France: Saumur

Day 12  Monday, October 6, 2014

Bring on the Wine

When we arrived in Normandy a dozen days ago, one of the first things we saw was a T-shirt with two people standing barefoot wearing raincoats and rainhats. The label under them said “Naturists (Nudists) in Normandy.” We have been very careful not to write about the weather to avoid jinxing it. We have had marvelous weather. Everyone keeps telling us how lucky we are to have great weather. We had one heavy downpour and that happened when we were inside the restaurant in Cancale on Saturday. The rain stopped before we finished our lunch. Today we had steady rain as we drove from Dinan to our next home. For you map people, we went south through Rennes, then to Angers, and finally to Saumur.

We stopped just outside of Saumur to visit a mushroom farm and museum. We learned more about mushrooms than we thought there was to know. We are in awe of the variety of mushrooms and methods that are used to grow each type of mushroom. The mushroom caves (and the wine caves as well) are carved out of the tufa hills. The tufa is the stone used to build the beautiful chateaus in this area.

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We are staying at La Grande Maison, which is in the middle of a vineyard sort of near Les Puys-Notre-Dame.


The B&B is a 17th century nobleman’s home. The nobleman owned about two thousand acres in the area. They know this because of the number of pigeon roosts in the pigeonniere. Go figure.

The pigeonniere is the round building.

No streetlights here because there are no streets. Our hosts have three English Spaniels who have really enjoyed the homemade dog treats I brought for them from the prairie. By the time we finished petting the dogs, enjoying a cup of hot tea, and unpacking, the rain had stopped and allowed us some walking time. We really are completely surrounded by vineyards. Just over the hill from our place, there were folks harvesting with large machines and by hand as the sun was setting. Not a bad image.


Our hosts served a lovely dinner this evening. It began with a goat cheese soufflé that was heavenly for we lovers of goat cheese.


The main course was chicken and vegetables with a wine sauce, of course.


Then there was a cheese course with local cheeses. This area is pretty famous for goat cheese.


Dessert was an apple tart (tarte tatin) with crème fraiche. Each course was served with some wine from the region—most from within walking distance—and our host told a story about each. After dinner, we shared some of the Calvados cream from Normandy that we have with us.

We’ll be up bright and early tomorrow for wine touring!

I wonder what we’ll dream about tonight?

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