Often, fresh nutritional food is spoken of as "fresh from the garden". I want to bring to your attention that there's food in "them there woods". On one of our trips to France, I have a fond memory of going out looking for chestnut trees on the side of the road with my husband, Chef Roland, and his parents. It was a wonderful experience for all of us and a great reason to go for an outing. They are in their late 80's and you could tell they really enjoyed being our guides to a choice spot and that they were able to "pass down" part of their food culture to me, their American daughter-in-law who had never harvested chestnuts in the wild. It was beyond a Kodak moment. After we located and gleened the chestnuts from a quaint country French farm road, we took them home where Chef Roland's mother cooked up a scrumptious chestnut soup for part of our evening meal. That experience beat out anything else France had to offer! Since I've not been diligent to post anything for the holidays, I will make this my contribution because ,really, it's about family and memories. So, I've posted a link for a nice chestnut recipe. Unfortunately, they are a little expensive in the store. However, you can contact the Missouri Department of conservation and purchase a bundle of chestnut trees for a nominal cost and start your own chestnut orchard!!
Merry Christmas & Bon Appetit!
I soooooooooo apologize for neglecting our blog for so long. Life just keeps getting in the way of things I want and need to get done. That's my excuse....it's the best I have.
I just came across this clip and, SERIOUSLY, it tells the story of WHY France is so well known for their fine cuisine and their outstanding reputation in Food Culture.
We actually visited one of these schools that has a similar program in a small community and it was incredible how the program is managed and the food presented. It takes school lunches and school cafeteria workers to a whole new level!!
Enjoy! Bon Apetit!
This week went by way too quickly! Hopefully, I will have my new post up tomorrow. In the meantime, check out the new pics I've uploaded from our culinary tour, A Taste of Le Berry that we took in May of 2010. We are working on an itenerary for 2011 and we would love to have you visit with us for a week in Le Berry, the central region of France, Chef Roland's home country.
As Roland is from the Berry, a region made up of two departments (his being the Indre), I thought I would post a link that gives some idea of the types of food that can be found in this area. During our Culinary Tour, A Taste of Le Berry, we offer a week-long package that incorporates daily excursions to discover the delightful villages, markets, ancient chateaux, beautiful countryside, farms, gardens, cafes and restaurants. Staying in a farm-converted gite, Chef Roland offers an instructional opportunity for all participants to prepare their own family style meal. If you would like information regarding our next Culinary Tour, A Taste of Le Berry, please contact us at email@example.com or by the contact page on this web site.
I hope you find something on the link to stimulate your tastebuds and that gives you a desire to take A Taste of Le Berry as a guest on our future tour to Central France.
This is where I truely fell in love with France! The area is so rural, so naturally beautiful and a wonderful region to escape into the history of another time to get the feel of what living in Medieval France could be like.
Trust me, there are some incredibly marvelous chateau(castles) in France reflecting the various periods of French history. One of the most visited and, I believe, significant is the Chateau de Sarzay. It might not be grandly preserved and maintained but the story of one man's love and sacrifice to restore this important piece of French history is incredible!
It's not a very commercial enterprise though the present owners do have a bed & breakfast that operates on the grounds. More than anything, it's just a fabulous place to "just be" in the quiet countryside of LeBerry region. The town of Sarzay, which is walking distance, offers several restaurant/tavern/cafes and often hosts a variety of events such as horse shows, antique & brocante sells, and antique car shows. In the surrounding area you can find fishing, canoeing and other gites and B&B's, as well as hiking trails and historic landmarks. You will not see gigantic billboards or almost any signage but there are many things to see and do, tucked away to blend into the beautiful countryside.
I'm absolutely in love with Sarzay and the surrounding area and before Roland and I started Chef Roland Enterprises, I told him I dreamt of the day that we would return! When we took our first culinary tour, A Taste of Le Berry, we were fortunate to find a local gite (converted farm) that could house all of our tour guests and provide an excellent kitchen and dining area for us to prepare our own French home-style meals in the evenings!
I would like to introduce you to Chateau de Sarzay and the town of Sarzay:
The fantastic story of the sacrifice and commitment of the present owners:
If you love beauty, art, architecture, history, France has much to "gobble up" and is truly a feast for the eyes! My photos do not do justice to the fantastic chateaux that we had the opportunity to visit during our culinary tour, A Taste of Le Berry 2010. Hopefully, I will have my photos posted in the near future. (I am presently in Texas helping my parents move to Missouri.)
The recent movie Eat, Pray, Love is definately a wonderful example of what a personal experience of another culture can bring into your life. Traveling, experiencing the lives of other people and learning of a rich cultural heritage by immersing yourself always has its rewards.
We hope you will enjoy the various articles that are posted to introduce you to the Central Region of France, particularly Le Berry, and that you will consider the wonderful opportunies to Eat, Pray, Love while participating with us, Chef Roland Parny & Elaine Parny, on our culinary tour, A Taste of Le Berry-2011.
I am quite new at learning how to maintain our website and it's accompanying blog. Hopefully, I will get more photos posted of our recent tour, A Taste of Le Berry - 2010. Even with that, I thought it would be fun to post a site that I think offers alot of good information to get you acquainted with Le Berry Region in France.
In our busy, stress-filled lives, it's becoming more and more appealing to have that special time in our lives where we "just do nothing", at least not anything that we HAVE TO DO. That's really why I love our home in the country so much. Even in the midst of everything on the "to do list", I have the opportunity to stand still and just listen to the birds or take a little walk in nature to enjoy all the plants that surround our home. For me, those special moments of quiet and nature are what reenergize "my battery". When I began to visit Le Berry with Roland, I instantly fell in love with the peaceful atmosphere of the villages and towns.
Walking is very common in the villages and towns and often you see men and women, of all ages, traveling by bicycle. The French enjoy being outdoors and it's a natural part of their way of life. I love the shopping trips whether it's the daily stroll to acquire the fresh bread, the weekly visit to the traveling markets as they come to town, or just an evening out to get fresh air.
Almost everywhere you look while traveling in France, you will find every inch of space gardened in some fashion. And, many towns have particular areas, usually close to a stream or river, where they rent or sell garden plots. There you will find many beautiful private gardens that are lovingly maintained by the residents of that town where they grow beautiful flowers and trees in addition to their vegetable/herb patch that is the source of fresh fruits/vegetables and herbs that make it to their dinning tables. These gardens are a work of love and part of the quiet "therapy" that is the LeBerry experience.
As you explore the site I've posted to introduce you to LeBerry, let your imagination take you there, walking the quaint streets, discovering architecture and art that spans Roman to Renaissance France and delighting in the rich culinary history presented in the local cafes and restaurants. Enjoy!
When Roland and I met, I was one of those people who opened the box or can and warmed up the family meal. After our marriage in 2005, I truely began to appreciate what food is really about, not only that it can taste very good, and be nutritious, but that it can be a celebration of who you are and the people that you share it with.