Whilst making our lunchtime stroll around the village, my nostrils started twitching…you know that kind of thing when you catch a smell in the air and you think you know what it is, but then again, you’re not sure. Then you get a full blast…and it’s gone, lost on the breeze till the next whiff? It’s a fruity smell, warm and comforting and then it turns slightly acrid all in the same breath. Turning the bend in the road you are met with…….
Hummmm! Travellers? New campsite in the village? Pop-up-toilets? Who would know. Of course, being nosy, I had to find out and fortunately the owner was
lurking there (very camera shy)! He explained to me that it was an alambic or as we would know it, a still. This mobile still goes around all the towns and villages in the Deux-Sevres, making eau-de-vie. For a fee, you can take along your apples, pears, plums, grapes (or whatever you have lying around it seems to me), and Monsieur will distill it for you. Perhaps that accounts for the acrid part of the smell…you have no idea what he’s boiling up in his wagon. Anyway, he was very informative and gave me a detailed tour which took all of 2 mins!
It reminds me of a mix of Heath Robinson and Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang, with Monsieur being Caractacus Potts.
Unfortunately I hadn’t taken along an old pair of socks, a pile of potato peelings and rotting vine leaves, so I wasn’t able to sample the end result, but he did assure me that I was more than welcome if I felt the need to ‘take the waters’. I think I’ll stick to my sealed bottles of wine and beer.