Summing up & Coming up

Above is a 3 minutes résumé of Nicole & Pierre’s last three months!
Thank you so much to all the friends we met, reconnected, showed & performed with  during May June July 2015 — they were truly inspiring times!

Back in NYC after super exciting, intense & rich times in Sète, Bourg d’Oueil, Marseilles, Cannes, Tourves, Celles, Chateauvert, Aix en Provence, Paris, Germ en Louron & finally Durango Mexico —see slideshow résumé below. And now looking forward to the next gig with magnificent Michael Bisio on bass, we will explore some Champs/Songs on Saturday July 18th at 6 PM at Cornelia Café. The brick vaulted cellar is the perfect place to cool off, the food is tasty, good wines & cocktails available.

Saturday July 18 2015
6PM (ends at 7:30) $15 w/a drink
Nicole Peyrafitte & Michael Bisio
at Cornelia Café  — 29 Cornelia Street – New York City

“Poetry Chansons Improvisations accross continents & languages with Nicole Peyrafitte’s nourishing, sensual, campy and scintillating multi-layered vocal range & texts, & Michael Bisio’s extraordinary tonal beauty & intensity of the very personal musical language of his double bass”

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“Un Auròst” January 1 2015 at Poetry Project


Video capture Richard Berger
“Un Auròst” —with Michael Bisio on bass— at Poetry Project New Year’s Day Benefit Reading.

This tri-lingual piece was written with words from three sources. Most come via Maria Blanca (1765-1849), the last aurostaira or professional mourner — a soothsayer, in fact, & even more so a “truth-sayer.” Maria Blanca was from the Vallée d’Aspa in the French Pyrenees. The other words come via Marcabrun (1130-1150), one of the earliest troubadours & finally some are my own.

Heads up!
The full schedule of upcoming events will come up in a few weeks but save the dates for:

Nicole Peyrafitte & Sunnylynn Thibodeaux at The Poetry Project —Wednesday February 25th 8PM —Michael Bisio will be also part of my reading/performance .

& back by popular demand: the Cabaret Hérétique w/ Adrian Cohen on piano on Sunday March 8 8:30PM at Bowery Arts & Science

Cabaret Hérétique Sunday Nov 16 6PM

CabHeretique

 

In the tradition of Cabaret Voltaire, Nicole Peyrafitte’s presents :
CABARET HERETIQUE
Sunday November 16 2014 6PM
BOWERY POETRY CLUB

a voco-musico-poetico-comestible performance focused on
100 years of chansons poetry & food!

This is the premiere of a seventy-five minute show where Edith Piaf can rendez-vous with Henri Michaux & Fréhel with Tristan Tzara. Musical director & pianist Adrian Cohen weaves his distinctive touch on piano & synthesizer throughout Nicole’s hairetikós selections. Vintage videos, original works, special guests & complementary delicious sampling of food are on the menu.  

Nicole Peyrafitte: Born in the French Pyrenees. Her texts, voice-work, paintings, videos, & cooking are showcased in a range of multi-lingual & multi-faceted performances, recordings & publications. Her work is informed & characterized by an artistic quest between two continents & four languages. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, poet Pierre Joris. More info: http://www.nicolepeyrafitte.com/

Adrian Cohen, born in Niagara Falls NY, graduated from the Berklee School of Music in Boston. He opened for artists such as Terence Blanchard, Larry Coryell & K.D.Lang & recently performed with the Charles Neville Quartet at Blue Note in New York. He lives in Brooklyn, NY where he runs a thriving teaching studio. http://www.carrollgardenspiano.com/

With guest readers: Bob Holman, Sophie Malleret, Nada Gordon, Douglas Rothschild, Pierre Joris, Noel Urayoan

Complimentary appetizers by:
dartaganlogo

Tickets in Advance $10 here
$15 at the door
Facebook event

Occitan Trobadors in NYC: a Symposium, a Banquet, a Performance

nyoctrobpostcardrgb

On Saturday, November 23, Poets House, in partnership with City Lore and NY’OC Trobadors, hosts a landmark symposium celebrating and bringing the riches of southern French poetry and culture to the American public. The symposium gathers international and local poets, artists, scholars, and performers to share the fascinating history of the region and bring to life the songs of troubadours past and present in the endangered lenga d’òc (Occitan language). Chef and foodie favorite Ariane Daguin, owner of gourmet purveyor D’Artagnan, will host a reservation-only Gascon Buffet with a short historic overview of Occitan cuisine and cooking demonstration. The evening will culminate in a music and poetry performance featuring accomplished bicontinental artists Joan Francés Tisnèr (project director), Jakes Aymonino, Domenja Lekuona, Pierre Joris, and Nicole Peyrafitte. Other presenters include New York University scholars Deborah Kapchan, Sarah Kay and Richard Sieburth, and director of Fondacion Occitània Alem Surre-Garcia.

The 11th century trobadors and trobairitz of Occitania, a region spanning the entire southern half of France (Bearn, Languedoc, Auvergne, Limousin, Provence) and encompassing the Occitan Valleys in the Italian Alps and the Aran Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees, have long inspired American poets, most notably Ezra Pound, with their lyrical, secular, and often subversive verse-commentary on the culture, politics, and love affairs of their time. Mythologized as wandering mystics, these professional poets set the stage for everything from poetic forms like the cantata and sestina to the passionate and carefully-wrought works of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan to Top 40 love songs. The Trobadors symposium celebrates and bears witness to a millennium of Occitan culture and influence around the globe.

Symposium Schedule
Opening Remarks: Richard Sieburth
2:00–3:30 PM: Topologies of Occitan Language & Culture
Languages & their Territories with Nicole Peyrafitte, Domenja Lekuona, Alem Surre-Garcia; Occitan & the Orient with Deborah Kapchan; Participatory Introduction to Occitan Language & Songs with Joan Francés Tisnèr

4:00–5:30 PM Occitan Literature Through the Ages:
Troubadour Poetry: The Classical Moment with Richard Sieburth; Occitan Literature: The Middle Ages with Sarah Kay; Occitan Poetry: The 20th Century & Beyond with Pierre Joris & Alem Surre-Garcia

5:30–7:00 PM: Gascon Dinner with Ariane Daguin and D’Artagnan (Space is limited: Reservations Required)
Buffet Gascon offered by gourmet purveyor D’Artagnan, with short historic overview of Occitan food and cooking demonstration by Ariane Daguin and Nicole Peyrafitte. Gascony is a region in Occitania known for its “sweetness of life” and is home to foie gras and Armagnac brandy.

Dinner admission (includes evening performance): $25 per person.
Reservations REQUIRED!
 please contact Joe Fritsch at (212) 431-7920 x 2832 or [email protected].

7:00–9:00 PM: NY’OC Trobadors Multimedia Performance
Journey through a millennium of Occitan culture in music, images, and bilingual poetry. With Joan Francés Tisnèr, Jakes Aymonino, Domenja Lekuona, Pierre Joris, and Nicole Peyrafitte.

EVENT SPONSORED BY: Poets House   & City Lore
Partners:
D’artagnan, Région Aquitaine, Cirdoc, InÒc, DRAC, CG64, Ville de Pau Produceurs: Lo NAu (Occitania), Ta’wil Productions (USA)

Additional donnors:
André Spears & Anne Rosen, Margo & Anthony Viscusi, Jason Wise, anonymous

– See more at: http://www.poetshouse.org/programs-and-events/readings-and-conversations/trobadors-symposium-occitan-poetry#sthash.ufM31TLU.dpuf

En Route Again!

at The Taste of france

The picture above was taken on September 28-29 at The Taste of France where I had the pleasure of MC’ing the main stage for the entire weekend. The event took place at Bryant Park in NYC & one of my favorite moment was to be on stage with my occitan acolytes: Ariane Daguin (d’Artagnan) & Pierre Landet (Executive chef at Chez Felix, in NYC). Here is Ariane showing  an aiguillette de canard, or the little tenderloin part found on top of the magret de canard that you’ll never find on your plate because it’s the cook who always eats it!

Throughout the weekend many artists & chefs were featured on stage, among them Julie Andrieux (Les Carnets de Julie), an important delegation of the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France, The Metropolitan Opera singers & their director Peter Gelb.  I want to thank Abby & Guy René from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, without whom the cooking demos & tasting could not have happened so smoothly; also, a big thank you to the volunteers & a special mention to Alexis!

Voilà, we can move on to the next events & that will be a reading at The Shed Space in Brooklyn on Thursday — & Friday we are off to our old stomping ground in Southern California for two weeks! Check out details below .

Photo Pauline Catherinotphoto Pauline Catherinot

Nov 23
A Symposium on Occitan Poetry
Poets House
Full brochure here

Past Events:Many Videos of Nicole Peyrafitte at the Festival des Voix Vives, Sète – France, July 2013.

Photos of NY’OC Trobadors Residency in Béarn

Video of Pierre Joris reading at DIA Foundation, 8 April 2013.

Video of Pierre Joris reading at Whitman’s Birth Place, 6 April 2013.

NP modeling for plurifonctionel Montreuil artist Touta Bakouche

Photos by poet/blogger Pauline Cathrinot

NY’OC Trobadors residence in Béarn
more pix here

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Pierre on Twitter
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 Blogs:
Pierre Joris‘ blog

After a great summer filled with many exciting events (see sidebar for links & pix) voilà our fall schedule. We are hoping to see many of you here or there! Keep in touch.— Pierre & Nicole

Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 September
Manhattan, NY
Nicole Peyrafitte will be the MC at Taste of France. Yes! Come to France by subway! Come to Bryant Park this weekend, the French are taking over! Many cooking demos, music & even diplomacy since The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, has been announced!

Monday September 30  5:00 – 7PM
Manhattan, NY
Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte present: The Making of The University of California Book of North African Literature: Poems for the Millennium Vol.4
NYU – Hagop Kevorkian Center, 255 Sullivan Street (at Washington Square South) NYC.

Thursday October 10  8:00PM
Brooklyn, NY
Nicole Peyrafitte reading at The Shed Space with Kimberly Lyons & Nada Gordon
366 6th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY.

Tuesday October 15  3:00 – 7:00PM
Los Angeles, CA
Pierre Joris talk & reading at USC Dornsife Department of English
Ide Memorial Common Room, THH 420
3501 Trousdale Parkway
Taper Hall of Humanities 404 -University Park
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354

Wednesday October 16  7:30PM
Los Angeles, CA
Pierre Joris poetry reading at Otis College of Arts & Design
Ahmanson Hall Forum
9045 Lincoln Blvd L.A. 90045

Thursday October 17 10AM-1PM
Los Angeles, CA
Pierre Joris presents Poems for the Millennium Vol.4 : The University of California Book of North African Literature at USC Dornsife (w/ NP multimedia presentation & readings)
Table ronde moderated by Olivia Harrison with Guy Bennet, Teresa Villa Ignacio & Kenza Sefrioui. Details here

Wednesday October 23 4:30PM
San Diego, CA
Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte present Domopoetics at UC San Diego.
SME Performance Space Room. Details here

Thursday October 26 8:00PM
Brooklyn, NY
Pierre Joris at World Series Poetry & Music Spectacular
Unnameable Books, 600 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn.

Saturday October 26 4:00-6:00 PM
Brooklyn, NY
Pierre Joris reads at “Come Together: Surviving Sandy” Dedalus Foundation & Brooklyn Rail Reading
Industry City (Sunset Park, Brooklyn)
d.t.b.a.

Thursday & Friday 8 November  
Brussels, Belgium
Keynote lecture & reading by Pierre Joris; poetry reading & performance by Nicole Peyrafitte.
Moving Back and Forth between Poetry and / as Translation: Nomadic Travels and Travails with Alice Notley and Pierre Joris
Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Saturday November 23  2:00 – 9:00PM
Manhattan, NY
A Symposium on Occitan Poetry, Lectures, Gascon Dinner & NY’OC Trobadors Performance, with Jakes Aymonino, Pierre Joris, Deborah Kapchan, Sarah Kay, Domenja Lekuona, Nicole Peyrafitte, Richard Sieburth, Alem Surre-Garcia, Joan Francés Tisnèr. Full brochure here
Poets House, 10 River Terrace (at Murray Street), NYC 10282.

Monday December 2  8:00PM
Philadelphia, PA
Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte Reading
Plays and Players Social Club
1714 Delancey Pl, Philadelphia

Tuesday December 3  6PM
Philadelphia, PA
Pierre Joris at the Kelly Writer’s House: The Holocaust Experience in the Poetry of Paul Celan
3805 Locust walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
tel: 215-746-POEM

Tuesday December 3  6PM
Villanova,PA
Pierre Joris presents Poems for the Millennium Vol.4 : The University of California Book of North African Literature
(w/ NP multimedia presentation & readings)
Villanova University
800 E. Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Wednesday December 11  
Ohio
Pierre Joris reading at Kenyon College
Gambier, Ohio 43022
d.t.b.a.


& Fresh from the presses:
by Nicole Peyrafitte:

Bi-Valve: Vulvic Space | Vulvic Knowledge
Publisher: Stockport Flats
Available here

by Pierre Joris:

Meditations on the Stations of Mansur AL-Hallaj
Publisher: Chax Press
Available here

Copyright © 2013 Joris/Peyrafitte, All rights reserved.

 

Spring Schedule: NYC, Bard College, London, Wales, Scottland

Below is our busy Spring schedule.
For all the clickable links go to: Spring schedule
If you are smart phone savvy then : voilà le QRCode!

Happy Spring to y’ll & we sure hope to see you here or there.
PJ & NP

Spring Schedule pix

Infinite Views

This summer has been very wet & overcast in the Pyrenees. I love being here no matter if it rains or shines, but some hikes require clear skies to be able to experience the 360 degree panoramic view of the Pyreneen mountain range. My friends Lori & Tom were visiting from Ithaca for a week, the skies were scheduled to be crystal clear for two days — perfect timing to get out & to the summit!

To be able to see the sun rise over the mountain range, wake up call is at 4:30am  so we can leave the house by 5am. We are on schedule, a thermos of hot coffee, goat cheese, bread & a nice croustade from my favorite bakery in Luchon (rue Nérée Boubé) are all in the backpack. Hiking shoes & stick on hand, I slam the door shut, start walking towards the car when a sharp pain enters my foot: a roof nail punctured my sneakers and my foot!

Back to the house to remove shoe, nail, socks and notice that the puncture is not too bad. Once thoroughly disinfected, bandaged and foot secured in the hiking shoes I’ll be fine and can begin the journey. We drive to the port the Balès, park the car and start the hike in the night. The moon is already gone,  the sky still very bright with stars. I am granted 3 beautiful shooting stars that I truly welcome as a healing omen after the nail in the foot!  We will not make it on time on the top to see the sun break over the mountains but still I want to get to the top to get the full view. Lori is more eager to take picture of the rising sun from the Peirahitta (you can listen to the song I wrote about that place here) plus she is concerned about my foot — which is a bit sore, but the overpowering drive to get up there and experience the view that my ancestors have been looking at for thousand of years is irresistible.

 

We are on top of the Mont Né mountain at 2147m or 7049 feet high. The sun is just above the horizon the colors on the peaks are spectacular, the sun diffuses strokes of light slowly revealing the contours of the  mountain range’s layers. A true sense of infinity.

Tourin or Quick Open Fire Soup

 

The night before I left for a workshop with rhythm master Bernard Lubat in Uzeste, I made a tourin in our fire place. This soup of humble origin is mostly known as tourin à l’ailsopa de ajo in Spanish or garlic soup in English. Many variations are possible & in this case I used the ingredients available in the house: 1 tomato, 1 head of garlic, 1 onion, old bread & goose fat.


In a cast iron dutch oven I thoroughly sauteed the thinly sliced onion in goose fat. Meanwhile I crushed 3 cloves of garlic & a sprig of fresh rosemary in the mortar. After adding them to the pot, I removed the latter from the heat to avoid bitterness — over-sauteed garlic becomes bitter. I crushed the tomato in the mortar & added it to the onion garlic mixture. With no stock available, I added plain water to obtain the desired consistency. Coarse sea salt, freshly ground pepper & a dash of piment d’Espelette are added for seasoning & then the pot is returned to the open fire for about 15/ 30 minutes.

With thick slices of old country-style bread rubbed with garlic & drizzled with goose fat lining the bottom of the plate, hot soup is poured in et voilà! le tour est joué & you get a magnificent & most satisfying soup. A beaten egg is often added before serving; this is especially enriching if you have only garlic to make the soup. Whoever needed canned soup? Pas moi!


Photos Pierre Joris & N.P

Méchoui or Whole Lamb on a Spit

Cooking on a spit was the theme of Pierre’s 65th birthday. After the cake on the spit (see previous blog here),  voilà the lamb on the spit a.k.a méchoui! According to the Robert historique de la langue Française the origin of the word méchoui is: “Borrowed (1912) from the Arabic maghrebien mešwi “roasted, grilled; lamb roasted on a spit”, past participle of šawa (شوى ), to roast, to grill”.   This dish is very popular in North Africa where  Pierre lived several years.

As we still are in the village of Bourg d’Oueil, in the heart of the French Pyrenees, the lamb will be  provided by no one else than our neighbors & friends, the Jamme family.  The 17 kgs (37,5 lbs) lamb, fetched from the nearby mountains a few days before, is “un broutard” or a “grazer”; that is a lamb that had passed the nursing stage and is already grazing. And now the photo log of an another amazing communal food experience:


The day before our friend André brought very dry wood he had split for the occasion & the spit that Marc had fetched from Yves the butcher. In the late afternoon I went to the Jamme’s house to rub the lamb with a thick marinade of olive oil, garlic, wild thyme, salt & piment d’Espelette (chili pepper from the basque country); then we returned the lamb to rest overnight in the walk-in cooler.

Now we went to the village hall multipurpose room to set up the tables. The meal will be inside, since we knew the weather was not going to be warm enough. As no rain was forecast, so the aperitif will be served outside. With Sylvia Gorelick —who made all the bouquets with wild flowers she had gathered in the fields near by— Marie Jeanne Jamm, — who brought additional sheets to cover the tables— Maïté & Michou — Pierre’s sister — set up a beautiful banquet table for 50 people. The event was becoming more elaborate as I had planned.  As we got closer to the date the eating of the birthday lamb as a casual outdoor buffet turning into an elaborate banquet.

On d-day: I am up at 7:30 am to set up for the méchoui. My neighbors Robi & farmer Roland Jamme (remember him from the cake) arrived shortly thereafter. Together we start the fire, strategize and go get the lamb prepped as best as we can to avoid any complication during cooking.

That’s it! it is 9:45am the beast is on the spit, as we have a manual spit, it is going to be crucial to have someone monitoring, turning & basting —w/the same marinade as above— the lamb & adding coals to the fire. Robi & Roland have set up a second fire next to the méchoui were they burn logs to turn them into charcoal, which they add under our lamb in order to keep an even fire.


I had nothing to worry about as Robi, Roland & now Pierre were fully in charge of the lamb. Accompanied by the same crew as last night we are setting up for cocktail hour & hors d’oeuvres. Joseph Garcès, who was Maitre d’H at the family hôtel for 14 years, came right on time to slice the magnificent bellota ham —acorn fed pig—  shipped to us by my nephew Vincent from a small Spanish farm. I had also prepared salads of heirloom tomatoes and organic haricots-vert that we set up on the table along with the ham. The fragrant cantaloupe from the Gers will be passed around once people are seated.

 It is around 12pm and guests are filling in. They are “appetizing” on cherry tomatoes, patés, salamis, radishes —here my 89 year old father is particularly enjoying them— while sipping the pleasant Marquisette, a cocktail make by Maïté & Robi — wine, vanilla bean, lime & seltzer, served by Marie-Jeanne Peyroulan an old time friend who came from a near valley with her son Teo who played a lot of “Quiller” —an ancient version of bowling— with my adorable niece Lou.


It is now 1 pm and the lamb is cooked! My brother Jean-Louis will assist Roland, Robi & Marc for the carving while my nieces Mag & Isa will pass the cut meat to the guests. To serve with the lamb, my friend Paulette made the most tasty Pistache Luchonnaise ever—a white bean & lamb stew with pork rind — a specialty of the Comminges region— Paulette’s Pistache almost stole the show from the Méchoui and the cóca! Unfortunately no pictures were taken as every body was too busy eating. We had seconds & some had thirds. We took a little break and had a cheese course. Not any kind of cheese, no, a Poubeau cheese if you please! Read about it here. It was a perfectly aged one; Joseph Garcès is on a “cheese plan”; that is that he reserves a full wheel six months in advance and lets it age in the cheese maker’s cave. Joseph offered his reserved wheel to Pierre for his birthday party!


It is now about 4pm and about time to present the birthday boy with his very special cake. After singing Happy Birthday, we serve the cake with crème anglaise, all the details about the incredible ancient cake are here. More singing was done by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Sylvia Gorelick, and a special tribute to Pierre by Joan-Francès Tisner & family who had come all the way from the Béarn. After coffee, Armagnac & Mirabelle —Thank you Michou & Julien for bringing the real stuff from Luxembourg! — it was about 6pm when the last guest left!

All of this could not have happend without the  amazing help of the family & a tight community of friends. Special thanks to the Jamme Family, Joseph Garcès & Paulette, Robi Castebrunet & Maïté, Conso, Michou, Marie-Jeanne, Domenja, Marie-Jo,  my parents Jean & Renée Peyrafitte, the Toucouère family, André, Marc & my brothers: Jean-Louis for his carving assistance and Pierre for the pix, Miles, Sylvia, all the wonderful guests & last but not least to Pierre whose birthday gave me a great opportunity to throw a party. MERCI!

Photo credit: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte & Nicole Peyrafitte

Coque or Gâteau à la Broche

This was a dream come true. Since I was a little girl I have admired & loved this cake.  It is made for very special occasions like weddings, christenings, special birthdays or anniversaries. I found an entry for “coque” in an old Gascon dictionary that says “qu’èm invitats a la còca” meaning “we are invited to the christening.”
It takes hours to complete this cake and needless to say it is a very special present to be given one. When I spoke about Pierre’s birthday menu to my friend & neighbor Roland Jamme I couldn’t believe he offered to make one with his wife Simone. Not only were they going to make it, but I could be there the whole time! This incredible ancient cake takes over 5 hours to make and requires the constant participation of 2 people who will endure intense heat. As you will see below, someone has to sit in front of the fire at all times.
After consulting with Simone, Roland they set up the cake making date for Saturday July 9 at 8:30 am., i.e. 6 days before the party,  which would be perfect as the cake needs to age before being served.
I was instructed to show up in Garin —where Simone’s family home is— on time and with all the ingredients .

Thus I showed up very excited and armed with 72 eggs, 3 kgs of flour, 3 kgs of sugar, 3kgs of butter, 15 packed of vanilla flavored sugar, 1/2 litre of rum Negrita & a roll of parchment paper. I was finally going to see the gâteau à la broche made from scratch like it as been done for hundreds of years! So, voilà le photo-reportage of the making –and do not miss the short video. I want to thank Simone & Roland from the bottom of my heart for this incredible day.

  

All the ingredients are placed on the table in order not to forget anything.
Then all the 72 super fresh eggs are carefully separated.

  

I was entrusted with slowly melting the butter in a pan while Roland started whipping the egg whites.

Simone hand mixes all the ingredients expertly; the rum is the last one to go in.

Roland had started the fire before I arrived. Once the batter is done, the ancient wooden mold is warmed up then wrapped in parchment paper.

.

The wrapped mold is warmed up again and lathered with butter. Now the cooking part can begin. Simone takes her position in front of the hearth and starts pouring the batter while Roland turns the handle. Simone & Roland have mentioned several time that the starting of the cake is a crucial moment in order to make it sturdy. The main fear is always to break the cake and this fear is only lifted once it has been delivered to the party place!

Slowly but surely the pouring & cooking continue. Closely supervised, I anxiously got to relieve Simone at pouring a few times and Roland at turning. As the cake becomes heavier the turning/cooking  gets trickier. The conversations are continuously interrupted by comments or commands like: “Il faut mettre – put some on,” ” tourne plus vite – turn faster,”  “attention le pied – watch the bottom,” “attend!  les piques brillent encore – Wait, the peaks are still shining.”

Roland keeps feeding the fire with long logs that he and his nephew Fabrice have cut for the occasion. Each log is carefully picked as the fire needs to be highly controlled. Logs & embers are moved according to where most heat is needed.  Here we can see the cake shaping up. The “peaks” are starting to form. One of the conversation around the fire was about the length of the peaks, the pride of the cake makers, though Simone points out that she favors the taste over the shape and I agree.

As the batter in the basin diminishes slowly, Simone is wiping the sweat off her face more often. I try to relieve her as much as I can, but her expert hand is needed to “mettre” properly as it is getting more difficult; due to peak formation the batter sticks less and less so the spooning over has to be more frequent and the batter dripping in the pan needs to be quickly collected —that is before it cooks– and spooned back on too the cake (see video below).

 

Here we go! many hours later finally the last spoon of batter! The cake is perfect, just a little more cooking to give it the final golden look.

The cake is brought inside to cool off while resting between two chairs. After lunch Roland, with the help of Simone’s brother Jean-Claude, the mold is removed with a mallet! That part is very scary and you can sense the how everyone is tense in order to execute the appropriate move in order not to break the cake.

The cake was delivered by Roland & Simone on the morning of the party on July 14. We served it for dessert accompanied by crème paysanne —aka crème anglaise— that my mother, Marie-Jeanne Jamme & Robi Castbrunet made.  What a gift! I am so thankful to Roland and Simone for their generosity, time, expertise & hospitality at her family home. Watch the video and stay tune for the rest of the menu!

For your information a very similar cake, called Šakotis, is make in Lithuania, another close cousin is the German Baumkuchen.

Photos Credit: Nicole Peyrafitte & Roland Jamme
Video: Nicole Peyrafitte
Flower arrangement on the cake: Sylvia Gorelick