Monday, 29 October 2012


When Coleridge wrote about "a witch's oils", was he thinking of something like Grenadine mixed with Sirop de Menthe? For a long time, I was uncertain of what was in Grenadine: passion fruit, said my mother. Pomegranate, suggested my French dictionary. When, many years later, I looked at the bottle, it seemed to be a concoction of various red fruits.

It was my great aunt who introduced me to the drink at her house in Lorgues. She also introduced me to brandy at a similar age but that is another story. She will crop up again, I suspect, in relation to Oranzini and chicken with tarragon.

Although I remain fond of Grenadine, sugary drink though it is, I was very nearly put off it for life when given a glass of it by Mademoiselle Sagnier, an old lady in St Pons de Mauchiens, the village in the South of France where my parents owned a house. She lived next door and invited my mother and I in for a drink. There was mould growing on the grenadine - presumably attracted to the sugar - and out of politeness, I sipped the drink but through closed lips.

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