Wednesday, 27 July 2011

"Amour Fou" - Part Two

A guest post

Just having a break from the Iténeraire Baroque
for Debbie's guest post

As promised last winter,
see 'Un americain-périgordienne Amour Fou'
I have returned to the beautiful Périgord,
and find myself back in the 'little house' of Karin and Ron.
Every season has it's charm here, and as I hail from southern California,
 it is quite special for me, just to experience seasons at all.


The drive from Angouleme to the Village of Verteillac this time of year
takes one on small roads with one lane in each direction,

past alternating fields of sunflowers, corn and wheat.

It is a panorama view that I like to compare to a patchwork quilt,
changing with each twist and turn in the road.

From one village to another.. see ancient churches,
many in this region dating back to the 12th century.

Each day is a new adventure.  Friday is the market in Riberac.
In my last post, see  here
there was the special market devoted to winter products and I bought 
little, black truffles and foie gras.

Now in summer the market offers....

...fresh onions...

...tied in small bundles...together with young garlic...

...that fragrant!

Artichokes with long stems were just pulled from gardens


...some are so big it is hard to hold them in one hand!

Garlic and shallots come in many varieties
with colors not sold in my local market at home. I like to try them all.

Roasted beets are another summer favorite,
which I roast, drizzle with French olive oil and a balsamic reduction.

This region has a blend of cognac and ??? which is called Pineau des Charentes.
I adore it and buy a bottle or 2 as soon as I arrive
to be served cold each evening as an aperitif. 

On Fridays you can taste both the white and pink varieties 
from little glasses at the open market.

This Friday I bought a tiny cooked quail and some tasty potatoes from the Artisan Rotisseur.
The potatoes are flavored with the drippings of the hot roasting birds.


Another day was filled with a drive into St. Emilion wine region.
The landscaped subtly changes...

...row upon row of vineyards...

...with plumb grapes hanging from ancient vines,
some families have been making wine for 10 generations!

Many of the Chateaux have wonderful entrances.

And Karin arranged for us to have a private tour at one.

Not too far away,  south of Bergerac,
(1) the Chateau Monbazillac

The Monbazillac wine is a rather sweet wine that is superb with the seared foie,
and also with a fine dessert.
I drank some just tonight with the pasta and foie gras I made for dinner...

The architecture...

  ...of these castle-like Chateau... like something out of a fairy tale.


I love walking through villages...
 ...with their narrow, cobblestone streets,

imagining the lives of the people who walked here hundreds of years ago.

I confess that I have a real fascination for the old doors...

...and colorful shutters...

with interesting hardware


Just a 10 minutes drive from La Pouyette... one of the local farms for the production of the foie gras.

Geese and ducks...

...hang out in the open air... well as a flock of ostrich

* details,

but we all know what eventually happens...


On Saturday morning there is a little farmers market in the village of Villebois Lavalette...

...that has a stand with fresh oysters.

Karin says the building, made of wood beams and well weathered red tiled roof... 500 years old

 whit the most amazing beam construction!


We ordered a dozen of the oysters which are shucked....

...and brought over to your table with a wedge of lemon.

The Cafe across the street is called cafe reunion,
which is an apt name as Karin ran into 5 different people
she hasn't seen in awhile!


A few days ago when the weather turned to be somewhat 'cold' and drizzling,
too cool to hang around the pool, I went with Karin on a drive along the Circuit Roman.
This takes you from one 11th or 12th century Romanesque church to another.
She needed to make plans for some decoration she will be doing this week
for the Iténeraire Baroque, an annual music festival.

I'm fascinated by how the stone entrances are worn down
 from generation after generation of churchgoers.

In St. Martial de Viveyrole the church is right next... an old cemetary...

...and I wandered through reading about the families,
many of which lost young sons during long ago wars.
The gray skies seemed fitting this day.


 The old Romanesque church in Cherval...

 ...was right next to the Mairie, or mayor house,

flying the colorful flags of France.

If you look at the door on the right...

..and the left, you see the word ECOLE. It translates
And as I am a teacher, I love to walk around looking for glimpses 
that shed light on what it is like to attend school in Cherval, a rather small village...
For one thing, they have a much longer lunch....


This time of the year....
...there are pastures everywhere with cattle...

...mamas with big udders,

...watchful papas and the cutest babies...
California has an advertising campaign about our happy cows,
but I think these French cows are even happier.

And happy cows, and sheep and goats make me think 
about all the amzing cheese that you can find here;
and that is just one more reason that I keep coming back!

Still having my love affair with this little slice of heaven on earth.

Image (1) by Nicolas Fediaevsky


  1. It truly is a slice!! I remember the smell of the rotisserie chickens dripping on potatoes and peppers, And that purple garlic. I am dying!!!!The artichoke is the size of a bowling ball.... The Scenery is gorgeously presented and love the shot of the sunflowers. Nice job! Maryanne ;)

  2. This is amazing..I almost feel like I was there and could reach into my computer and grab some of the fresh veges!!!I Love this post, thank you for sharing.

  3. Lovely posting =) so lively and charming!

  4. I am looking forward to claiming my slice of life there in the not so distant future.

    It looks amazing!

  5. This was such a wonderful post, thank you Debbie for sharing your fabulous trip with us. Funny but you take away the 500 year old beamed structure, the ancient churches, the atmosphere it's like being in my little town. We grow veggies and have cows.....

  6. Oh how wonderful! Where do we begin? The entry way into the Barterde chateau antique iron, the wood beams, stone floors, the fresh vegetables, and sunflower hillside all make my heart skip a beat! Thank you for the feast for our eyes!
    Hope your wednesday was wonderful!

    Renee and Angela