As world travelers and photographers, Henderson Productions joined forces with our friends from Poggio Amorelli B&B to explore culinary France.  Master Chef contestant Angela Perkins contacted chefs in five distinct regions and asked us to design and document the trip.   We knew it would be a journey for our senses: to see, taste, smell and touch France.   Above all else, we aimed to enjoy the adventure.  We are delighted to report those goals were met and more.   Along the way many chefs gave us permission to include their recipes to help you recreate some of our experiences.  We invite you to appreciate the bounty of their gifts.           Bon Appetit et Bon Voyage.

The mountain cottage gave us time for laundry

Escaping the confines of the highway we set off on a half hour of twisty mountain roads up and down a couple valleys to our ancient mountain condo in a tiny nameless village perched above a lush valley with a running river and sheep grazing in the meadows.    No kidding.   We had fallen into every fairy tale hunters vision you might imagine.

Our hostess, Sarah, is another Brit transplanted to clearly a simpler life here in the mountains.   She warned us it was “boiling hot” before our arrival and greeted us in a light tee and linen hip huggers before breezily heading down “into the valley because a rare visiting Lama was hosting meditation tonight and tomorrow.”  We have almost concluded this little assemblage of buildings is a commune or at the very least an opportunity to completely drop out as the cast of characters appears more ragged than not.    We shall investigate a little further in the light of day!

A herd in our way

Meanwhile, Sarah has asked us to use the internet on a timer because the waves interfere with her aura.    LOVE IT.

Angela rustled up a simple dinner of everything we brought with us – cheese and pork chops and caramelized onion with a bottle of wine before surrounding ourselves with laundry drying near the wood stove.

Cheese tasting in the Pyrenees

Mid-morning, we set off for Andorra with a slight delay for the goat heard at our front door.   Aha.   That explains the smell in the back bedroom.    We pulled down the mountain and into the village of Castle Durban (no castle – go figure) to catch the morning bread right out of the oven and followed a small sign for ‘fromage’ up the other side of the hill into a farmyard with fanciful metal sculptures and a full barn of cows being milked while the farm wife pitched hay to their waiting mouths.

The farm fresh cheese storage

She paused long enough to offer us a taste of two cheeses, a quick peak at the cheese cellar and our inevitable purchase.   Back to work for her and to the road for us.