At Chateau La Thuiliere, a Cooking Lesson with Foie Gras
This morning I took one of France’s regional trains out to Mussidan, on a hot sunny day. The station was busy, but most of the people were boarding the TGVs heading to Paris, not as many taking my line inward that ends up in Lyon. Few things can compare to the joy I feel boarding an uncrowded train, by myself, heading off for an adventure in the countryside. When I got to Mussidan, Jordi of La Thuiliere picked me up, and in about 20 minutes were drove up the long winding drive with the chateau sitting front on and center on top of a small hill.
The place was built in 1889, the gift from a rich local man to his new bride. They lived here for ten years together until he died, then she remained in seclusion, using only one or two first floor rooms for the rest of her life. Then the house was used only for parties and weddings, and then sat for 40 years boarded up. Jordi and Eduoard bought the place three years ago, and renovated it extensively, adding electricity and plumbing and creating nine nice and spacious guest rooms. “People feel like the charm of this old house, combined with the modern touches,” Jordi said. They offer cooking lessons in the off season, and change chefs every eight weeks or so, just to keep it all new and different for guests who come back again.
As we walked the grounds, Eduard showed me the swimming pool which in just a few weeks will be full of water. On a hot day like this, I could have jumped in right then and there, but we have a foie gras producer to meet and a dish to prepare using salt to cook it.
Tomorrow we will join a local farmer at a market, she specializes in strawberries which are a favorite in these parts. I’m going to squeeze in some time on a bike and hope to get in some kayaking on a small river nearby too. A busy agenda that all sounds pretty good to me!