Saturday, July 18, 2015

It's Not Really All About The Food.

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: April 22, 2015

As I walked across the square to the boulangerie, I was amazed yet again by how beautiful the weather was. I feel blessed in so many ways; the wonderful hospitality of Darcy and Mathieu, the sparkling spring days flowing one into the other, time spent with friends whom I now consider family. I was becoming more relaxed and at home with each passing day. My dreams have come true over and over and my wish is for more of my loved ones in America to experience that magic. 

Another breakfast treat in Orléans, France.

Darcy and I spent the morning on household chores and email while Mathieu was at work. We were enjoying our time together even while performing those mundane tasks. Just before noon, Darcy prepared Bento boxes so that we could have lunch somewhere outside on this glorious day. She used the leftover Bulgogi and rice, plus many other tasty dibs and dabs. We made our way to Parc Pasteur, not far from the train station. It was lovely in the park, which was beautifully landscaped and peaceful. There is a boating pond, a little train (made in Wichita!) and a puppet theater. We found a shaded bench where we ate lunch while sipping on raspberry beer. 

Flowers in Parc Pasteur, Orléans.

After lunch, we made our way to the shopping district downtown, where Darcy introduced me to more of her favorite shops. I had to force myself to turn away from some of the items I fell in love with, as they were just too bulky or heavy to toss into a suitcase. One item that I really wanted proved to be a bit elusive. I was looking for a new eyeglass case, one that had a pretty design. We found only plain, solid colored cases. I had all but given up, when my daughter came across a pretty one tucked back on a shelf at Eureka. It had a world map on it in bright pastels and was just perfect! I knew I would remember this day every time I used it. 

When Mathieu came home from work, we piled into the car for a special treat. Darcy and Mathieu had been wanting to introduce me to a restaurant they had recently discovered in a nearby village. We stopped to pick up a friend, Sylvia, and were soon on our way to La Ferté-Saint-Aubin where the restaurant, La Sauvagine, is located. The town itself was charming and has a Chateau we would love to visit. It is known as the Castle of Games and has many antique, hands-on toys and games that appeal to all ages. 

La Sauvagine was just a few blocks past the beautiful Chateau. Our meal was wonderful. We started with cocktails and slices of baguette which we slathered with a pungent, herbed , sheep's milk cheese. For a starter, I had chosen a scallop crumble, which was served bubbling hot in an earthenware dish. The tender scallops, tiny shrimp, and mussels were topped with buttery breadcrumbs; it was scrumptious. Sylvia had ordered a dish that consisted of escargot in a garlicky cream sauce served over puff pastry. When Sylvia learned that Darcy and I had never tried snails, she picked up her fork, stabbed a morsel, and told us that there would never be a better time to try them. And so we did. And they were very tasty. Sylvia was such fun. She is Italian and has lived in Ireland and speaks with a charming accent.

A tasty scallop crumble at La Sauvagine.

My main course was a mild fish served with sauce beurre blanc, which was simply amazing. It was accompanied by tiny, steamed potatoes, creamy mashed carrots, and haricots vert. Everything was perfectly cooked and delicious. We lingered long over the delectable meal and the conversation flowed like wine. I felt as youthful as my companions and enjoyed every moment. In France, unlike the U.S., restaurant patrons are encouraged to remain as long as they like. There is no pressure to "turn tables" as is often the case in America. What a lovely way to dine.

Dinner at La Sauvagine, La Ferté-Saint-Aubin, France.

Our evening ended with four enticing desserts that we passed around to share. The tarte tatin, chocolate mousse, profiteroles, and chocolate tart were all fabulous and I would have been hard-pressed to name a favorite. That night, I added La Sauvagine to my list of places that my husband must try! 


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