30 August 2011

Restaurants, croissants, and friends

We've gotten busy again. Our friends Evelyn and Lewis arrived in Saint-Aignan yesterday afternoon. They're staying with us. We met them through an Internet forum 10 years ago. They came to visit us in Saint-Aignan the first time in 2004, and this is their fourth visit I think. We've also visited them at their house in Alabama — me twice, Walt once.

Last week, in a town called Le Mêle-sur-Sarthe, we saw
a man selling live chickens and ducks at the market.

Last night we went to the Agnès Sorel restaurant in Genillé, down near Loches, for dinner. We were joined by other American friends who live just down the road from us, on the other side of Saint-Aignan. The conversation was good, the food and service were excellent, and the view from the restaurant window out onto the Genillé church was gorgeous.

In Le Mêle-sur-Sarthe, where we went on vacation last week

We ate gaspacho, gambas, pigeon, tournedos, sweetbreads, turbot, foie gras, pineapple, mousse au chocolat, goat cheese, camembert, and many more delicious foods (not everybody had everything on that list!). We had a bottle of Touraine Sauvignon (Blanc) from a winemaker in nearby Saint-Julien-de-Chedon, and a bottle of red Cabernet Franc wine from a vintner over in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, on the other side of Tours.

A woman selling strawberries at the market in Le Mêle

This morning I have a pan of croissants aux amandes in the oven, because I know Lewis loves them (and so do I — here's a link to the recipe). Yesterday I made a big pot of sauce bolognaise (ragù in Italian) using fresh tomatoes from our vegetable garden and meat from the supermarket that we ground ourselves. If their are any ripe eggplants in the garden, I'll make lasagne at noon. Otherwise, it'll be spaghettis bolognaise. Meantime, I'm writing this blog post.

The Bœuf Noir — Black Ox — hotel in Le Mêle,
between Mortagne-au-Perche and Alençon

As you can tell, it's busy. The weather is beautiful. We plan to go to the zoo this afternoon, after a morning of taking it easy. Tomorrow we'll drive over to Bourgueil to have lunch with Amy, the blogger who writes (or used to) the blog called Chit'lin's and Camembert.

An old house down an alleyway
in Le Mêle-sur-Sarthe (Perche)

Amy is also the the author of a recently published book called Die for Me. She is making lunch for us. On Thursday, E & L are driving back to Paris for a few days there, and Walt's going with them. A cousin of his just got married back in Albany and the couple are coming to Paris for their honeymoon. Walt wants to take them out to dinner in a good Paris restaurant as their wedding present.

I don't have any slivered almonds to put on top, but the
croissants with almond cream cooked inside will still taste good.

Okay, the croissants aux amandes are ready. The sun is streaming in through the front windows. The cat is fed, and I hear Walt coming back from his walk with Callie the Collie. Another day in paradise...


  1. The strawberries were wonderful! The croissants aux amandes were delicious as well. Thanks for making them, Ken.

  2. Fresh almond croissants! Ken, you are a very good friend to do that. I think Evelyn and Lewis must be having a great time on their trip. Will there be a trip report we can read somewhere?

    You really had a feast at Agnès Sorel.

  3. It sure does sound like paradise to me :) Ken, did you or Walt make those croissants!? Yumm! It all sounds heavenly-- the company, as well. Hi to everyone from me!


  4. almond croissants r my favorite....cant find decent ones anywhere around here

  5. Croissants are not easy to make. After reading your blog(s) for few years now, you guys still amaze me.
    E & L are very lucky!

  6. My daughter loved the book you mentioned, "Die for me".
    I followed Chitlins and Camenbert, that's why I bought the book.

  7. I am envious of the fellow Alabamians enjoying your paradise!
    PS my daughter went to the same high school that Amy attended.
    Linda from Alabama

  8. I wouldn't mind an almond croissant right now.

  9. I guess everyone got so side-tracked by the food and friends, no one commented on the ducks, which I found incredibly cute. Wonder what people who buy them do with them. (Or maybe I don't want to know.)

    The food sounds and looks incredibly yummy. Of course, by posting all of this, you have raised the bar for future visitors. (Ahem.) :)

  10. So glad to hear that all is
    well with your NC Family,
    Ken. We were fortunate...
    no incidence.
    I am going to make the almond croissants with the
    locally purchased croissants
    that are of a quality for
    which to die. My Spouse is
    still trying to convince me
    they have no caloric burden.
    I am going to follow your
    suggestion and make them
    crusty. Merci...

  11. Just to set the record straight, we didn't make the croissants themselves, just the filling. I bought the croissants (made with "pure butter") at the supermarket.

    Cheryl, I liked the ducks' pink bills.

  12. When I first opened up the blog, yesterday, the picture of the ducks on a glance reminded me of shortbread cookies half covered with dark chocolate. Then I realized the picture was of two different colored ducks!

    I didn't know that croissants aux amandes were made from day-old pastry! Amazing facts I store away from reading your blog, Ken! Thanks. One day I may have day-old croissants lying around(Not to often)and then I will try this recipe.

    Mary in Oregon


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