The 5:2 diet is out of the window for the next couple of weeks. Just as well – we have felt truly welcomed back during our first two days in Castillonnès. There has been plenty of wine and food.
We stopped off in Bergerac on our way from Poitiers on Saturday. There we did a bit of shopping and had lunch at the Bistro Dagobert. The atmosphere was buzzy and the food delicious. I enjoyed a cassolette de Saint Jacques, mopped up with some crusty bread.
After we got to the house and had unpacked, we went round to our friend Jenny’s for dinner. She’s been following the blog all year, so she deliberately cooked a couple of traditional dishes for us.
We started with tourain – a garlic soup – which was wonderful. It was unlike any I’ve had before. As well as the garlic you’d expect, it was packed with onion, and looked like a pale version of the classic onion soup.
She followed it with one of the best casseroles I have ever tasted: daube de taureau, or bullfighter’s beef stew. It was a recipe she had found in Rick Stein’s French Odyssey. Traditionally, this dish from the Camargue is made with beef from a breed of bull that is reared for bullfighting.
“Traditionally, this dish from the Camargue is made with beef from a breed of bull that is reared for bullfighting”
A rich red wine, cinnamon, cloves and Provençal herbs helped to make the dish really special. She served it with macaronade – a sort of macaroni bake made using liquid from the stew. They worked beautifully together.
Yesterday we went to friends Alison and Barbara’s for a lunch where there were around a dozen of us. The mother and daughter live in a big house (pictured) on the outskirts of the village. The skies were so clear and blue and the air crisp, so we decided to walk.
Even those 40 minutes of exercise between our house and theirs won’t have worked off the food we’ve consumed since being here. But hey, we’re on holiday, so who cares? Dieting can wait.