Monday, 27 February 2012

Winter Sunshine

What a difference a few weeks makes.

When last I posted, we were shivering under a thick blanket of snow and wondering if winter would stretch on forever.

This weekend the sun came out and showed us that there is hope on the horizon for a glorious spring.

We decided to revisit the Chateau de Perigny.  A beautiful place near the town of VouillĂ©.  Approximately 20km from where we live.

Our last visit there had been to have dinner in the restaurant and as it was night time, we did not get to see the full charms of the Chateau, which is now a restaurant and hotel.

As you can see it is a lovely building overlooking a small valley. The outbuildings are used as the actual restaurant and accomodation, leaving the fabric of the Chateau untouched.

The meal was superb!  No photos as it was a bit too posh to be whipping out the camera to take snaps of the meal.... not that I have ever done that before....   For entree, I had a carpaccio of seafood and salicorn.  Wayne enjoyed mini croquettes of pigs feet.  We both ordered the wild boar with cranberries and quince paste for our main meal, and dessert was figs poached in spiced wine with fromage blanc for Wayne, and a crisp chocolate shell containing passionfruit mousse and a quenelle of mango sorbet for me.

The entrees and main course were sublime.  Roasted loin of wild boar with quince paste was a new taste pairing for both of us.  The boar was succulent and flavourful, and the quince paste brought out the savoury notes while adding a hint of sweetness and a tart finish. Toned down the richness of the boar and made it possible to enjoy every mouthful.  The sauteed wild mushrooms on the side were just a little bit of heaven to add to the whole dish.

Wayne loved his dessert.  I had wanted the figs, but they had orange in the poaching liquid... tant pis!  So I ordered the alternate dessert.  It was nice, and the presentation was gorgeous - but I found it too sweet for my palate.  I said to Wayne later that I probably should have had a cheese course instead of dessert and it would have been a perfect meal.  Oh well, always next time.

After a short walk around the Chateau grounds to take photos, we headed to the village of Sanxay.  All of the Poitou-Charentes is known for its Roman history and huge amount of ruins and remains.  Sanxay is the site of a large complex containing a theatre, thermal baths and temple. 

Whilst it was gloriously sunny, the temperature left a lot to be desired.... especially on the windswept slopes of the theatre.... We both wished we had taken our winter coats, instead of optimistically wearing spring weight jackets.  Not even gloves or hats had been thought of in our eagerness to go and make the most of the sun.

It was worth the effort of braving the cold though.  I would highly recommend a visit to this site if you are ever in the Poitou-Charentes.  Incredible ruins and well thought out plan for the visit.  No hard paths and obvious signage, but each person is given a guide book at the office which explains the site step by step and also gives information on the trees and plant life on the site.  A more personal approach.  You can read the hightlights, or go into more detail as you prefer.

Next weekend I embark on a new project, courtesy of our lovely neighbours.  Their father has vineyards and usually makes his own wine and pineau.  This year I too am going to learn how to do this, starting with the pruning of the vines and finishing - hopefully - with a nice table wine sometime next year.  I am looking forward to learning this skill and will ensure to keep you all updated as we accomplish each task.

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