Back at the Piazza Rubini in Ceriana, Italy. Not far from the would-be cachot...

Cuisine_2Printed in French, Cuisine Et Vins De France features dozens of recipes in each issue along with articles on wine, cheese, appetizers, table decorations, and more.

le cachot (ka-sho) noun, masculine
  dungeon, prison cell; solitary confinement

J'aimerais mieux être un crapaud et vivre des vapeurs d'un cachot que de laisser un coin de l'être que j'aime à l'usage d'autrui.

I had rather be a toad and live upon the vapor of a dungeon than keep a corner of the thing I love for others' uses.
--William Shakespeare (from Othello)

A Day in a French Life...
(The Italy narrative continues...)

Jean-Marc and I rendezvoused with the Italian vigneron* back at the quiet Piazza Rubini. The square was now empty but for a few gluttonous pigeons cleaning up after the Farmers' Market. Across the square, we spotted the vigneron unloading the bright red crates of vermentino grapes. His face was flushed and beads of sweat ran from his salt-and-pepper crown down to his soaked collar.

It took two of us, both Jean-Marc and me, to lift a single crate from the back of the truck. We balanced the plump grapes between us before catching up to the vigneron who entered what looked to be a tunnel but was actually another one of those dark alleyways that run high and low, criss-crossing the medieval village of Ceriana. At the mouth of the passage, we fell into the rock wall, allowing another triporteur* to whiz past (while amazed to see the three-wheeled truck in action navigating the narrow brick and cobbled paths). The little municipal truck had a broom and poubelle* in the back--enough equipment to compete with the plump pigeons for leftover scraps along the checkered floor of the square.

"Watch your step!" the vigneron cautioned as we followed him into a tiny cave,* which was damp and dark as an underground cachot*...

(At this point in my story Jean-Marc interrupts to argue about the use of the word "cachot" (or "dungeon") only to agree that the vigneron's cave, with its river of wine, would color the cheeks and soul of the weariest prisoner.)

                                          *   *   *
For past chapters in this story, visit:

Italy, Introduction :: Part One :: Part Two :: Part Three :: Next: Lunch with strangers

References: le vigneron (la vigneronne) = vine-grower, vintner; le triporteur (m) = three-wheel vehicle that "ports," or carries, things/people; la poubelle (f) = trash or garbage can; la cave (f) = cellar; le cachot (m) = dungeon

French Pronunciation:
Hear Jean-Marc recite today's quote: Download cachot.wav
J'aimerais mieux être un crapaud et vivre des vapeurs d'un cachot que de laisser un coin de l'être que j'aime à l'usage d'autrui.

Related words:
la cachotterie (f) = mystery
cachottier, cachottière (adj) = secretive

In books:
ItaliansketchbookMy Italian Sketchbook

ExtravirginExtra Virgin: A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera, Where Every Month Is Enchanted
Tastesofitalia_1Tastes of Italia. Every issue of Tastes of Italia includes recipes from all parts of Italy along with articles on Italian culture, culinary history, wine, and travel.

France Today features different regions of France with practical travel tips & suggestions for where to eat & stay, where to shop & play, as well as features on food & wine, cinema, culture & French products available in the U.S.A.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety