Today at the Vaison weekly market, our beekeeper Christine Tracol cermoniously presented me with four 1-kilo jars of golden nectar. Last November she placed 10 busy beehives behind the little stone cabanon in our vineyard, and left them there until sometime this summer, when it came time for them to feast in the lavender fields near Mont Ventoux. But as our honey shows, as the bees feasted at Chanteduc on the nectar of various rosemary, thyme, and zucchini blossoms, they must have spent a lot of time in the two giant linden flower -- or tilleul trees -- on the property. The honey is payment as "rent" for the use of the property. Nice exchange! Our honey is a golden amber, with an intense, floral flavor. I confess that it is not as extraordinary as her mountain lavender honey, but nothing is! I'd like to share a favorite melon and honey sorbet recipe:
Cavaillon Melon Sorbet
A ripe, juicy melon emits the most intoxicating perfume. Even before the fruit is sliced open, it offers up its rich, pleasantly musky aromas. Choose a melon that feels heavy for its size, a sign that the fruit is dense and ripe. In Provence, the fashion is to offer melons that have exploded at the bottom – like a little volcanic eruption – a sign that the fruits were ripened in the fields and not waterlogged in a greenhouse to give better weight. I like to sweeten this sorbet with a mild yet fragrant and distinctive honey. For a truly creamy, almost fluffy sorbet, whip the mixture in a blender at highest speed for a full minute.
One 2-pound (1 kg) ripe cantaloupe (to yield about 1 pound, 500 g fruit)
1/2 cup (125 ml) honey
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons vodka
Equipment: A serrated grapefruit spoon; a blender; an ice-cream maker.
Halve the melon. With the grapefruit spoon, remove and discard any fibrous pulp and seeds. Slice the halves into 4 wedges. With a sharp knife, run the knife between the rind and the pulp, being careful not to include any green bits of pulp. Chop the pulp coarsely. Transfer to the blender. Add the honey, lemon juice, and vodka and blend for a full minute, until creamy and smooth. Chill thoroughly. At serving time, transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For best results, serve the sorbet as soon as it is made. Do not re-freeze.
3 cups (750 ml)
WHY VODKA? Without the added alcohol, this all-fruit sorbet would have a tendency to become gritty. The alcohol does not freeze, resulting in a smooth and creamy dessert.