Trip Start Jul 05, 2006
19Trip End Jul 26, 2006
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Last night we stayed at a french castle and enjoyed a meal served by a Count and Countess. Yet more serendipity. As we drove into the unassuming driveway, we were greeted by our friendly French host as he waved excitedly from his car, informing us in perfect English, "I am on my way to buy wine, of course, for dinner. My son will welcome you." His son, as it turned out was a 16-year-old who neglected his game of Halo for a few minutes to show us to our room (apparently the video game addiction crosses all cultural boundaries). In this chateau, we were not given to a key to our room, which was hidden in a rabbit's warren of hallway mazes, but our view was truly breathtaking. The perfect corner of relaxation after a day of travel and exhaustion.
After resting for a few hours, we joined our host and a British couple for a pre-dinner drink of Beaujoulais--the wine of the region. We poured our small cups from an unmarked bottle still chilled from the wine cave. As our host invited us into the dining room for dinner (at the oh-so-chic hour of 9:00 pm), we were joined by other guests from Holland. The dinner conversation, as expected, scanned the globe, and was only highlighted by mouth-watering French cooking, compliments of the Countess. Chicken with prunes, capers,and olives, basted in a mouthwatering sauce of herbs and olive oil. A salmon tartar salad with a bare sprinkling of rich balsamic vinegar. A bottomless basket of brown bread passed in never ending circles around the table. A terrine with zucchini picked that evening from the Chateau garden. A cheese course of local cheeses. Topped off by a chilled mousse of chocolate and eggs. Last but not least, I must mention the eight exquisite bottles of Beaujoulais which somehow disappeared into our wine goblets over the course of the evening.
We left the table with our minds and stomachs satisfied, with visions of the soft blankets and pillows awaiting us. From our window in our room, the gardens spread below us in the soft moonlight, and the Chateau's three border collies lounged languidly on the patio. Apparently, even the dogs in France know how to live.