It’s been quite a wonderful ride, these last three months.
Exploring markets, sampling an endless array of cheese, and researching hundreds of cake recipes bears little resemblance to the daily grind of office life. I’ll be the first to admit it. Living in France is more than a bit magical. Sure, we’ve had our share of shrugs and eye rolls, mostly related to bureaucratic paperwork, but that’s all part-and-parcel, here in the land of the Gauloise.
More memorable, and far more worthy of discussion, are the dozens of magical interactions we’ve had with market vendors, clerks at a culinary bookstore in Paris, the farmer who demonstrated the proper way to dig up potatoes, and the bakery proprietress who patiently corrects my (tragic) French each morning (even though “pain tradition” ends with an “n”, it’s still feminine, my friends.)
So my man and I started to dream a little. What if we were to host small group tours here in France? You know, take Americans we already know and like to meet the French people we know and love? Visit an oyster farm, cheese affineur, saunier, loads of boulangeries and pâtisseries (of course,) as well as several of Dan’s winemakers. Give you a little taste of what it’s like to live here, minus the language barrier.
Together we’ve cooked up four trips – two in spring, two in fall, both centered around wine and food. But there’s one I think may be especially interesting to all of you pastry fanatics – La Loire. From tarte tatin to “nougat” cake (spoiler: it bears no resemblance to nougat) to crêmet d’Anjou, the pastry world here is astounding. And it’s little wonder – the Loire Valley is France’s kitchen garden, and as such, sports a jaw-dropping array of agricultural abundance. Each department, each city, and often every village will proudly boast a particular pastry or bread of their very own. This trip also includes a stop at my very favorite covered market – the Marché de Talensac. Here, we’ll shop for raw ingredients, sample kouign amann, and try not to pass out from sensory overload.
And yes, we’ll fit in a few pastry classes. I’m thinking tarte tatin, with the aim of mastering puff pastry, and galette Bourgeuilloise for choux skills. Oh, and let’s make chouquettes while we’re at it!
I’d love to see you on this side of the pond, and would be thrilled to show you a few dozen of the reasons we moved here.