Sunday, October 28, 2012

In search of the Bramley...

Autumn has really arrived in Burgundy and I love it. Each day I glance up at the hills above our home and see that gradually the leaves are donning their Autumnal hue and I remarked to Joe just yesterday that along with Spring this is a favourite time of year for me. The tourists have mostly departed and those of us with chambres d'hotes are beginning to see an end to the season - our place is open until way into November but we really don't expect many visitors at that time of year.

A real sign of Autumn arriving was the Fete de la Pomme - the apple festival - which was held in the Salle des Griottons in Cluny recently.

We had seen the signs for it over the last 2 weeks before and I was very keen to go because I have been hunting for an apple seedling to plant in the garden from which I hope to harvest apples similar to Bramleys. It seems amazing to me here, that whereas apple pie is a very popular dessert (tarte au pommes) the Bramley apple is unknown. I was really hoping that among the 300 varieties of apples on display I might just find the Bramley.

The Salle des Grittons in Cluny was a hive of activity as was part of the campsite next door which was opened up for food stalls of various kinds, an ancient tractor display and other things for sale including plants for the garden. We had a good conversation about the Bramley apple with the owner of the nursery on the edge of Cormatin. He was intrigued to hear just how acidic the Bramley is and he suggested what we could do in order to get a Bramley established in our garden. When you next go to England, was the instruction, take cuttings from some Bramley apple trees and store them in your fridge back in France in a plastic bag. Then at the beginning of March when there is a special weekend organised for grafting rootstock we can bring the cuttings to be grafted on to rootstock to plant and nurture.
I still hoped that the exhibition of apple varieties in the hall might prove that the Bramley really did feature.
Joe and I diligently searched through all 300 - yes 300 varieties of apple - but NO Bramley. We talked to the local expert - he had not heard of the Bramley so he is going to investigate! The nursey man wants us to bring a cutting for him! So who knows what will happen with the Bramley in Burgundy!
Along with the 300 varieties of apples there were opportunities to buy either fresh or pasturised apple juice - delicious!
Here the apples are being pressed for the juice!
Also on show were lots of potirons - squashes - and the chance to buy some to make soup with. We did this but I'm sorry to say it wasn't as tasty as I thought it would be! Perhaps it is my fault for not searching for a recipe but throwing everything in!
So watch out if you live in the Midlands as we shall be asking our friends to pass on cuttings of Bramley apples so we can introduce it to Burgundy!

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