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!