Here are just a few photos I have left over from my recent posts about the town of Châtillon-sur-Indre. The first one is a close-up of a sculpture on the town's main square, with the old fortified castle tower in the background and the bleu-blanc-rouge French flag flying over it.
In front of the town hall (la mairie) we saw the more contemporary artwork below. The tourist office is in the same building, but it was closed — fermeture annuelle — when we were there.
Châtillon-sur-Indre is on the western edge of the historical province of Berry. The next department over is Touraine. We live on the far eastern edge of Touraine, but Saint-Aignan used to be considered part of Le Berry. In fact, the name of the town used to be Saint-Aignan-en-Berry, before it was renamed as Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher. I liked the name of the second-hand store pictured below.
This week I managed to locate and download a PDF file of the Larousse Gastronomique food and cooking encyclopedia (1,000 pages, in French). Here's what it says about the Berry region's cooking (my formatting):
BERRY La cuisine berrichonne est influencée par l'élevage du porc, des volailles et surtout du mouton, comme le prouvent ses apprêts de viande les plus typiques : gigot braisé à la sept-heures, pot-au-feu berriaud (associant jarret de veau, boeuf et épaule de mouton), veau à la berrichonne (cuit dans une sauce au vin rouge parfois enrichie d'oeufs mollets), poulet en barbouille. La gastronomie de cette ancienne province française se caractérise par la simplicité savoureuse et parfois rustique de ses préparations à cuisson lente.
Reading this made me realize how authentic that « incontournable souris d'agneau » was at the Auberge de la Tour in Châtillon. The « souris » or "mouse" of the lamb is the shank end of the hind leg. It's called the "mouse" because of it's plump shape, according to what I've read. And it was definitely an example of "slow cooking" (cuisson lente). It's the kind of country cooking I like. Translation:
The cooking of the Berry province is influenced by the local pork, poultry, and especially sheep farms, as is proved by its most famous dishes: seven-hour braised lamb (or mutton), pot roast featuring veal shank, beef, and lamb shoulder, Berry-style veal cooked in a red wine sauce that is sometimes enriched with coddled eggs, chicken in a red wine sauce thickened with the blood of the bird. The cuisine of this old French province is simple, savory, and sometimes rustic, with many slow-cooked dishes.