Liqueur de Coing Sauvage (Laurent Cazottes)
it’s 22°C in Paris and up next is Berlin.
When we went to Sweden last month, there were chickens (about five or six, one was a beer chicken), pork, aquavit, boxed wine, bottled wine, beer, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, a cat (didn’t eat her), a garden, a trampoline, bowyers, sunshine, and 40 seconds of unreal snow.
We spent most of our stay chilling at our friends’ lovely home which is not only huge, but very nicely arranged. The garden has a patio, the living room a gigantic aquarium, the kids have their own private floor and the basement is set up with machinery worthy of Paris’ best night clubs. The kitchen is an actual kitchen, and Corrida photographs from F’s years in Spain as well as mementos from his punk years give the house a special vibe.
So, during our stay, I was hit hard. Of course, each time I get to hang out with F and M and their darling little A I am overwhelmed with love. She is my dearest friend after all. But this time for some reason I all of a sudden, in one disctinct moment, realized what little A means to me. This little man, I felt in a violent flush of emotion, is about as dear to me as possible.
This is a very powerful feeling. The easiest way to put it I suppose is “unconditional love”. I have this feeling for my parents, my brother, of course. And for the handful of friends who would get the VIP area of the lifeboat were this ship ever to sink. But in the case of my family the feeling has always been around. In the case of my friends, it took years to construct. So, with little A, this is the very first time that the feeling is just there. Instantly. Insane.
It happened in the car, on our way to one of F’s bowyer friends. Little A was tired, or hungry, or whatever babies are when they start crying intensely. I was sitting on one side of him, M on the other. We both tried to quiet little A, and when this appeared impossible, his anxiety started to affect me. It was a strange, helpless feeling. M, being his mother, had an instinctive feeling of what needed to be done. Get to destination as quickly as possible, take little A in her arms, sing to him, walk around with him, feed him. I, on the other hand, was completely useless here. Little A didn’t care for my singing, for my soft spoken voice trying to sooth him, and he looked to be in such a state of dispair, that it broke my heart. And that’s when I knew. I knew that whatever happens, I want to be here for him. That when he grows up, I will be able to remember what he was like when he was a baby. When he will look at me like the old fart I will doubtless become, I will always see him with endless amounts of love and hope. I will do anything within my reach of possibillity for this little man.
Maybe less intense, but just as surprising, was my encounter with a quince liqueur a few weeks ago. Not just any quince and not just any liqueur I must say, but the liqueur of wild quince by Laurent Cazottes, master distiller who hails from the South West of France. His father was a traveling distiller who tought his son the tricks of the trade. And I guess Laurent is a fine student because in the years I have been drinking his products I have yet to come upon Eaux de Vie and Liqueurs that are as rich, as fruity, as pure, as his.
The quince for this liqueur are wild because they are harvested from the bushes and hedges in the region around Laurent’s distillery. He calls this “quince hunting”. The ripe quince are thouroughly cleaned and then left to macerate in Laurent’s wine eau de vie. The result is this liquid gold. Sweet and bitter, full and fresh. As complex as the fruit, dangerous enough you do not want to keep it chilled for fear of hasty consumption.
I can’t wait for little A to be of drinking age, I’ll keep a bottle of this in my cellar for that day.