We had a wonderful holiday in South West France again this year and delighted in not just eating the regional food but also meeting the local people.
We were so fortunate that whilst we were staying just outside the little hamlet of Le Ségur a series of events had been scheduled to showcase local food producers. Venues included a distillery, a vineyard, a specialist food shop and our local dairy farm. We had a delightful evening at Fromagerie du Buisson Blanc with the owners, Sylvie & Phillipe Basse, alongside 300 other people!
The evening began with a tour of the farm and milking parlor, we saw calves just a few days old and faithful Friesian that supply gallons and gallons of milk everyday.
Their cheeses were featured with pride as we began our Soirée Gourmande in the old barn with aperitifs of white pear or red blackberry wine served with crudités (to dip in their garlic & herb cream cheese), cheese quiche, and a selection of cheese cubes.
Starters were barbecued duck heart kebabs with pate, salad & bread followed by local sausage, pan-fried potato (with cheese stirred through to melting point), served with barbecued bundles of green beans wrapped in bacon. In keeping with French tradition, the cheese course was next; a selection of five of their best including a Fromage Blanc with apricot jam. Dessert was cheesecake, of course, made with their cheese by a local pattiserie. The wine flowed throughout and as the evening grew darker, we watched bats flying above our heads in the barn that they usually have to themselves…
It’s always great to meet Twitter friends when you find yourself in the same part of the world; earlier in the year we met Gillian Dixon of South Yeo Farm East and last summer we were making sausages with Katherine Garner of Mustard Seed Cooking. When I discovered that Becky Brown of La Famille Brown lived quite near to our holiday home in the Tarn region of Midi-Pyrénées I was delighted to accept her kind invitation to visit her lovely family and meet her cheeky chickens. The drive through the beautiful French countryside took us through mountains, over rivers and past a medieval abbey to Becky’s house in a picturesque village with stone walls and cobbled streets. We were welcomed into the courtyard and were greeted with a wonderful freshly baked cake filled with homemade plum jam, ‘There’s a tree in the village and nobody picks it, it’s a shame to waste the plums’, Becky explained. As we sat in the cool courtyard, which would have been a sun trap earlier in the day, I wondered where she kept her chickens. ‘I’ll take you to the garden’ said Becky as she led us out the front door, across the road, through a gate, up some steps and then into a beautiful terrace garden built into the hill and overlooking the whole village. There was a large chicken coop and run, a wonderful veg plot, lawn for the children and a seating area for enjoying the moment. It was so different to our London garden tucked behind our terrace house, but was simply perfect for Becky and her family; her boys could be ‘Kings of the Castle’ when playing up there!
Coming up at the Corner…
Pick and Pickle New Date: Wednesday 24th September ’14
This year we have planned courses right throughout 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. Throughout the next couple of months we will have three types of courses available: Urban Hens, keeping chickens in London, Family Feathers and Fun! and Pick and Pickle, an introduction to preserving. Why not come and join us?
Written by the author of Chocolat and other favourite food themed books based in France, this book is great to take on holiday or use from home to evoke sunny memories from traditional French fare.
This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!
- We’ve harvested the honey and took approx 20lb from one side of the Beehaus and 30lb from the other…
- Sadly, most of our apples ripened and dropped whilst we were on holiday, so not many for Cider Sunday
- The pesky squirrels have pinched every single almond from our tree – I’m building a cage around it next year!
Jobs for next week:
- Print labels for the honey, we’ve got 100 jars!
- Roll up my sleeves for the Pick and Pickle Courses
- Sort out my entries for the National Honey Show
Join us on the Journey!