Kleftiko, souvlaki, dolmades… these dishes are all guaranteed to evoke memories of sunny summer holidays in Greece. So why isn’t clafoutis on the list? That’s Greek too, right?
Actually, no. It’s French. It just sounds Greek – its name derives from the Occitan language, rather than from French. The Occitan word ‘clafotís’ comes from the verb ‘clafir’, which means ‘to fill’, I now gather.
The dish comes from France’s central Limousin region and became popular during the 19th century.
Clafoutis is made of pitted black cherries baked in an almond-flavoured batter. I had one this week that used Agen prunes instead of cherries. I understand this should properly be called flaugnarde, rather than clafoutis.
But that’s splitting hairs. The one I had was too good to be picky about. It came with an almond and Armagnac ice cream.
Damon and I had taken a couple of days off from work to celebrate our 20th anniversary. It seems only yesterday that I was looking for him in a crowded bar, armed with only a memory of a photo shown to me by the friend that had set us up.
“Clafoutis is made of black cherries in an almond-flavoured batter. I had one this week that used Agen prunes instead”
Usually, we would head abroad for a mini-break – it doesn’t count as a holiday if I’m not speaking a foreign language. This time, though, we opted to stay in England. We’ve only just come back from a long stay in France, after all.
Picturesque Rye in East Sussex was our chosen destination. A deal through Groupon meant we had bagged a beautiful suite in The George in Rye at a very good price. It was in the hotel restaurant that I had the clafoutis.
It just goes to show that you don’t have to go to France to get first-rate French food – and that blind dates do sometimes work out.