand seems pretty well known in the region; the beer is distributed in bars and supermarkets there as well as by local wine sellers.

Just a shame the article didn’t feature more info on the founder Christophe Ratz, I would have liked to know more about what motivated him to start up his brewery and why in Cahors, as the Lot is not an area I associate with beer.

In any case I’ll look out for Ratz now I’m back in Paris.

Bluets des Vosges

I bought what are essentially blueberries in vinager last year during a stay in Alsace and Les Vosges. If I’m honest I forgot I had them, hence the delay in eating them.

While visiting a place called Saales we were introduced to  Jean Vogel who has his own fruit farm there. Really nice guy and very keen on showing people round the farm. As a result we bought loads of stuff made on site, including jams and fruit juices and these blueberries which are lovely eaten with meat, in salads etc.

Here’s what the salad looked like (before I added the dressing) – a mixture of avocado, watercress, lettuce, red chicory, parmesan, bulgar wheat and chopped parsley:

The world is your oyster (mushroom)

So two friends decided to buy me a grow-your-own oyster mushroom kit for Christmas. And it’s brilliant.

Yellow oyster mushrooms by Prêt à Pousser

Yellow oyster mushrooms by Prêt à Pousser

This one’s by Prêt à Pousser who provide different colours of oyster mushroom including pink, yellow and grey.

You receive what looks like a brick of Semtex complete with plastic covering, both of them inside a cardboard box that you put on a shelf somewhere (you get an instruction booklet too). You make a slit in the plastic and then give the brick a few squirts every day for 10-15 days, and end up with the result in the photo.

It was great to watch the mushrooms sprouting up from about day 10, and then mature over the next 5 or so days until they’re ready to pick.

I followed the recipe (in French) that came in the instruction booklet and made a really nice persillade this evening with the first crop (but ate it before realising I hadn’t taken a photo) – just the mushrooms chopped up and cooked in a frying pan with garlic and parsley. The second crop (there’s a second one!) will go into a risotto.

Would highly recommend for anyone who is into food and likes knowing where it comes from but doesn’t have access to a garden to grow their own stuff.