Tuesday, 19 June 2012

From France with love (and wine)

What's best to avoid the Jubilee celebrations than a bucolic long bank holiday weekend in June exploring the French countryside?
I am not talking about the most touristy areas but those unspoilt regions where life is slow and all about nature, food and wine!
I found the right place in Dordogne, a small county on the South West side of France, just East of Bordeaux.

An area well known for castles, perfectly preserved medieval villages, vineyards, duck breeding and therefore a lot of duck based recipes. Every restaurant will have the confit the canard on their menu as well as a lot of foie gras.

I will leave all my ethical concerns on the foie gras on a side and will concentrate on the relaxing beauty of the Dordogne river valley and the friendly attitude of the local people. It is a place where you feel always welcome and where food and wine have a special place.

Driving in the countryside without direction is pure pleasure.
Stopping to have a walk in the silence of the medieval streets of one of those lovely villages like Montpazier, Tremolat, Cadouin or Limeuil is something really unforgettable.
And there is nothing better to finish the day than a nice dinner in a little bistrot with some rustic, genuinely tasty food.

I perfectly know that repeating your holidays experiences at home will never give you the same sensations and that whatever you drink and eat in a place during your trips will never taste the same when back home.
But this time I couldn't resist...I couldn't stop myself buying cheeses and some wine, so that my suitcase this time was not only full of memories!
Laguiole, Tomme de Savoie, Saint Nectaire, Langres, saucissons...et vin, Monbazillac and Pécharmant.

No real need to say anything about the first one. It speaks for itself, and if any of you doesn't know it, just try it. It is a great sweet wine. But the Pécharmant was instead a surprising find.

The 2004 vintage from Château Champarel that I bought, was still showing a dashing bouquet of fresh red fruit and a hint of undergrowth. A light texture, soft tannins and a medium subtle length. A wine that is ageing very well and still has some lifetime. An elegant wine, and a great value for money especially for Bordeaux blend enthusiasts.

PS: During my wandering around Dordogne I also 'met' Josephine Baker.....so I thought it would have been the best soundtrack for this post!