Tuesday, November 22, 2011

La Paulée

There is no Thanksgiving Day in France.  But that does not prohibit the French from enjoying a good meal, appreciating the family bond, and feeling a strong tie to the land, as we do in America this week.  In Burgundy, the end of the harvest is a significant event, and indeed a cause for celebration, as so many families and so many livelihoods depend on it.

The timing of the harvest, or vendange, varies according to the condition of the grapes, part science, part art.   I am trying to think of anyone who harvests mechanically in Burgundy, and none come to mind among the vintners I know.  The process is slightly improved from the old days, when the men carried the enormous banneton baskets, unique in shape to Burgundy, across their shoulders, full of grapes.  The women here no doubt also helped with the harvest, as this was and still is a family affair~


This is a stylized photo, no doubt, but you can see the men atop the cart pouring wine from the small tonneau or barrel; each worker was given a ration of wine for the day, I think about 1.5 litres, in a personal barrel of this size.  The boy on the horse carries a processional-type bouquet atop the pole, and the seeming leader of the group, the gentleman front and center, sports the cap, heavy moustache & beard typical in pre-WWI photos, as well as his own tonneau in hand, with pride at the completion of the harvest~


To this day, in Burgundy this time of year and this week in particular, friends gather to celebrate the harvest, and the wine auction held in Beaune (that’s another post).  At the higher end, friends gather for a special meal and each person brings several bottles of their very very best wine to share with friends.  At the simpler end, as in days past, folks celebrate with food on the table, and barreled new wine to sell in the next year or more. 

I am using this postally-used 1905 postcard as a feature for my Thanksgiving table.  I am thankful for the simple things: Thank you for another Thanksgiving with my parents; thank you for so many wonderful people in my life; my furry-faced Honey & Biscuit dogs who are a source of constant love; thank you for letting me share my gifts to help people; a few of you in particular know who you are, and it gives me great joy to be able to do and help and advise where I can.  May it come back to me in copper pots….haha that is a personal joke for my dear friend Guy!!   


Sandra from Thistle Cove Farms is on my mind this week; she lost her husband Dave almost two weeks ago, suddenly, and I see her pressing on through her grief, as Sandra would do.  If you can stop by with a kind word it would be wonderful; you can find her HERE


Amities or best friendly wishes to all this week, and as she knows, Sandra is in my thoughts and prayers this week~~


  1. I really enjoyed this photo Andrea.The history is so interesting to me~And to wonder where did all of the baskets end up?! :)
    My heart goes out to your friend Sandra~
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving my friend~xoxo Rachel

  2. Dear Andrea,
    I am blessed to have found such a gracious and caring person. You inspired our Thanksgiving table this year and the theme that I chose for the day,"rendre grace".
    I shall pray for Sandra.
    I send the best of love to you and your family!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving! Hope it is wonderful!

  4. I am so inspired by this post. You are truly a fantastic Lady. Thank's for these great photo's.
    Have a wonderful holiday.


  5. Oh Andrea - you have truly blessed me; may God bless you even more greatly. Thank you; this has been a very difficult week but friends are coming today to make sure I'm not alone...what that really means is, I'm cooking for a crowd! -LOL- I am blessed.

  6. Andrea how fascinating to see these vintage postcards of the harvest...and I will visit Sandra, as I have been through this kind of loss as well.

    A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!


    Art by Karena