28 June 2012

Cherry Baby II

Last summer's Kentish cherry story continued most unexpectedly a few weeks later deep in the Catalunyan campo.....

Where shall we go...? Where shall we go....? Where do you fancy...? My Catalan friend kept asking incessantly every few minutes as only he can. "The car needs a good run... Where, where? Let's go for a spin. Lunch somewhere out of town...? Where shall we go where shall we go?
Outside the brand spanking new and Cherry Red Yaris sat glistening in the Mediterranean morning sunshine and did indeed look as if it was waiting just for us. The unaccustomed freedom of shiny new transport to go anywhere anytime without the palavar of a visit to the automobile rental office was such a novelty.
"OK, OK" we relented without having our arms twisted too severely "Get the road map and let's go..... We'll make up our minds where to in the car"

So that's how four close friends one Polish, one Malaysian an Irishman and of course our Catalan host all piled into the car and set off just to enjoy the day and each other's company.Several hours later after a number of obligatory cortado stops we found ourselves deep in the Catalunyan campo in the rolling Pyrenean foothills near the beautiful and ancient village of Rupit about 100 km from Barcelona. We parked up in the municipal car park a little outside town but connected by an unusual suspension bridge which swung and swayed violently when anyone crossed. (It was such great fun to cross, they should have left the infamous Thames wobbly bridge as it was!!)

The beautiful medieval looking houses of the village are built on a dramatic rocky ridge overlooking the Riera de Rupit or Rupit River and narrow, twisting and stepped lanes wind past the stone buildings and entice you further and further into the maze.

Nearby is one of the most dramatic waterfalls I have ever seen. The Salt de Sallent drops some 100 metres from a heart stopping cliff escarpment - really quite amazing and unexpected. Back in the village and after a hearty lunch overlooking the river gorge the inn keeper plied us with "Ratafia de Rupit" the locally made liquor digestif. Of course we came home with a few bottles. This Ratafia has a distinct aniseed taste but is made by soaking a number of herbs in liquor. Those herbs include nutmeg, basil, mint cumin and oregano. We think that instead of the usual kirsch it's flavour is perfect for making a delicious all purpose cherry compot. Put about 500 g cherries into a pan and pour over the liquor. Flambe to burn of excess alcohol and allow to reduce down until syrupy. This is delicious with cream, yoghurt, creme fraiche, creme anglaise, ice cream....vanilla cheese cake you name it......! Cheers

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