Friday, October 14, 2022

Celebrating Fall French Style #Winophiles

In France, wine harvest time is known as la vendange and spans about two months – typically from August to October.  Also, harvested during this time are root vegetables, mushrooms and chestnuts.  I was hosting a dinner party for our son in law's parents who were visiting from France and decided to celebrate by combining our harvest with theirs.  

Harvest Dinner with Wine

It was a lovely meal........
I love Fall.  I love the cool, crisp weather.  I love the musty smell of leaves as you hike through the woods.  I love all the foods that are harvested and I love moving my meal prep from the grill outside to the appliances inside.

So I asked the French Winophile Group to join me this month in exploring the harvest in France.  This, of course, includes all the wonderful grapes harvested for use in the wines for which they are so well known, but I learned it also includes celeriac and fennel, two of my favorite root vegetables.  Chestnuts and Mushrooms are also in season and I am sharing an amazing harvest recipe containing those ingredients with you today.


The wine I chose to share with you today is a Red Blend from La Veille Ferme which translates to The Old Farm.  It has a quaint little label featuring chickens and a sticker above that reads Recolte 2020.  This refers to the 2020 Crops used in this wine. Perfect for my theme this month.

Here is what the winemaker has to say about this wine and it's harvest:

THE VINTAGE: The 2020 vintage in Southern Rhône was favoured by very good weather conditions, it is a generous vintage, both in terms of quality and quantity. Not as hot as in 2019, this year was very windy, throughout the growing cycle, with light rainfalls. After a fairly mild winter (one single episode of frost was noted during the night of March 24, but only the early ripening plots were very slightly affected). The spring was radiant, quite warm and very windy, which allowed the soils to preserve their freshness. Flowering began on May 18, under very healthy conditions. The good weather continued in June, July and August, with plenty heat but lower temperatures than in 2019, cool and humid nights and wind which continued to blow, preserving the freshness of the vines and maintaining perfect sanitary conditions for the grapes. The harvest, which was fairly early, therefore began under these very good conditions on August 26 with the white Côtes-du-Rhône and continued until the end of September with the Mourvèdre. September was warm at the beginning of the month and then more temperate, offering idyllic harvest conditions and allowed each plot to be harvested at perfect maturity. The harvest was very healthy with beautiful juicy and very ripe grapes, reasonable alcohol levels, good acidity and already a great balance. Yields are slightly higher than 2019 and the first tastings predict a very nice vintage.

This wine is a blend of Carignan,Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. It is smooth and fruity and paired perfectly with a meal featuring Chicken Roasted with Root Vegetables, Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Mushrooms and Chestnuts.

mushrooms and chestnuts

Let's talk a bit about the Harvest recipe that I am sharing today.  If I lived in France, I may have used fresh chestnuts, but here in Michigan I was very happy to find a jar of preserved chestnuts from France.  I didn't harvest my own mushrooms but used a blend of shitake, cremini and a gourmet blend.  I did harvest the thyme from my pot on the deck LOL.

Creamed Mushrooms with Chestnuts

This dish was SCRUMPTIOUS!!!!  I loved it but what I loved even more was the reaction from my guests who immediately said "Oh,châtaignes" with huge smiles on their faces.

I could not have been happier with the wine pairing either.  This red was light enough to serve with the roasted chicken but also stood up nicely to the earthy mushrooms and chestnuts.

Learn more about this topic by visiting these articles written by members of our #Winophiles group.  

Side Dishes, Vegetables, Mushrooms, Chestnuts, Cream
Yield: 10 servings
Author: Wendy Klik
Creamed Mushrooms and Chestnuts

Creamed Mushrooms and Chestnuts

This is a fabulous side dish for fall. Wild Mushrooms and Chestnuts cooked in a sweet wine, flavored with thyme and coated with heavy cream. Perfect with roasted poultry or meats but hearty enough to satisfy any vegetarians in your group.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 20 Min


  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 2-3 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. assorted fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • leaves from 4-5 stems fresh thyme
  • 3/4 c. sweet vermouth
  • 1 (7.5 oz) jar, roasted, peeled chestnuts, halved
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream


  1. Melt 3 Tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over med heat. Add the shallots and cook for a few minutes until tender and golden. Stir in the garlic.
  2. Add the remaining butter and the mushrooms to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender and browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the thyme.
  3. Add the vermouth and cook for a minute or two, until mostly evaporated.
  4. Add the chestnuts and cream to the pan and cook until coated and heated through.


Adapted from a recipe found at Epicurious

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  1. Your dish is absolutely representative of wild mushroom dishes on menus in France now, and looks as delicious! Where I live in the sud-ouest, cepes are common. The hubby and me eat them every opportunity we get.

  2. Chestnuts and mushrooms sound like a bowl of Autumn heaven right there. I can't wait to whip up a batch since, you know, my mushroom hater isn't in residence at the moment. LOL. Thanks for hosting, Wendy. And I am grateful for a respite in the chat. Merci.

    1. Thanks for joining Cam and enjoy those mushrooms while you can.

  3. Mushrooms and chestnuts really set the Autumn stage!

  4. More mushrooms! And with Chestnuts! This sounds so delicious!


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