When it rains, it pours – Day 6


We awoke to the quiet of being in the middle of the countryside. We shuffled downstairs and decided on foregoing getting ready for the day and just heading out to the market to stock up on our fresh produce and meat for the evening’s meal. The area’s daily market was held in Tocane-St-Apre, just 15 minutes to the south. In this quiet little town, laid out in the town square in front of the church were a host of stalls selling largely vegetables and fruits, but also a few meat, cheese and even foie gras. After perusing our choices, we settled on a meal for dinner and made our way around the market. We picked up a sizable portion of duck breast for dinner to split between the two of us. After looking at the duck product stand and chatting with the lady there, we also snagged a little can of foie gras and something akin to paté. With our gastronomical haul in hand, we headed back to the house. D laid out a brunch of cheese, bread and fresh fruit (which included raspberries, cherries and some of the best strawberries we’ve had in awhile).

After gorging ourselves on some delicious treats, we headed out for the afternoon. We drove along the Dronne river all the way to St-Jean-de-Cole, which was reputed to be one of the prettiest villages in France. The town seemed to take that status very seriously, as there was an abundance of fresh and potted flowers at every house and even around the church. The town had a lovely little church and chateau, though our consensus was it probably wasn’t truly the prettiest village in France. From there, we drove east to the town of Thiviers, which is renowned for its foie gras industry. So much so they actually have a museum devoted to the subject. Unable to pass up the opportunity, we took a wander through the museum, a surprisingly sleek, modern structure built within the confines of an old building, and learned some neat facts about ducks and geese and the process in general.

After Thiviers, we headed southeast to Excideuil. We took a slightly larger road (one that actually had a line dividing the middle) and enjoyed the landscape. When we arrived, we took the scenic route through town and made our way towards the chateau. We popped into a local bar/café for refreshments and watched some horse-racing (actually fairly entertaining). Eventually, we took a walk up the long driveway to see the chateau and its ramparts, which D declared he wants to have at some point, and found there actually wasn’t too much to see, as it was a fairly small fortress. Happy to head homeward, we drove off in the general direction of Perigueux in search of a supermarket for buy the remainder of our supplies. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything between Excideuil and Perigueux, so we needed to head into town during rush hour. We crawled our way through and eventually made it to Leclerc (what looked to be equivalent to a Wal-Mart). Most notably, we picked up a bottle of genuine champagne to go with our decadent foie gras, as well as some shrimp and saucisson.

Our drive home was relatively quiet; although, thunderclouds moved in, and we were treated to some epic lightning and thunderclaps around us. Once we got home, D set about making dinner while I negotiated with the washing machine to get a load of laundry done. The storm had really kicked up, with high winds and extremely heavy rain, to the point that it harkened back to the monsoons we had in Thailand. Some of the windows and doors started leaking, as water seeped in beneath them, so D started sopping up the water, eventually braving the storm to get the shutters closed. D cooked up some delicious mashed potatoes, with a side of green beans drizzled with balsamic vinegar and walnut oil, and pan fried duck breast with a white wine mushroom cream sauce. It was delicious. The duck tasted superb, such great flavour. Once the clothes were washed, I opted to hang them around the house rather than brave the elements to get to the clothesline in the barn. We ended the evening with a glass of wine and beer and a movie.

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