Expert Ease: Juliette Hermant of Fish & Bicycle

“A gathering place for our community and a destination for all those seeking to nourish body and soul” is how French-born artist Juliette Hermant characterizes Fish & Bicycle, her latest venture in the tiny hamlet of Narrowsburg in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Hermant, who owns Maison Bergogne, a store, or as she refers to it, “experimental space,” because “it’s really about how it allows people to mingle and what we can create with one another,” says the shop brought her “the great insight” to join the upstate revitalization movement. How? With the creation of Fish & Bicycle, her event venue and catering service, that supports the region’s farmers and artisans.

Describing it as a “foodies’ and makers’ collaborative,” Hermant’s coterie of local chefs, artisans and experts “thrive on passing on genuine skills and knowledge through myriad workshops and customized culinary feasts for our guests, bringing them not only creative cuisine featuring the bounty of the farms, fields and forest, but a renewed respect for the land and authentic, sustainable and ethical living experiences.”

Attracting people from near and far, the homemade food and drinks served are “in rhythm with the seasons,” and include such delights as a lamb tagine marinated with rosepetal harissa and couscous with dried apricots; poached pears sparked with juniper and star anise; zucchini bread topped with crème fraiche composed of buttermilk and heavy cream as well as little-known vegetables like knotweed and nettles cooked in a variety of ways. Drinks range from spiced cider to elderberry wine.

Workshops cover such topics as seed saving and maple-tree tapping to gardening, woodworking with traditional hand tools and honeybee behavior. New ones are formulated periodically.

Not one to let the grass grow under her feet, no matter how carefully it’s tended, Hermant’s future plans include opening a 1920s-inspired bar and café offering New York State-made microbrews, aromatic elixirs and flavorful bites.

And if you were wondering, yes, Fish & Bicycle is Hermant’s feminist wink to Irina Dunn, who coined the phrase, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”


FISH & BICYCLE RECIPES

Pickled Carrots – Saffron & Star Anise 1 Quart
– 15 carrots or 1/2 pound of small to medium carrots brushed clean
– 3 cups organic cider vinegar
– 1 1/2 cups water
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 4 star anise
– 2 pinches of saffron threads
– 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
– 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Trim carrots to fit the jar, and cut in half as necessary. Keep stems when clean and sturdy. In large saucepan combine all ingredients and bring to boil; then reduce heat to simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until you can bite through the carrots but still retain some crunch. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature. Place carrots first into jar and poor the brine on top. Store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Horseradish cream 2 cups
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– 1 loosely packed cup finely grated fresh horseradish
– Juice from 1/2 medium lemon
– 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt for finishing
In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, horseradish, heavy cream, lemon juice & sea salt. Season to taste with additional salt. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 hours ahead, but no more. Serve at room temperature.

Food Photography Courtesy of Juliette Hermant

Hannibal the Turmeric (digestif)
– 3 sage leaves
– 1 sprig mint
– 1 sprig rosemary
– 1 piece fresh ginger
– 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
– 1 medium orange
– 1 cup club soda (or water)
– 1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
– 1 tablespoon raw honey
– 2 teaspoons of Green Chartreuse digestif or bitters
In a glass, muddle the first five ingredients. Stir in the remaining ingredients until combined. Strain and serve over ice.


Fish & Bicycle Honey Share Opportunity
Any level of contribution allows us to grow our bee yards and partake in community-wide, pollinator-friendly activism.
fishandbicycleny.com/honey-share

Juliette’s Portrait Courtesy of Arden Wray.

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