a very rural trip to france
We head to just outside of Bergerac, south-west France. Our residence for the week is a stunning old converted mill. The bedroom window opens out over the running water that passes through the still working mill beneath the house. We drive through endless sunflower fields as we draw closer to our destination. The old mill sits by itself within the wheat fields that surround it: picturesque and modest at a first glance. On our first night we head out laden with an assortment of French goodies as the sun begins to lower in the sky. Cheese, bread, wine and charcuterie with plenty of cornichons weigh down our baskets. We pitch up just beyond the stream with children and dog in tow. The complete calm and serenity of this area lets nature take centre stage. The constant hum of crickets, local birds and dark starry nights are a welcome addition and a far cry from our hectic London lives.
We venture to a nearby restaurant, just outside Puy L’Eveque. A fifteen-minute drive amongst endless rows of vineyards. Golden hour is upon us and we’re in awe of this incredible spot. Part of the main courtyard consists of an open barn style structure, which is where we dine, others sit beneath the enormous willow tree that dominates the other side of the courtyard. Food has a European focus and is made up from as much local produce as possible. Wine is of the same ethos. The key is to go local with whatever you can. It’s all completely delicious and the staff will happily guide you through the wine list.
The local market in Montcuq offers an incredible bounty of freshly grown produce. An abundance of cheese, pastries, breads and specialist charcuterie make us keen to plot out our meals for the week ahead at the mill.
This is a region of France where wine, cheese and charcuterie are to be appreciated. It’s no wonder that the French are proud of what their country produces, I could easily live off this wealth of produce and quality produce at that. The endless small towns we wander through, old cafes, brocantes and restaurants all with endless charm and steeped in history. This is a part of the world where you can’t help but be seduced by.
Le Mariottat in Agen, a nineteenth century mansion serving a Michelin starred seasonal French menu. Offering both a tasting menu and menu de marché. The freshly baked, warm Madeleine’s and petit fours are worth the visit alone.