Despite having agreed the menu in advance, everyone turned up bearing a little something of their own. So, to the already groaning table - sausages stuffed with apples and onions, tranches de gigot d'agneau (slices of leg of lamb) marinated in fresh mint and olive oil, giant crevettes the size of baby lobsters, bruschetta, tomato and red onion salad, corn on the cob with lemon and garlic - was added little bouquets of parsley, a jar of pickled wild mushrooms, fingers of courgettes, new red wispy-skinned potatoes still covered in damp soil, a creamy blue cheese dressing, griottes, fresh raspberries, a bottle of walnut wine and a goats' cheese.
After lunch some of us played boules, while others (me) went for an (involuntary) dip in the fountain or sat on the grass drinking wine and admiring the snow-covered peaks of Mont Blanc in the distance.
Roquin brought along a bag of green walnuts for me - smooth husked, like an unripe pear, with a sharp clean astringent smell - since we no longer have our own walnut tree. It's the time of year to make vin de noix (walnut wine) which is drunk as an apéro. I use the 40/40/40 recipe, used by everyone round here - 40 nuts, 40 spoonfuls of sugar (about 1 kg) and leave for 40 days. This year I'm going to add some cloves, cinnamon and lemon peel.
Vin de noix
40 green walnuts, quartered
5 litres red wine
1 litre gnole (or pure alcohol)
1 kg sugar
Place all the ingredients in a container and leave for 40 days in a cool dark place. Strain and bottle.