After a full five weeks in Rivière-du-Loup, all the memories, friendships, and moments we'll never forget, plus the connections and appreciation for French and Quebec culture made, I am tucked in bed in my sister's Montreal apartment. Beside me, a plate of freshly baked gluten free chocolate chip cookies, and a hot mug of licorice herbal tea. Curled up and tired from the last two nights with my Rivière family, many hugs and tears from those around as well as lots of chatting and laughter in recounting the time shared. I look forward to spending time exploring a new part of Quebec, seeing the city of Montreal, and spending time with my sister, while also having more moments like this, and more moments to relax, cook, laugh, and celebrate summer.
And so beside a fan spinning beside us, and sounds from the streets winding up every now and then, my sister and I, and one of her friends who came to visit for the day, chatted and shared some of the recent moments just passed. I had only just come off the train that morning, sleeping with an eye pillow and blanket across two seats as the train ran from Rivière-du-Loup to Montreal in the early morning, and so we sat around plates of gluten free waffles and tea, served with delicious maple syrup and sprinkled with icing sugar.
There were also bowls of fresh cherries, blueberries and chopped cantaloupe, a delicious change from bland and tasteless cafeteria fruit. Instead, a burst of flavour and juice with each bite, the tartness complemented with the sweetness of maple syrup and icing, and overtop a warm and comforting waffle. It was the perfect breakfast after a night of travelling, and even at one in the afternoon, a welcome change to breakfasts after five weeks with little more than fruit, peanut butter and yoghurt each morning.
With little will to wait any longer, the waffles with the bowls of fruit and mugs of steaming tea, were eaten quickly, and soon after, I again had the energy and enthusiasm to be up and out of the apartment to where we explored the Museum of Art just a few blocks down the road. Inside, families and couples, kids and elderly groups walked slowly around the paintings and art structures inside the museums, until we found the Chihuly exhibition upstairs. Beautiful and intricate glass structures decorated the walls and floors as well, the pinks and orange colours cascading along the white walls to give the impression of being underwater and admidst a reef of colourful corals.
It was lovely wandering around, looking up and around at all the shapes, the colours entrancing and almost blurring together in lights that bounce across the walls. In one room, underneath the glass structures in the photo above, big pillows were set up on the floor for people to lay down and stare up at the ceiling which was built of all the glass shapes and colours. The three of us shared a big pillow set up in one corner, and stared up at the ceilings designs, oblivious to the movements of people around us, or to the flow of chatter as others awed at the glass structures.
When we finally left the museum, an afternoon spent with time and structure out of my mind finally, the rain was beginning to spit onto the streets, and clouds hovered. Unlike Rivière-du-Loup however, the clouds didn't bring in a cold wind, and still in shorts and a short sleeve top, I was fine walking back through the streets, still filled with families walking dogs, mums out with shopping bags back from the stores, or groups of friends heading out for the evening. With little plans for a big night out, all a tired out from nights before, we headed to the supermarket for cheeses and olives, and all the best pairings for a "wine and cheese" kind of night. With a shopping basket in one hand, and a student budget on our minds, we selected three cheeses with a formula that works every time.
Select one soft cheese, like a brie of any flavour you like, such as the cracked pepper brie in these photos. Next, a blue cheese. Although many have suggested that blue cheese does contain wheat to initiate or continue the process of forming those delicious and flavourful "blue" bits, it is actually naturally gluten free! However, always be sure and check the label. Finally, a hard cheese. In our platter we had a cheese with both strong and rich flavourful. There are so many options to choose from as your hard cheese. To serve, there are really unlimited options again, from fruits and vegetables, spreads and dips, or olives and pickles. For our evening of wine and cheese we had the following ingredients:
Whole kalamata olives
Baby sweet pickles
Bartlett pear, cut into thin slices
1 to 2 ripe avocados, sliced thinly
Serve as well with gluten free crackers, such as glutino crisps (fresh baguette for those who don't avoid gluten) and a bowl of tomato soup. A simple and delicious, no fuss way to enjoy the day, and as you sit down to a platter of cheeses, bring with you a glass of wine (I can't quite give out advice in which to choose though) and chatter on as French words slip into your head often.
À bientôt mes amis! xx S.
Labels: blueberries, breakfast, cheese, dinner, gluten free, snack, waffles