Monday, 18 October 2010

Randonnée Châtaignes - or - Do they have garlic in England?

Surprises :
How many people were there. About 80 people turned up in the carpark outside the mairie. All french, mostly meeting into groups.
How they didn't stop talking the whole way.
How cold it was when not in the sun.
How promptly we set off.
That we stopped every half hour to let the slow coaches catch up.
That we stopped for chestnuts and coffee in front of a chestnut orchard but nobody said anything about the workings of the orchard - too busy munching chestnuts.

That rosé and grapefruit syrup makes an ok aperitif.
That you might need a soup bowl in a picnic set.
That if it says that all you are going to get is apero, soup, roasted chestnuts, cider, dessert, coffee and wine, that's what you get!

Sat for lunch with a lovely group who had also never been before and didn't know - as the others did - that you needed bread, pate, main course - and a soup bowl. Soup was fine in leftover apero plastic cups but the rest was a bit meagre. The soup was garlic soup and this made the sweet lady look worriedly at us asking if we liked it. (Real, you couldn't possibly, being English, bless her.) She then said in a genuine surprised voice 'il y a d'ail en Angleterre?' After being reassured that we cook very similar things and reeling off a few french dishes like coq au vin, boeuf bourgignon (I can cook it but not spell it!) she seemed reasonably happy but oviously didn't believe it.


  1. It sounds super!
    I like those events.

    There was apparently a bit of a surprise in the town near my first house in France....
    They always organise a 'bernache (new wine, all cloudy) et marrons' day, but it coincided with one of the pensions protest matches and the organisers were overwhelmed by the demand for bernache...though the chestnuts seemed to have held out.

  2. It sounds like a lovely randonee!

    Is it a bit like the 20 questions you get if you're English and order steak tartare? Yes, I KNOW it's raw meat!