09 August 2008

Lunch at the farm inn

What did we have for lunch? Chevreau. That's the goat equivalent of agneau, lamb. So I guess it's kid in English. It was the meat of a young goat braised in a mustard-garlic sauce, served with sautéed potatoes.

Lunch at the Ferme-Auberge de la Lionnière in Mareuil-sur-Cher

And it was lunch at the local farm inn, the Ferme-Auberge de la Lionnière, which is just a couple of miles from our house as the crow flies (it's a little further driving there on narrow curvy roads). The Lionnière — I'm not sure where the name comes from — is a goat farm run by Françoise and Frédéric Bouland, who offer B&B-style rooms, a couple of gîtes that will each sleep 8 or 10, a dining room where they serve the products of their farm, and a facility for raising goats and making goat cheese.

The mustard-garlic braised chevreau was probably the best thing I've ever eaten there, and one of the best dishes I've had in a while. On past visits, we've eaten lamb, pintade (guinea hen), and chèvre (the goat equivalent of mutton, I guess).

Rows of vines leading to the hamlet called La Renaudière

Actually, yesterday, three of us had mustard-garlic chevreau and the fourth had chèvre cooked in Sauvignon Blanc wine. I tasted that too (the food is served family-style) but it needed some of the mustard-garlic sauce, in my opinion. The farm inn is not a restaurant and doesn't offer an extensive menu. We were just lucky yesterday to have a choice of chevreau or chèvre as the main course. There were no choices otherwise — you get what they are serving.

It's starting to feel almost like autumn here in Saint-Aignan.
The temperature this morning was below 14ºC/57ºF.

The starter courses were some little toasts spread with fresh herbed goat cheese, followed by a green salad dressed with vinaigrette and shavings of hard goat cheese (sort of like parmesan or dry jack cheese but with a goaty flavor), and some little beignets — fritters I guess you'd say. They were puffy little balls of fried batter that had melted goat cheese inside.

To be authorized to use the name Ferme-Auberge, "farm inn," the owners are required to serve what they raise and grow themselves. So here most of the food is based on goat and goat cheese.

Produce we are starting to get from our 2008 vegetable garden

We were having lunch with some people who drove down from Paris on their way to the town of Cognac, down south of us. I knew them because the woman, who is from Hong Kong but grew up in San Francisco and now has lived in France for more than 20 years, is a contributor to a travel forum that I participate in. Her husband, from Iowa originally, has also lived in Paris for more than 25 years.

It's always nice to put faces on the typed messages you read on forums and blogs, and this was no exception. We had a delicious lunch, enjoyed getting to know new people whom we will probably see when we go to Paris in the future, and spent a pleasant afternoon. We were too busy talking and making acquaintaince with new people to take pictures of the food.

A moth landed on the lampshade
next to my computer yesterday evening.

Oh, and dessert was an apricot charlotte. That's whipped cream with fresh apricots mixed in and poured into a cookie crust, served chilled. It was also delicious. Over the course of the meal, we had a pitcher of Sauvignon Blanc white wine from a property called La Méchinière in Mareuil-sur-Cher, and a bottle of Pinot Noir red made by a man we know and periodically buy wine from, Jean-Christophe Mandard, also in Mareuil. Both wines were very good.


  1. Now that's interesting......

    Susan and I have often commented that it's strange how you see so much goat's cheese, but so far we have never seen goat on a menu, or even in a supermarche or boucherie.

    I was starting to have the TOTALLY crazy notion that we had discovered the one thing the French are sqeamish about eating.......

  2. Hi Ken, I'm glad you enjoyed your lunch yesterday! What I had in Portugal in the eighties was probably 'un vieux bouc' and not a tendre little 'chevreau':). Have a nice weekend! Martine

  3. Your moth is a Many-plumed Moth, probably the most common species Alucita hexadactyla. Their caterpillars are pink and can be found in honeysuckle flowers, which is reflected in its French name l'Ornéode du Chèvrefeuille. (I like the way you've even arranged for a moth that fits in with the goaty theme of this post :-)

  4. Blind luck, Susan.

    Martine, the chèvre was not as good as the chevreau. The chèvre was tougher and gamier, or stronger tasting.

  5. A goat moth- oh là là! I was truly impressed with you, Ken;-)

    Here's a link to the goat farm if I'm allowed to post it:
    La Lionnière

    The goats are handsome and not the sort I would have thought of.

  6. Thanks Evelyn, and posting the link to the Lionnière site was a good idea. As I said, the moth was there and I took a picture. Who knew what kind of moth it was?

    Oh, and the Chèvrefeuille that Susan mentions is the French word for Honeysuckle. I don't know what it has to do with goats except that goats probably enjoy munching on honeysuckle plants.

    Last night, I let Callie out and she started barking at something under the big apple tree. I went out with a flashlight and there was a hedgehog, un hérisson. It's the first time we've seen one in the yard and we are glad if they are here now. They eat bugs, snails, and slugs.

    There are no hedgehogs in North America or Australia, according to Wikipedia.

  7. What a lovely lunch and thanks for telling us about the inn.

    The only place I've eaten chevreau is in Portugal and it was delicious.


  8. I've got no idea why honeysuckle is 'goat leaf' in French either.


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