Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day in Sarlande

J’ai arrivé! I tumbled into Paris a few moons ago (counting time by nights and days is useless, given the time difference), and the trip was uneventful and full of packaged sandwiches and bad coffee. I will save you most of the details except for the flight from Dublin to Paris during which I met two young, pleasant Parisians who were patient with me as I practiced my French with them; they also suggested I visit downtown Paris (specifically, Luxembourg park) during my five hours of down-time at the airport. My first non-airport meal was a Big Mac. Isn’t it ironic. I had to use the bathroom but the French McDonald’s dude said I had to buy something first.

Anyway, fast-forward to my arrival to Limoges. I had a very good time surfing on a couch at Kris’ apartment in the city. As soon as I lugged my suitcase through the door I was greeted by Kris and two of his friends, who served me some food, too much wine, and a lovely cheese platter. I forgot to take a picture, but the Camembert and an abbey-style cheese were especially luxurious. The next morning I tossed around a football (the American type) with Kris and a friend, and they then drove me directly to La Ferme de Laubicherie. It really is in the middle of nowhere, and I’m not even sure if Kris found his way back. Somehow I doubt it.

Merde, did I eat well that night. The farm is also an inn of sorts, and a Belgian couple was staying for a night. Gerolf, who is Belgian himself, is the man in charge, my boss, and he is also the brewer (and I former cheesemaker, he tells me). His partner in business, Jacqueline, keeps us big boys in check and is a phenomenal (and humble) cook. That night we were served a zucchini pie, baked carrots, potatoes with bacon, chicken, the most tender and flavorful rabbit meat, a cheese plate with Tomme and Coulommiers, among others, apple cake for dessert, and some top-notch Bergerac wine from a wine-making friend of Gerolf’s. Of course, all the vegetables are from the garden here at the farm, which always makes a meal plus spécial. I polished off the night with a sample of one of Gerolf’s beers, one that I wouldn’t have thought would be my first of his selection. I tried the peach blonde ale, and it was quite full of character. Not my favorite type of beer, but certainly tasty nonetheless.

Today I helped Gerolf in the garden, cutting pumpkins, feeding the rabbits some tough zucchini, picking green beans, and clearing the retired patch of pumpkins for winter. We again hosted a (different) Belgian couple tonight and ate just as well: salad with a hard-boiled egg, scalloped potatoes, a tart zucchini dish (almost like ratatoullie), some mouth-watering lamb, another cheese platter, more Bergerac, and leftover apple cake. I love leftovers.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. Some work and a lot of eating. I will post pictures and more details about the farm soon. Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. Like Garrison Keillor.


  1. Found my first typo! 3rd line of 3rd paragraph.

    Hey, somebody's got to keep you honest, Owen.

  2. That kind of reminds me of my life. You know, I work 8.30 to five and then I come home to my overpriced apartment where sometimes I have peanut butter for dinner, watch 30Rock and then go to bed at ten thirty.