Friday, 6 December 2013

A very French Christmas...

Your host Didier Billes, at the French estate Castelnau des Fieumarcon, tells us a little about what to expect to eat on Christmas day in France......

Didier is the host at Castelnau des Fieumarcon!

"Dry white wine and oysters to begin the Christmas meal is probably still a classic, and the main course is often roast poultry, like a turkey of chapon.

The trick in France is opulence. Loads of starters, middle courses, fish, meat and plenty of desserts too.

Basically, death by eating!

Oh yes, and the most important thing, the meal normally starts at midnight and finishes four or five hours later!

It's an experience. And to finish, more champagne instead of coffee!"

I think we could learn something from this menu!

Tutor profile: Anneli Faiers - our Cooking Tutor in France!

Anneli Faiers is our charming Cooking tutor, who lives in Gascony in S.W France near our the beautiful estate of Castelnau des Fieumarcon, where we invite our clients to experience, not only cooking holidays, but also painting, photography, walking and singing holidays. It's a very special place, and unique in that it is privately owned by eccentric and allusive Federique - the only privately owned, walled village of it's kind. Within the walls are seventeen lovingly restored cottages, where you can relax and lie on your comfortable bed looking out across the delicious views of the surrounding hills, often referred to as the 'Tuscany of France' but should not be compared, as they are stunning in their own right. Anneli loves where she lives, and has a deep passion for cooking with local produce. Read on to find out more....

Castelnau des Fieumarcon

Where do you live? And what do you love about it?
Larroque-Saint-Sernin - a tiny village with less than 600 habitants in Gascony, S.W France. My house is called is over 300 years old and is surrounded by 360 degrees of rolling fields taking 'rural' to a new level!

I love the space and the beautiful countryside - the fact that my house is surrounded by sunflowers during the Summer. The climate, the food and the pace of life are all wonderful here and perfect for me and my family.

Having come from a small flat in London where life was all about space saving and rushing about, I have fallen in love with this part of France and all it's history and charms.

What is your special skill?
Cooking and feeding people is my special skill! I have embraced Gascon traditions and the cuisine of this region, and I try to honour it and celebrate it. I develop my own recipes and write a food blog

Why do you love being a tutor for Authentic Adventures?
It's great fun meeting people who fall in love with Gascony as much as I do. I feel lucky to be able to share my passion for food....eating and drinking brings people together and should be celebrated!

What's your top tip for future clients on an Authentic Adventures trip?
Be hungry and thirsty and get stuck in!

Holiday tales.....funny anecdotes, weird moments!
During a cooking session where I was discussing all the unusual and interesting bits of duck that might not be well known in the UK (!) I was in the middle of talking about 'Gesiers' and most of the group started to say they would not fancy eating them, just at that moment, I produced a plate of them to taste! Their faces were a picture!

Tell us something we don't already know about you...!
I am half Swedish - and I embrace my Scandanavian side happily!

Have you got anything special up your sleeve for your next holiday?
Just really delicious food :)

Where would you like to travel next, that Authentic Adventures don't currently visit?
I would love to visit Japan.....

If you weren't doing what you currently do - what other job would you like to do?
I would like to work for the Michelin Guide, awarding stars to the worlds best restaurants whilst eating my way around them all!

Join Anneli on one of her wonderful 'culinary experience' weeks at Castelnau des Fieumarcon - with the help of your host Didier Billes, she will make you feel at home and you will cook and taste some wonderful food, visit wineries, local markets and explore the beautiful landscape around the estate - fresh figs, rosemary, pears and all!

19th September (3 nights) or 23rd October (4 nights)

Please do feel free to contact us in the office any time for an informal chat about this holiday:
01453 823328.