Good food and good company

Trip Start Dec 06, 2009
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Trip End Feb 05, 2010


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Where I stayed
Chantal and Didier's house

Flag of France  , Pays de la Loire,
Monday, January 25, 2010

Daniel:

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a great Australia day and I know some of you took a long weekend.

I woke up with a slight headache for some reason....but it was time to leave Brussels so we rushed around getting breakfast and some last minute Belgium chocolate.  At the train station we were surprised by how expensive the train tickets were.  We found out that it would have been a lot cheaper if we booked them the day before which for us has so far not been the case.  Every other country if you bought tickets on the day or even one week before they would be the same price.  Anyway something for us to watch out for!  We caught a train to Paris Noord station and then had to take the metro to Monteparnasse where we boarded another train to Angers in the north-west of France.  Why would we go there you might ask?  Well when my brother Nick was younger he lived in France for a year with a family in Le Marillais which is near Angers.  I have visited the family before around 7 years ago and they welcomed Ly and I into their home once again.

Chantal picked us up from the train station in Angers and drove us back to their home in the small village of Le Marillais.  It's a beautiful part of France with rolling green countryside, the scenic Loire valley and river (the longest in France) and old castles everywhere you look.

The first thing we noticed as we pulled up to the house was a massive St Benard that was half the size of the car.  He is appropriately named Jumbo and understands both French and English.  It's sad that a dog is more bilingual than us! Ly who normally loves dogs was definately intimadated by this one. Its not hard to see why when you have a dog the size of a pony hurtling towards you. We must admit though Jumbo is well behaved and a very gentle soul. He listens to both Chantal and Didier and follows their commands.

Once inside Didier was there to greet us with his usual happy demeanor.  Didier is a big tease and cracks jokes constantly. He thinks he is a comedic version of George Clooney given his salt and pepper hair we think!  They have a fire place which was going and the house was very warm and cosy. Ly had her backside firmly planted in front of the fire with a hot cup of tea and I had a beer. It was just wonderful to unwind from the travels of the day.  Chantal and Didier have very longstanding close friends Jaque and Michelle who I had met before in France and Australia who came around to join us for dinner. 

We started the meal with an apertif which consisted of a glass of Champagne and foie gras on brioche sliced bread.  Dinner was raclette which Ly and I just love.  Basically you have a small machine in the centre of the table with individual trays.  You grab a slice of the raclette cheese, put it in your tray and then into the machine.  The machine is essentially a grill which melts the cheese.  While the cheese is melting you load up your plate with pickles, cured meats, potatoes, egg and mushrooms.  When the cheese has melted you tip your tray of cheese onto the food and away you go!  There are different cheeses including goats cheese and it is too easy to overeat because it is all just so good. 

For dessert we had Galette des Rois.  This is a cake that is served in France during January and is made using a flaky pastry and almonds.  Somewhere inside the cake is placed a small figurine made of porceline.  Whoever gets the piece with the figure is crowned king with a crown that comes with the cake.  That person must then supply the next cake!  Chantal also made a cream and apple cider dessert to go with the cake.  By then we were so full that we could barely get to bed.  It was a great meal with great people and we spent the whole night with our sides bursting with food and laughter.

We both slept like rocks.

Daniel + Ly
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