We recently traveled to the Champagne region of France to attend the wedding of our “French daughter” Lucile. For two summers, Lucile lived with our family, immersing herself in the culture and learning English.
With her bright, sunny smile and delightful sense of humor, she fit in perfectly with our tribe, and enjoyed cooking and eating, in particular Maine lobster.
Typical of French weddings, Lucile and David’s was a daylong celebration: civil union, marriage in the church, photographs on the town hall steps, afternoon buffet with games, an evening six-course meal and dancing that lasted until 4 in the morning!
After resting and spending two more days with the family, we drove to a bed and breakfast in the small town of Bouy, Luxembourg.
The countryside was enchanting, rolling hills set with rows and rows of grapevines and fields of wheat, barley, oats and lentils. Massive wind turbines dotted the landscape, and around every corner there were picturesque villages cut from stone, churches with stained glass of the 16th century and window boxes brimming with flowers.
Our hosts were Monsieur and Madame Paillard, friends of David’s family, who spoke no English. With our rusty French, and the help of a dictionary, we were able to communicate quite nicely. We toured their orchard and gardens, visited the rabbits, chickens, ducks and geese and played with their grandson.
But the best part was, of course, the food. Suzanne is an excellent cook, and George tends the orchard, smokes meats and bottles cider.
Every morning for breakfast, we enjoyed glasses of cider, pots of coffee and hot milk, yogurt and fresh fruit, a freshly baked tart, baskets of French bread and croissants and a delicious selection of homemade jams and preserves.
On the day of our departure, Suzanne shared the recipe for her Confiture Rhubarb Orange with me, and my translation to English follows.
Nine years ago, when Lucile returned to France, my promise was to always keep a loaf of French bread and pot of salted butter ready for her, and now, that includes a jar of Suzanne’s rhubarb orange jam.
Rhubarb Orange Jam
- 2 pounds rhubarb
- 4 oranges
- 2 pounds sugar
- 1 package pectin
- Peel the oranges and quarter the fruits. Using a food processor, pulse the peel and the fruit until quite fine. Peel the rhubarb (if quite large). Chop the rhubarb into small pieces. Mix the rhubarb and oranges with the sugar, and allow to sit overnight.
- In a heavy pot, bring the mixture to a boil. Add the pectin and cook for one minute (or according to the pectin directions.) Pour into jars and seal. Enjoy!