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January, 2011:

Aperitif á  l’Épine noire

In late 2006 we’d had a roofer in, Denis, to do some renovation and repairs on our old slate roof at the rear of the property. He was a super guy and tireless worker… scampering up on the roof in the dark at 7am and living on-site with us and parking his camper van in the paddock for a few nights each week. A real diamond in the rough.

When the job was over he invited us over to his place to see his renovations on his own place (very impressive) and to view his vehicle collection… he had five Harley Davidson motorcycles, one of which was pre-war and a huge white (white leather interior, whitewall tyres on gold spoke wheels, massive V8 engine) Cadillac pimpmobile. Awesome stuff – he was totally into Americana.

Anywhoo, he took us to his friends place (a very smart riverside petit-chateaux) and we were offered an Aperitif à  l’Épine noire.

Strange to describe this but this drink is made from the spring growth of the woody spines of a blackthorn bush. Speaking to various French neighbours, there seems to be some differences in opinion as to what parts of the bush you use – young fresh buds or young leaves.  We were informed that you cannot buy this drink in the shops but lo and behold we found a bottle.

epine

Now, it’s only a few short weeks until the growth will show again in our hedgerows.   We will be attempting to make our own and will now be able to compare with the commercial version.

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