Quaint and Quiet: Part Cinq

June 7, 2010 at 10:15 PM Leave a comment

After a very hot and sunny weekend (it got up to 86 or so both days – no air conditioning either!), I’m ready to wrap up these posts about our anniversary/Memorial Day weekend trip to France.

Saturday night was our four-course dinner. It began with an apéritif in the living area. John and I both tried Kir, a typical Burgundian drink, which is a mix of Aligoté wine and crème de cassis. It was better than I envisioned, but I probably won’t be ordering it again. On the other hand, John thought it was a great apéritif. We moved to the dining room for our entrée, which was gulp escargot. I mulled it over in my head and decided I would take the plate but wouldn’t eat it. (I’m only so adventurous with my food, and this crossed into the realm of not ever going to happen ever.) When Tobias came over to bring me my plate, I end up politely refusing the plate with a “no thank you.” To my surprise, he offered me smoked salmon instead, and I jumped at the offer. In my head, I reasoned that although it’s pink, I’d had it before and it was decent. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m not a big fish person.) I ate my salmon and moved on. Later, I realized that it was ahi tuna that I was thinking about, and I’d just had my first taste of salmon!

Moving on to the main course, plates of roasted duck with orange glaze and potatoes au gratin were served. This was a meal of firsts! In every course so far, including the apéritif, I tried something new. Of course, I’d had oranges and potatoes so far, so you guessed it, I tried duck for the first time. My goodness gracious. I don’t know what’s kept me from eating it my whole life. It was amazing. I like it better than chicken, although that’s not saying too much because I’m kind of going through a phase where I don’t really care for chicken. Anyway, the duck was superb! It was served with a great red Burgundian wine, and for the record, our entrée was served with an equally scrumptious white wine that paired perfectly with the salmon.

After the main course, we were served a cheese course with a selection of four different cheeses. I did not care for two of them, but the other two were awesome. I only caught the name of the most amazing cheese I have ever tasted: Regal de Bourgogne. The cheese tastes like it’s whipped and has a flavor like a lightly sweet natural cheesecake. To make it even better, it’s rolled in raisins, and I understand that some people aren’t big raisin fans, but trust me, it goes really well with the cheese. I want some now! I have no idea where to get it, especially once we get back to the States. Does anyone know of some super awesome French market in Texas? I don’t care if it’s 6 hours away, I will drive there at least a few times a year to get my French food fix.

Rounding out the food courses, we were served a dessert of strawberries drizzled with cream, two strawberries dipped in chocolate and a small bit of a crumble, which tasted something like shortbread. Dessert was accompanied by a cup of coffee, and following dessert, we retired to the living area for a digestif. As I sat down to await my Bailey’s, one of the other couples asked who had tried the escargot. At the smallest suggestion of food, the contents of my stomach threatened to make a quick reversal through my digestive system, so I very quickly excused myself as gracefully as possible. A few minutes later, John came upstairs and found me miserably shuffling between the bed and the toilet. Thankfully I did keep everything down (who likes to vomit?), but I sure did not feel well. Thankfully, once morning came, I felt 100% again.

We enjoyed our breakfast indoors again due to continuing rain. We spent the rest of the morning reading before heading out to explore nearby Vandeness en Auxois, where we stopped at a small English tea shop, Salon de Thé, for lunch and shopping. As we were pulling up to the shop, we saw two little girls saying goodbye to one another and kissing each other’s cheeks in farewell. It was one of the most adorable things I have ever seen.

Salon de Thé

After lunch, we walked along the canals and admired the view of Chateauneuf (literally, new castle) from the base of the hill.

Canal de Bourgogne, c'est magnifique!

One of the many locks used for climbing up and down the Burgundians hills

It was rather wide where we were

Cheateauneuf overlooking the canal

One of the many boats waiting to take folks for a leaisurely cruise down the canals

We decided to go up the hill and explore Chateauneuf, while we thought was just a castle but turned out to be another cute little town.

Cheateauneuf with cows in the foreground

I love all the shutters we saw!

A dog laying in a shop door

Cheateauneuf

Remnants from the drawbridge. Neat, right?

How cool is it that you could just put a note on your door that says "I'm at my sister's house." I love it!

*sigh*

A couple of hours later, after taking the long way home, we returned back at the bed and breakfast ready to rent bikes. I had not ridden a bike in about fifteen years, and I never really had a bike of my own, so please don’t mistake me for a competent bike rider. I got so scared (yes, I’m a wimp) before biking that I started shaking. I conquered the flat street and quickly started pedaling up a hill steeper than a teenager’s phone bill. Going up was rough because my leg muscles have apparently turned to mush. We rode for about 2 kilometers and then decided to head back down. Going down was difficult, because I have a fear of going fast and being out of control (remember my skiing incident?). John managed top calm me down, and I ended up enjoying myself immensely. We even rode back and forth in town a few times. We stopped at the castle and then rode to the other end of town, where we contemplated going into their “bar,” but decided against it. We had a wine tasting at our bed and breakfast in an hour and didn’t want to kill our taste buds.

My first bike ride in well over a decade. Wee!!

Look how high up John is!

Arrrrrgh!

Playing during a break from bike riding

Whooooooooa!

The wine tasting was neat, because we got to imagine where the vineyards were due to our tour on Saturday. Also, it was enjoyable to be able to sit down and chat with Tobias (and admire their adorable King Charles spaniels).

With the owners of Cheateau Les Roches, Tobias and Marco and their two sweet puppies.

We wrapped up our evening with a dinner of couscous, cheese and cold cuts and headed to bed, sad to be leaving in the morning but happy to pick up Béni from the kennel. Speaking of, Béni did have a much better kennel experience this time, but he didn’t want to eat when he came home. He seemed to be scared of it, and it took a few days to get him to trust his food bowl again. He’s just a really sensitive dog and is never aggressive. He also asks for lots of hugs from us every day (not joking), and I’m sure he doesn’t get hugs at the kennel. His hugs involve him shoving his head as close to us as he can get and just standing there while we hug, pet and kiss him. It’s quite possibly the most adorable thing ever.

Anyway, I can’t wait until we’re back in Texas and hopefully friends and family will offer to watch him when we go out of town (hint hint). 🙂

So that wraps up our France trip! A tout a l’heure mes amis!

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Entry filed under: Our Goings On, Travel. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Quaint and Quiet: Part Quatre Bike Wheels Keep on Turnin’

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