Today I needed a day off. I know you might think I have been off for months, or at least weeks, but being an errant, is hard work... and a very nice one, as well.
I arrived to Nantes yesterday night and decided to extend my stay an extra night before driving down to Bordeaux. A deserved rest for the wine warrior. So today I did a day in the city, no vineyards, no wineries, only museums, churches and city walk. The weather is still cold and the sun seems to shine for its absence (literal translation from a Spanish saying that means the sun is nowhere to be seen).
I was feeling a bit miserable in the cold when I saw the entrance to an art gallery, one that looked more like an antique shop, jammed and full of interesting objects (not only paintings). A painting caught my attention immediately, I just could not get my eyes off. The owner, with the Russian last name of Schkulnyk, was incredibly welcoming and nice. An artist himself, we ended talking about life, wine and career, he asked me if I wanted to try something that I had never tried before (several things crossed my mind) but since I am a declared HSS (high sensation seeker), I said: 'YES!'. What he gave me, was a glass of absinthe which, I recently learned during the wine course in London, is being produced again. So another first timer for me. A 68% alcohol spirit, with anise taste and... interesting. believe it or not, it was not that strong.
After all my efforts of getting rid of part of my painting collection, I am the proud owner of a small painting of two horses by Michel Guyon. I should give up on myself and my very noble intentions of getting rid of things, but when it comes to pretty objects, good intentions are futile.
So happy with my new acquisition I continued my city visit. Nantes is all under construction, so many places were closed or not at their prettiest. Still, a place worth the visit, with lots of museums and gardens.
I have not yet mentioned the difficulties I am having eating in this country, their schedules do not coincide with mine and when I get hungry and start looking for a restaurant, they are closed... Today I had the firm purpose of EATING. In a country where its cuisine is of renowned fame, I was starting to fear I was not going to have the chance to try it, ending up eating the easy stuff, low quality and leaving half of it on my plate. God I am picky!
So finding it easier to eat sweet, my crave for savoury is at its maximum. Midday (almost 15:00) and I did go into, what it looked like, a good place to eat, but was so deceived by the food and the wine, that I decided to focus my efforts on doing better in the evening. I even went into a wine & gourmet products shop and asked for advice of a place where I could enjoy a nice meal and a good glass of wine outside the touristic areas. I was kindly advised by the shop owner and headed towards my gourmet evening, only to find out the recomended 'Bar à Vins' was closed until the 15th of May and other attractive ones I found on my way, as well. 'Con mi gozo en un pozo' (with my joy in a well), I headed towards the cathedral, thinking of going back to the hotel and having another 'something to eat and fast to forget' meal. But my gourmet guardian angels, guided my steps towards 'Le Jardin des Plantes' and the 'Musée de Beaux Arts', two places definitely in line with my personal likes, to find 'THE PLACE' I was looking for; un petit et charmant bar à vins, and with a name as appealing as its apparence: "Le Vin Vivant" where I am enjoying an elegant Loire (Chenin Blanc) white, with a recomforting soup and a cheese platter accompanied by a strong, full of personality, Côtes du Rhône (Grenache et Carignan) red.
Life after good food and good wine is so much better. Time for dessert, between riz au lait au beurre salé, panna cotta avec coulis de framboise, crème brûlée et moelleux au chocolat, the winner is: moelleux au chocolat with a glass of red sweet wine, Grenache, from the French Catalan side. Life is marvellous by now.
The music selection is also 'délicieuse'. What a pleasant evening it turned out to be.
Hopefully tomorrow I will have an early start towards Bordeaux. Merci Loire, it has been my great pleasure.
"Le Vin Vivant" 93 rue du Maréchal Joffre, 44000 Nantes
And a book that might be worth reading: