I just dusted bread crumbs off my iPad cover to write this post. It’s the end of my sojourn in Burgundy and I’m on the super fast train back to London.
I feel much heavier than I did when I left. But I’ve enjoyed plenty of French bread, butter and cheese over the last few days. Bread on its own… bread with butter… bread with cheese… bread with butter and cheese and in some cases just cheese or just butter! Putting bread with it just seems like the more civilised thing to do sometimes.
I was in butter heaven in the supermarche (until I got in trouble for taking photos). My favourite was a salted kind – there in the blue and yellow wrapper – that you could see the glittering salt crystals in.
I’ve been staying with my lovely friends, Sarah and Jules, in their incredible 17th century farm house, ‘Pierre au Grain’, that was once an old grain mill, in a little town called Donzy (population approx 2000) in Burgundy. There’s a lake out front and a stream out back. Patches of wild strawberries, blackberries and raspberries ripe for the picking. Hydrangeas and roses are in abundance in the garden. Neighbour Bernard has cows and horses and likes to shoots ducks. Aside from the odd sound of Bernard’s shot gun over the lake, this place is absolute heaven.
Jules cooked some delicious beef for dinner the night I arrived. Charolais beef. The cattle are everywhere, dotting the lush green hills with pockets of off-white. And you only have to look around at the gorgeous countryside to see why they’re so tasty – they must be so happy spending their days roaming around here.
The first morning I’m woken by the “boom” of Bernard’s shot gun – duck shooting season has started a few weeks early it seems. I look out my window to see his dog bounding across the misty shallows of the lake looking for its catch.
Malcolm, the lovely deaf-as-a-doorpost builder working on the house renovations, has been bringing us huge bags cherry tomatoes from his garden. Today, he’s brought the second bag this week. They’re so tasty and sweet. If I shut my eyes, this is exactly what the colour red tastes like. Sarah and I sit and eat a handful for breakfast and work out what what we can cook with them, before we eat them all.
We stop at the Patisserie in the picturesque town of Cluny. Have you ever seen a pain au chocolate with pastry that yellow and buttery? The flakes that fall away with each bite just melt in my mouth. With a coffee, this is breakfast.
Only just last week was the new kitchen installed at Pierre au Grain (they knew I was coming), complete with one of the most beautiful pieces of cooking equipment I’ve even been able to lay my hands on. A La Cornue stove. Luckily I’ve been given the green light to take over the kitchen for the next few days. And I can’t wait!
Oh, and this is what I can blame for my crumb covered computer; A sourdough baguette with lashings of French butter, roast lamb, rosemary potatoes and Dijon mustard. Last nights leftovers that I just had to turn in to a packed lunch for my train journey today.