Today’s taste of France is a Pavé Chocolat – and today’s French word is Pavé = “paving stone.” A Chocolate pavé is a very rich, dense, flourless cake. A little too rich for me, but it’s not named after a paving stone for nothing. Many foods in France carry the name Pavé, which merely reflects their shape or cut; for example we had a pavé of fish for lunch once and often buy pavés of pork. Sliced bread is hard to buy as bread is mostly sold whole in baguette style lengths or in rounds. In the supermarket you can normally only buy brioche (sweet bread) sliced, but today we managed to find sliced bread in the 7th century monastery town of La Réole. It came in two thicknesses, American Sandwich or Pavé (toast slice).
If you are wondering why I keep buying these cakes it is because the nasty bakery down the road makes us walk pass lots of beautiful enticing cakes to get to the till. (Us? – ed.)
Unfortunately I couldn’t burn off the sugar build up from my morning cake as the rain has set in, therefore no winery trip and no geocaching, so you are getting a spiel on shutters.
Most houses in South West rural and small town France have shutters. Depending on the season and whether you have double glazing and curtains, they can serve many purposes, for example shade, insulation, security and privacy. As with our last property, some people use them as decorative features and leave them open all the time.
Shutters come in all different shapes and sizes, colours, building materials and operate manually or electronically. Below are some photo examples. However before you peruse them let me tell you the cons to Kiwis. Our current house has faux curtains and no double glazing, so we have to use the shutters. In the morning if you want to check the weather you have to open the window (they all open inwards), and then open the shutters, meanwhile the draught has come in and the neighbours are looking at you in your bed attire, or not.
Each day instead of just opening the curtains, you have to open the window and lean out to push back the shutter and lock it in place with a clip. Not all houses are single story so this can be quite dangerous especially when there is only a single low down bar to stop you falling out. I’m not too reliant on the dodgy 200 year old masonry. I open the shutters upstairs because it lets the heat in, however downstairs I can’t be bothered as no heat is ever going to come in and the house is right on the road side. The shutters and windows here are also high maintenance painted wood that haven’t been sanded properly, so the layers of paint cause the windows to jam together making the whole exercise more of an ordeal.
A couple of people who decided to try living in France for three months, to absorb some of the culture and to try a diet of Baguette, Cheese and Wine.