Wednesday, 20 July 2016

France Day Sept: Thin and fat

Bonjour! I've just returned from a vacation in France and now for the travel diary because my memory is terrible so I need to recap it all. This was a family vacation to catch the Euro Cup courtesy of my aunt and uncle, without them, this trip wouldn't have happened.

France Day Sept

I'm sure that it's become clear by now that this trip was all about two things - Football and food. Day seven wasn't an exception but this time we went even more fancy pants, driving to the Relais & Chateau in Puymirol to eat at the two Michelin starred restaurant by Chef Michel Trama,L'aubergade. The decor of this place is just mad - it looks like what would happen if Narnia had a baby with a very old French interior designer.

Windy day

Ghost practising walking through walls but getting stuck

There's something strange afoot

The food itself was also fancy as one would expect – I’ve never seen an aubergine/eggplant sliced so thin. I’m not sure whether this is really all that delicious because, well, it’s almost non-existent and feels like I’m crunching on a deep fried cloud. But I’m no food expert so this probably counts as ignorant rambling but you know how great I am at rambling on and on.  

Pre-starter starter? That's a sushi in the middle!

Not sure what's up with the orientation but this is truffle and vegetables

Dieting aubergine/eggplant and carrot

squid ink something? I didn't eat this

Cod with gravy. Not shown - a side of peas

Strawberry tart dessert alien


Passionfruit alien sac

The end of the meal, the purple balls are delicious chocolate

After lunch, we walked across their chio courtyard to the hotel boutique part which really looked like a rich French person’s kitchen. Ok so I don’t normally eat foie gras because I find it really cruel to the goose/duck but it’s really tough to come to a place where foie gras production probably powers the economy and not eat/buy any so I bought three expensive jars to give away as gifts.

Dream larder

And as if that’s not enough, we then went to Musee de Foie Gras which is like a little curation of things about foie gras that’s situated at the farm where foie gras is produced. The museum is a small little tour of all things to do with foie gras but also a little bit specific to this farm (eg. What the process on this farm is like), it takes maybe 20-30 minutes to go through it all. While the display write-ups are in French, they give non-French speakers a paper with some basic summary of each station in English. Anyway, it’s quite easy to get a sense of what’s happening from all their posters and displays. The best part is the end where you sit in a darkened room and screen a short film about the farm’s history, their farming process and also how to prepare and enjoy the foie gras, with the owners preparing the food like cooking show hosts. When you’re done with the museum tour, you exit through the shop so you can buy the foie gras with the new knowledge of how to prepare it. Please remember to wear a chef’s hat.  

The duck's caption is probably 'eat me here, here and here'


Predators! Look at those mean angry faces

A hell lot of foie gras

We had a failed attempt to lure Jericho (see Day 4) round for dinner again because we got another BBQ going onto to have France say 'No monsieur' on us by chucking rain down and drowning out the fire and lots of our dinner. We miss you Jericho. We miss you dried potatoes. (We still ate soggy potatoes).

Mother Nature is a cruel b*tch

Key learnings:
  • Thinly slicing an aubergine is fancy. You can do it using these
  • There are different grades of foie gras, the best being foie gras mi cuit which is the kind without preservatives but it doesn't keep long and must be refrigerated and then consumed quickly after opening, sadly making it unsuitable for travel. 
  • Foie gras comes from both goose and duck liver. The farm at the Museum we visited says that they only fatten the birds' livers up for 2 weeks out of a year (I think. My memory is bad) and they sit around and massage the birds' throats while force-feeding. The rest of the time, apparently the birds wander around the farm having a grand ol' time. Please note that this has to be proven since I didn't see it with my own 2 eyes. 
  • Don't try to fight Mother Nature. She will always win.  
Thanks for reading!

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