Follow the Yellow Brick Road…
We’re going to take a quick detour from Venice – don’t worry, we’ll return real soon, and I’ll share some excellent sweet Venetian addresses here on the blog. Back from Italy, I found myself in France this past weekend, thinking only about seeing my in-laws, savoring la bonne cuisine de ma belle-mère (traditional French cuisine) and bringing back boxes of stuff I had left there. But in the car on the way there, we forgot all of that – and could not take our eyes off of the landscape around us (attention to the driver!). To our left, to the right and far ahead of us, it was all… yellow.
All weekend long, I asked my family to think of one object – anything – to describe the yellow color to others. Yellow like… <fill in the blank>. Nothing. Crayola doesn’t even have a shade this bright and powerful. All I could come up with was a fluorescent yellow highlighter pen. Think of the ink – or better yet, paint cans full of it – just spilling out over the French countryside, filling fields to all corners. A color like this, of purely natural origin. It takes your breath away.
So what is it? They are fields of rapeseed flowers (colza en français) whose black seeds give us rapeseed oil, perhaps more commonly referred to as canola oil (Canada oil). It is a heart-healthy vegetable oil used for cooking, quite versatile in the kitchen, with a subtle nutty flavor. More exciting (to me) than the oil though, were the endless fields we saw on our drive from Zürich to France, about an hour southwest of Paris in the region called Les Yvelines.
I felt as if we were following the famous Yellow Brick Road of Dorothy’s adventure in the 1939 classic “Wizard of Oz.” Only, our brick road was France’s autoroute A6! The 700 km drive didn’t feel long since we were fully entertained with the scenery around us. The first leg towards the French border was filled with green fields, spotted with cows and sheep, and people walking with ski poles. As we drove through Burgundy, it was pure yellow, a burst of color like when the film first went technicolor. Vineyards here and there, and little stone houses looking as if they were dropped from above down on to the fields. We then crossed the Morvan mountains and it was green once again, dense areas of trees reminding me of the Black Forest, but here the color was a vibrant lime green instead. The mountains behind us, it was yellow again! Mistletoe trees, horses and cows grazing in the fields, little villages with a church steeple stretching up above the roofs of houses. And that color, just beautiful.
The period when the rapeseed flowers are in bloom is rather short, so if you have access to this landscape, I highly recommend taking advantage now, and enjoying the unique scenery. Like we did below…
… And back in Zürich at the local Coop, guess what is on promotion…?!