28 June 2012

Laying in supplies for guests

It's always hard to know what kind of food to plan for people who are arriving here directly from California. They will have been in transit for close to 24 hours. They will be exhausted but maybe well fed. Well, maybe not — airline food. I'm not going to cook a big dinner.

The fact is, it will be nine a.m. California time when they arrive in Saint-Aignan. The travelers might have slept a little on the plane — it's an 11-hour flight — but if they're like me, it won't have been a restful sleep. Maybe we should plan breakfast for them, but then again they always give you breakfast on the plane just before arrival.

Here's what we plan to do this evening. I'll go pick up Jill and Peter at the little train station across the river in Noyers-sur-Cher at about six p.m. It's only three or four miles to the train station, so they won't have to endure a long car ride. When we get home, we'll offer them a shower and a clean bed.

They probably won't want to turn in so early, though. The sun doesn't go down until ten and it stays light until eleven. The weather is iffy right now, but it's very warm, and I'm pretty sure that it will be warm enough this evening to spend time just sitting out on the terrace, sipping wine and having a picnic.

Yesterday's courses (shopping)

I went shopping at one of the local supermarkets yesterday and laid in supplies, as you can see in the picture above. I of course got some cheese — this is France. Over at Intermarché, I had noticed recently that they have a nice Chaource from northern Burgundy (or is it southern Champagne?) in their cheese counter. Chaource [shah-'oorss] is a village near the city of Troyes [trwah], about three hours east of Saint-Aignan. It's famous for its cow's milk cheese, which is pure white, tender, and only slightly salty.

Sticking with the Burgundy theme, I also picked up an Epoisses cheese. Epoisses [ay-pwahss] is a village just 100 km / 50 mi. south of Chaource, near the bigger towns of Avallon and Semur-en-Auxois. The cheese is made with cow's milk, but it has a totally different taste and texture. It's like a soft, very runny Camembert in size and shape, but not it taste. You could almost eat it with a spoon. It's rubbed with the local grape brandy, called marc de Bourgogne, during the aging process.

A cheese close-up

Okay, that was a lot of information about just two cheeses. I also got some local Loire Valley goat cheese (fromage de chèvre). Intermarché carries a line of chèvres from the town of Manthelan, an hour west of Saint-Aignan, on the other side of Tours. I picked up a little disk of La Thibaudière semi-hard (demi-sec) goat cheese that will be good with local wine and bread, and also a long log of fresh, unsalted goat cheese for those who like a milder flavor.

In the fridge, I already had a piece of Cantal cheese, from the central mountains of France, a few hours south of us. I did a whole series of posts about Cantal cheese-making a few years ago, after we spent a few days in that region. You can find them in the archives for 2009, between September 20 and 24. (Or among the topics here.)

So that we don't just have cheese (but that might be okay; I'm convinced that natural, cultured cheese are very good for soothing digestive upsets), we also plan to have some sardines on toast, a few slices of saucisson sec (I got a Rosette "salami" from the Auvergne), and maybe some rillettes d'oie (potted goose meat). I bought a little loaf of pain aux céréales (whole-grain bread) to supplement the baguettes our delivery woman will bring this morning. Walt says that this afternoon he will make some goat cheese mini-muffins, with the fresh white chèvre and some herbs from the garden.

My other shopping destination yesterday was the wine co-op in Saint-Romain-sur-Cher, to stock up on local wines for the weekend. I bought what they call un carton panaché — a mixed half-case (they don't seem to sell wines by the 12-bottle case here in France). The six bottles in the box are: a Pinot Noir, a Cabernet (Franc), a Côt (a.k.a. Malbec), a local red blend called a Tradition, a Sauvignon Blanc (which won a prize in an international competition), and a rosé.

Here's another photo of that Peacock butterfly (paon du jour in French).

This food and wine should get us through the weekend, especially since we have dinner at the Manoir de Contres to look forward to tomorrow night, as well as shopping in the open-air markets at Montrichard (Friday), Saint-Aignan (Saturday), and Noyers (Sunday). The weather is supposed to be pretty good, but not perfect.


  1. "They" always tell me I should tough it out and stay up until local bedtime after I've traveled from California to France, but my personal preference is for a solid two hour nap, and then I'm all caught up and adjusted for the duration.

  2. i always want bread/cheese & saucisson when I arrive in france.....I'll be right over

  3. Your guests are exceedingly fortunate people! And not only because of the cheese.

  4. Hello Lee I, I guess I'm not a napper, so I subscribe to the tough-it-out advice. But it's totally personal.

    Melinda, the picnic dinner will start at seven. Welcome.

    Kristi, the saucisson and rillettes too, eh?

  5. It looks like you've got enough yummy food for us all- we will be with you in spirit. I think I'll have some more
    of the Avergne Cantal stp.

  6. Wow, that looks like a world of treats!

  7. Well, Jerry and I will be there tomorrow (it looks like you've got enough food)!

    The butterfly photos are breathtaking!

  8. I love Epoisse, but I won't find that here in Nebraska. It'll have to wait until we are back.

  9. We actually slept over in Troyers, on the trip from Austria last night.
    Lovely town center, I wish I would have had more time to explore.

    Lacoste still has factory there.

  10. We've just become big fans of Delice de Bourgogne, so I would have added that to the Burgundian themed cheese board.

  11. That is a beautiful butterfly. I only see yellow ones around here.


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