Octobre 21, 2017. Suz Runs For Bourbon But Prefers Pineau! Picking Cherries Avec Madame Et Embracing The Night Run.

Bonjour encore mes amis.  Quoi de neuf?  Pour moi, aujourd’hiu – il fait beau.  Et demain, nous courons 20 miles.  Vingt miles est 32.18 kilometers. 


My Beloved Pineau –

Living in Kentucky for the last 20 years, I have not developed a taste for Bourbon.  The culture yes, the taste NON.

I love the color of bourbon, it’s the perfect shade of amber.  And I love learning about the history of bourbon, which includes exciting stories of bootlegging during the American era known as prohibition.

However, my drink of choice (other than water) is Pineau des Charentes.  An aperitif made in the French departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime.

Pineau is a beautiful and delicious fortified wine, made when fermented grape must is blended with Cognac eau-de-vie.  Pineau, has a deep and rich history worthy of further reading. There are both white (blanc) and red (rouge) versions.  Je préfère le rouge / I prefer the red.


This past summer I was gifted with two bottles of Pineau.  Our 94 year old host for the day and friend, Madame, offered us the gift and it was accepted with the most sincere of thanks.

Madame still lives in the same home her grandparents lived in (that’s an old house – do the math).  She loves when we visit and we love to visit her.  She seemed much older this year only in the sense that her hair had finally grayed.

She still tends to her family home, her beautiful rose garden and her beloved Pineau.

She talks of her husband who died suddenly while driving some 20 years ago and she still serves Pineau in the same glasses that she received as a wedding gift over 70 years ago.


She lives life with the zest and peace I hope to find.

She has no English and I have very little French, but we always manage to communicate.  With us, she talks mostly of her love for the Americans who liberated her region in 1945.  And of course at the same time – she recalls when the Germans arrived in her village during WW II.

We helped her pick cherries from the dozen or so cherry trees on her property.  Her garden is also full of rose bushes that over the years have climbed through the many trees due to the limits of her age.

To look up and see roses blooming high in a tree is très intéressant!

As we walked through her garden, she remarked what a mess it is – now.  I remarked back how beautiful it is – still.  Votre jardin est très jolie / Your garden is very lovely.


The French have the most charming and delicious small cantaloupe that they often serve drizzled with Pineau.  I tried to recreate the dish here in the U.S. this summer and maybe it was the American melon, but my friends did not seem that impressed.  My husband and I on the other hand enjoyed the melon avec du Pineau while smiling at each other and thinking of our sweet weeks en France.

Running through Bourbon Country –

This was the third time I’d run this particular 200 mile relay race.

Each team consists of twelve people – the twelve take turns running through the back roads of Kentucky’s Bourbon trail.  I ran just under 17 of the 200 miles.

I love the run, which traverses through six major Bourbon distilleries.  I had one day run and two night runs.

My teammate ran over this bridge in the dark.  This is another teammate’s photo of it during the day.


Having always dreaded the SOLO night runs, I knew I needed to be totally upbeat and positive throughout the day.  I tried to prepare my mind (brainwash it) by repeating over and over “this is going to be so much fun!”

The first of the two night runs was a 6.6 mile run on a dark and isolated pitch black highway.

Thank the good Lord there wasn’t a tunnel as I’m sure I’d have lost it.

I was comforted by the flashing head-lamp of another runner about 1/4 mile behind me.  I silently prayed they wouldn’t pass me and leave me alone on the road.

It’s amazing how much faster the miles tick off in the dark – mostly because you’re running as fast as you can to get to the next exchange point and back to your group.

I conquered the night run and no one knew I was afraid.  I’m not sure I’ll do another solo night run anytime soon – but for now I feel accomplished.

Cows do moo at night – and they will make you jump.  Babbling brooks will startle you and rustling leaves make you look back – quickly!  Old cemeteries that are quite quaint in the light, quickly fill with spooky fog in the late, cool October night.

À  la semaine prochaine!












Author: suzlearnsfrench

My name is Suz and I'm addicted to France and all things French. I can't speak French, but I'm working on it. I've been working on it for 33 years. I'm married to a man who is half French and our running joke is "my next husband will be full French." However, I'm never giving this one up.

8 thoughts on “Octobre 21, 2017. Suz Runs For Bourbon But Prefers Pineau! Picking Cherries Avec Madame Et Embracing The Night Run.”

  1. Salut! Je vais bien, merci …. le temps fait très beau ici et j’ai profité du soleil aujourd’hui! Quoi de neuf is such a great expression … it just trips of that Frenching tongue. I adore Pineau and I do not adore Bourbon one jot. I don’t like any of the whisky family in fairness which makes me quite un-French … they love the stuff … in fact here in Grenoble it is hard to find a bottle of my favourite Armagnac but there are racks and racks of Scotch, Bourbon and Irish Whisky 🥃 dommage! Another lovely post and well done on the night run 🏃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always so nice to hear from you! They do love the 🥃 Whiskey. My father in law drinks Scotch Whiskey – juste un par jour. Mon mari aimes Ricard et le Cognac. Mais – ici – il bois le bourbon avec ses amis. Je ne sais pas le Armagnac – qu’est ce que ça?

      Bonne journée.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Suz,
    I saw you visited my blog… so I came here to check out yours and saw you love PINEAU!!! (just put “pineau” into the search box on my blog and you’ll get a heap of posts because we are VERY familiar with it)

    So nice to find someone outside of France or Belgium who knows what Pineau des charantes is. It’s a strange fact that it’s a drink so regional, you can drive two hours north of Cognac and no one has heard of pineau, and yet it’s HUGE in Belgium and very well known indeed with even a “Specialist Pineau Fair’ once a year with hundreds of vendors.

    It’s the closest to The Netherlands we get to getting it now if we wanted to, but since I can no longer drink alcohol (doesn’t mix well with morphine) we haven’t made a trip. I miss Pineau as it was my favourite. I drink no wine or cognac etc .

    Himself picked grapes for eight seasons on a vineyard in the Charante Martime and he and I have visited many times because we are still in contact with the farmer’s wife (the husband passed away more than ten years ago). Excellent that you love Pineau too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – it’s really nice to meet someone who knows Pineau. It’s hard to explain to people how good it is. Charante Maritime is a special place. I hope we can always afford to visit there. How cool he was able to pick grapes there – what area was / is the farm near?


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