Last Summer, traversing la belle France on holiday, we stayed the night with our old friends Fred and Laurence Filliatreau in their delightful home, set amongst vines, at Château Fouquet, in the hamlet of Brèze, in the Loire valley. It was great to have our first familial get together since the onset of Covid and it involved the appropriate amount of good food and wine. Over breakfast on the day of our departure Fred served us some of his homemade kefir, which was refreshing, gently-carbonated and, to us novices, fascinating.
Fred duly gave us a jar of his precious 'Château Fouquet' kefir culture and very precise instructions about how it was to be kept and fed, on a weekly basis, with organic sugar. At the first opportunity we invested in the requisite equipment for fermenting and bottling the kefir, and after daily updates and instruction from Fred, produced our inaugural batch after our first week on holiday.
Part of the production process entails adding a dried (again organic) fig to the demijohn in which the magic occurs. Apparently, when it floats to surface the 'brew is then true', as Danny Kaye might have said. Whether ours was as good as Fred's I’m not sure, but it certainly wasn't bad and, to our pleasant surprise, we managed to bring the culture back from our travels alive and well.
So, kefir has now replaced orange juice on the breakfast table chez Yapp providing a cheaper, and less calorific alternative. It is reportedly excellent for gut health – so should be ideal for post-festive consumption. Those seeking an uplifting soft drink for January should definitely look into kefir, for a less soft imbibing there is always Château Fouquet!