Jean-Marc and Ricci at Port des Capucins. "I'm going to take her with me to New Zealand!" he teases. Read about my husband's 2024 périple in today's update.
Joyeuse Action de Grâce!
I can't guarantee that's how you say "Happy Thanksgiving" in French. But I hope you have so much to be thankful for and that your lives are brimming with blessings in any language. In addition to the blessings of my Franco-American family, friends, health, and our new dog, I'm grateful to have overcome my fear of making pumpkin pie...
La Tarte à la Citrouille
For a scrumptious tarte à la citrouille I roasted and puréed some farm-fresh potimarron, for 500 grams of pumpkin, mixed it in the blender with du lait concentré sucré (1 cup), 3/4 cup of sour cream, 2 eggs, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 muscade, a pinch of salt and baked it for 40 minutes at 200C (392F was a bit hot!) in a ready-made pastry--une pâte brisée. It turned out delicious! A refaire! Don't miss the photos at the end of this edition but, first, enjoy Jean-Marc's nouvelles, just below.
TODAY'S WORD: le périple
: trek, expedition, journey, long haul
NEW ZEALAND PERIPLE VIA BICYCLE by Jean-Marc Espinasse
Dear Kristi's Readers,
As my New Zealand trip is getting, day after day, more realistic, I would like to thank all of you who have already offered to help me during my 3 months stay in this fabulous country.
Three months... Actually, in 3 months, I will be right in the middle of the bike ride I have just put together. With my long-time friend from Marseille, Bernard, we will start in Greymouth on the West Coast to end in Christchurch. After much hesitation over whether to bring our own bikes from France, we decided to buy some electric hybrid bikes in Christchurch with an extra battery and plan to ride from 40 to 80 miles per day. We will follow the West Coast South bordered by the Alps and in Haast, we will get inland, pass by Wanaka Lake where one of the best NZ wines is, so I will definitely stop there to behold the spectacular vineyard slopes and enjoy the delicious biodynamic wines of Rippon.
The first leg of our trip will eventually end up in Queenstown where we will stay for 3 days to rest after 350 miles in 6 days and to explore the beauty of this city on the Waikapu lake surrounded by magnificent mountains.
The second leg of our bike tour will start by riding through the beautiful vineyards of Gibbston Valley before heading North, inland, to reach, 3 days later, the beauties of Pukaki Lake and Mount Cook
It will then be time to head back northeast to reach the Banks Peninsula where we hope to see dolphins and other beautiful landscapes before returning to Christchurch at the end of February to complete this 900-mile trip.
After a needed rest, I will say au revoir to Bernard and travel North and join the Blenheim area where my job at Whitehaven Cellars starts March 4th. I found a very nice cottage located 7 miles away from my work so I will continue to enjoy my bike for commuting back and forth for another 7 weeks.
When I am done with this exciting period, I plan to explore the North Island. I am not sure if I will use my bike or rent a camper (or both) for that, those plans are still up in the air.
What is certain is that I am going to have a wonderful time in this country that has always fascinated me.
Any suggestions, help, or contacts during my different "périples" will always be welcome at [email protected]
Love and Peace,
Click to listen to the French and English terms
le périple = trek, journey
Joyeuse Action de Grâce = Happy Thanksgiving
la tarte à la citrouille = pumpkin pie
le potimarron = red kuri squash
le lait concentré sucré = condensed milk with sugar
la noix de muscade = nutmeg
à refaire = to do again
une cuisse de dinde = turkey leg
We celebrated Thanksgiving a day early to accommodate friends leaving town. Thanks, Sandra Zirah, for this photo of Jean-Marc and me cooking green beans and une cuisse de dinde over my mother-in-law's chestnut and girolle stuffing. Present at table were Sandra and Patrick, our son Max and Ana, and (vicariously) Mom (she enjoyed her plate of turkey back in her studio. She has a little cold and did not wish to share it with our travelers.).
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety