Brocante-Hopping: “Une Grole”

Today, my husband and I did what one does on a Sunday in the countryside of France. We went brocante-hopping. A brocante is basically a flea-market. There happened to be two in our area…one just up the road and another in a village just 15 minutes from us. There was still a coolness to the air, so it wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable to be walking in the sun all day. My allergies did act up a bit, but I was prepared with plenty of tissues! It’s just that time of year for me.

At the larger brocante in a town called Barbezieux, we enjoyed some amazing pastries including a very stuffed tarte pruneau and a tri-layered cake referred to as coco choco as well as a very nice dark chocolate cake with a name I can’t recall (but who cares what it’s called as long as it’s chocolate!).

Une GroleLater, we went to the smaller brocante just up the road from us where I made my big purchase of the day, something called une grole. I had no idea what a grole was. I wasn’t looking for one. I was actually looking for something interesting in which to rest my wet paint brushes when I was painting. We came across a rather interesting wooden container that might fit the purpose. I wasn’t sold on it immediately, though, even though 5 euros seemed like a decent bargain. It was the story that sold me.

The very sweet couple selling it explained very patiently to the “idiots who can’t speak French” (my judgment, not theirs) what it was. Actually, I was surprised to understand so much. They spoke slowly and with plenty of gestures making me feel both charmed and grateful. And between the words I know and those my husband knows, we were able to work most of it all out.Repurposed Grole

I was fascinated to learn about the grole. It is a traditional Alpine-region decanter for sharing a special alcoholic, spiced coffee. On this particular grole, there are four spouts. So, it is a community vessel and a very special treat, a sort of beverage equivalent to a flaming baked Alaska. As soon as I understood its true purpose, I knew I wanted it. When they mentioned that Italians use it too, I was completely sold, being Italian.

Nonetheless I confessed my true intention for it…brushes! The woman laughed uproariously and shook her head saying, “Un nouveau but pour tout!” making my new grole rather drole.

When I got home, I decided to look up “La Grole”. I discovered this youtube video which demonstrates how to make the coffee drink. I hope you enjoy it. Frankly, it sounds yummy enough to try, so maybe my grole will end up in my kitchen after all!

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