Monday, June 04, 2012

I ate an eel and I liked it

Not eating eels became one of my life's ambitions after reading, and then watching, the wonderful The Tin Drum. For those of you who aren't familiar and have strong stomachs, here's the key scene as written (you really should go read the book, it's good stuff, I promise!) or on film:


If that creeped you out, then the Eels song from The Mighty Boosh, while still a bit gross, lyrics-wise, might take the edge off a bit, or is at least less likely to make you lose your lunch. Plus any excuse to gaze upon the glory of Noel Fielding:

But back to the topic at hand after that musical break: your faithful correspondent was tricked into eating eel fresh (?) from the Loire at a cooking demonstration at this weekend's Vitiloire wine festival. And, you know what, I liked it! I don't know if I'm going to be signing up to knowingly eat more eels anytime soon, at least not after seeing that clip again, but hey, I can tick it off the list if nothing else! (PS 'eel' is 'anguille', if you don't want to unexpectedly feast on one yourself.) Hopefully no horse's heads were involved in the making of this dish...

As for the Vitiloire, it's my third time attending this wine festival. For the first time, I went wanting to buy wine and came away with only one bottle, quelle disastre! We went for the last 4 hours on Sunday, and it just didn't turn out to be long enough. I tasted plenty of pleasant wines, but despite taking notes, they all started to blur after a while, and in the end we just ran out of time to go back and buy the ones I'd pegged as 'nice'. Must be more decisive next time, or leave more time for tasting! Still, it was a nice 4 hours - it costs 5€ for a glass and you can taste as much as you want, plus there is food and more structured dégustations and the aforementioned cooking demonstrations.

I had been meaning to go down on Saturday as well, but it was just so damn hot! 29 degrees, 80% humidity - unbearable. I was vacuuming my little attic apartment in the middle of the day, wearing the ear defenders I bought for the F1 since my vacuum cleaner has started making the most unbearable high-pitched squeal, and literally dripping with sweat. Or, sorry, if you're a stickler for such things, then I was literally glowing with a sense of ladylike decorum. I don't like a lot of heat. People think that New Zealand's hot, but it's really not, at least not where I'm from (does get damnably humid though). In Auckland, I would say 25 is nice and hot, 28 getting probably too hot, and over 30 is pretty much unheard of. (This record may have been surpassed, but in 2009 a temperature of 32.4°C was enough to make it the hottest day 'ever' in Auckland. I think that was just before I came back to Auckland from Wellington, because I seem to recall missing it - and never having seen temperatures of over 30 reported in my personal experience.)

Thankfully, that evening we had a huge (but fairly brief) thunderstorm, with hail even, which brought the temperatures down. There were fireworks for the Vitiloire on Saturday just after the storm, but unfortunately I just missed them, since I'd been umming and ahhing too long about whether to go into town for a drink or whether it would rain again. Friday was another fun day - a free massage in the morning, followed by a workout (wrong way round, I know, but the massage was too early to get up for the gym beforehand), a bbq lunch in the sunshine at Liz's and then meeting a friend for a late afternoon drink down at the guinguette. And tomorrow I'm off to Paris overnight, staying with the lovely Mary Kay. Hard life!


  1. Good luck in Paris!! xxx

  2. Did that woman regurgitate an eel?

  3. Reminds me to try and get some jellied eels when we're in London!

  4. Slimy eels aside, I have one question - how did you get a free massage?! It's funny how you toss that in as if it's barely worth mentioning.

    Thanks to the the first clip, I've scratched "eating eels" off my "top ten things to do in France" list.

    Good luck with the interview - I look forward to hearing about how it went when I see you this evening!

  5. I especially don't think I could do jellied eels, ewwww!

    The gym was having a special "Asian week" - so free shiatsu and thai massage :)

    Sorry to alter your top ten list, but maybe it's for the best! See you this evening!

  6. Good for you for trying new things!!! How delish is eel! Nice salty, slimy little suckers! Nom nom nom...

    I'm so bummed that I am ONCE AGAIN missing you in Paris!! I wish you the best of luck!!

    ...And quoi? You're staying with MK?! Ooh, will her foxy son be there? ; )

    No, but really, when I read things like this, it makes me LOVE the blogger community even more than I do. Amazing. :)

  7. I know, next time send me a schedule of your international movements!! No foxy son :( but MK and I still had a blast! I know I'd never have imagined a short time ago that a blogfriend would invite me into her home, trop cool!

  8. Hi Gwan. I'm Denise from Bolton, an English friend of MK and another blogger. I followed MKs link to your blog and although I don't really find tapestries light my fire ( each to his own! ). But I read some more of your blog and it gave me the laugh for the night. Especially you're rant about the arrogant Frenchman who though you coudnt speak English.

    So another blog to add to my daily reading list. If this keeps up I will have to give up work to spend all my days keeping up!

    Thanks for the entertainement. Hope you get a job soon.

  9. Hi Denise, thanks for commenting and I'm glad you liked it! MK and I were talking about you and your exciting globe-trotting lifestyle actually, I'll have to check your blog out! My family is actually from not too far from you - my mum's from Liverpool originally and my dad's from Carnforth (near Morecambe/Lancaster). I don't think I've had the pleasure of visiting Bolton though.


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