I was determined to use birthday and Christmas gift money for something lasting and beautiful. The wine barrel head lazy susans at Towne Rebel in Galena, Illinois, fit my requirements.Towne Rebel in Galena, Illinois I was not sure how useful one might be, but they were certainly unique. My purchase has proven to be handy and an interesting conversation piece.
The re-purposed wine barrel head lazy susan I selected was constructed from a barrel lid made by the world famous Taransaud Cooperage located on the outskirts of Cognac, France. Their website, http://www.taransaud.com/#/home, provides a fascinating window into the world of an award-winning cooperage. I have a whole new appreciation for the science and years of labor which go into producing fine barrels, wines and spirits.
Wine barrel label

Wine barrel maker’s mark

I thought it would be fun to pay homage to the Charente area which produces these fine oak barrels by making two appetizers which might be served there. Both were delicious. The Fromage Fort (Strong Cheese) is a copyright-protected recipe so I am prohibited from sharing it with you. The Salmon Cakes are my own creation; I’m pleased to share the recipe.

                         Salmon Cakes                      yields 16 cakes

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped (pea size) uncooked skinless salmon (2 portions)   
2  slices bread cubed or torn (I used gluten free)
2 eggs
1/2 cup cold mashed potatoes (preferred Yukon Gold)
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or frozen parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper or to your taste
3/4 teaspoon salt or to your taste
Mix together all ingredients but do not overwork. Shape into 3 inch cakes. Add olive oil to skillet and heat over medium flame. Brown each side. At this point you may wish to reduce the heat, return all cakes to the pan and cover to gently steam the cakes for a few minutes.
I tried both Atlantic and Pacific salmon and for this recipe. The Pacific salmon retained its color and texture better. The cooked salmon cakes held up well under refrigeration, and I also enjoyed them served cold with a salad.