A week in a French gite kitchen

Old Mar 20th, 2023, 06:47 AM
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A week in a French gite kitchen

Somebody brought up the old thread on what to cook in France but an hour or so later, itís gone. Thatís a shame, since this is probably my all-time favorite thread on Fodorís France. I got so many good ideas from it and re-reading it was a thrill.

I never wrote a report about our cooking experience. Needless to say, our spring 2020 trip didn't happen but in the fall of 2021 we were able to reserve the same gite and it was wonderful, well-equipped in every room including the kitchen. It had a big fridge with a big freezer, a rolling pin, strainer, casserole dishes, pots and pans with clip-on handles and lids, hotpads, thick tea towels (not like my old tired ones at home) and a good knife which I was able to use on everything I needed to cut.

My biggest challenge wasnít translating centigrade to fahrenheit, but figuring out the temperature range I wanted in the oven. I thought I'd be able to set the oven at the centigrade equivalent to 350F, but that wasn't how the oven was set up. I consulted the stove manual and found it hard to follow, so I just winged it.

We shopped at Leclerc and a permaculture market that had flavorful grape tomatoes. Over the week I cooked a pintade and magret de canard, made salads with sucrine, boiled potatoes, washed grape tomatoes, and opened several jars of pork rillettes. I made soup with the leftovers and frankly they were better the second time around. I cooked the leftover potatoes in duck fat. My biggest success was an apple tart which we took to lunch at a friendís.

We ate out once or twice and I got advice from the friendly chef at one place. He told me the advice I had gotten from the butcher at Leclerc was wrong, which by then I knew.

I had wanted to host local friends but I wasnít up to much that week. The gite had bikes to borrow and I couldnít do that. This was a special gite and Iím glad we had the experience once, but we like the contact with French guests that we get at a B&B, and since we didnít invite friends over it was a quiet week.

Re-reading the old thread reminded me to add a few items to my shopping list for our next trip. Thanks to everyone who contributed their ideas on that thread. Anticipation is always a big part of my travel experience, and all the advice helped me to anticipate big time.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 09:03 AM
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What a great idea for a thread, Coquelicot, and what a shame the old one disappeared.

My experiences of cooking in gites is mixed - the first one we rented near Sarlat was at least adequate and I too cooked pintade, which must have been bigger than the ones we get here as my recollection is that it lasted at least 2 good meals for the then 4 of us. Or perhaps our then rather younger children [14 and 11] didn't eat as much as they do now, some 20 years later when we are only 3. The second was appallingly ill-equipped [and not just in the kitchen] with no oven except a most bizarre camping type machine and a two plate hot plate, and really we should have left, but we stuck it out for the week, buying in breakfasts [which we would have done anyway] and eating out the rest of the time. So I'm sad to say that I am not much help to you!

I can agree about staying in French BnBs - we stayed in a great one in Paimpol when we went to the Shanty Festival there. It was very convivial sharing a table with the rest of the guests at breakfast, though we were quite surprised that though they were pretty well educated none of them spoke any english to speak of; our french was stretched to its maximum and then some.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 09:25 AM
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The thread Coquelicot references was topped by a newcomer who had posted to several very old threads. One was from 2000. The newer thread was from 2020 and the post topping it was deleted along with the others. Here is a link to the earlier thread for those who wish to read it:

Best things to cook in France?
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 09:51 AM
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Thanks for the link, Mod1. Would you please also delete my earlier thread with the same name as this one? And also one that I posted to the Europe board without tags? I tried using the Edit function but there was no choice to delete my post.

Annnhig, I think it's because of your suggestion on that 2020 thread that I cooked pintade. I think I undercooked it. That oven and I didn't bond.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Coquelicot View Post
Thanks for the link, Mod1. Would you please also delete my earlier thread with the same name as this one? And also one that I posted to the Europe board without tags? I tried using the Edit function but there was no choice to delete my post..
We have deleted your duplicate thread. An FYI for you and others, if one forgets to include a tag, instead of starting a new thread, you can click the orange triangle and ask the Moderators to add country and/or Trip Report tag(s).
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 02:08 PM
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It was great to read about your experiences, Coquelicot and you sound a very proficient cook. I cooked pintade once and it is one of the things we want to try again as we do not get it here, at least where we live. I am looking forward to the new season asparagus and cooking some white asparagus again.

You know us and how much we enjoy staying in gites and cooking ' at home '. We leave a month tomorrow ( Wed ), so I enjoyed reading the old discussion and refreshing my memories. The length of time for which we travel makes eating out every day not financially viable for us, so staying in gites suits us very well. I think our first week will be spent rediscovering our favourites after four and a half years.

This trip we have two nights before we start at our first gite in the Dordogne. Our first night will be in a hotel as you know, and our second in a chambre d'hote in a village we stayed in in 2012. This will be a first for us. We stayed in B&Bs in the UK several years ago, but never in France. It would not suit you, I think, as breakfast is not communal, but is in the form of a breakfast basket brought to your room. The room also has a fridge which means, hopefully, we can freeze some bottles of water for our cool bag and buy some picnic supplies for the drive the next day.

Your French sounds to be considerably better than mine. Mine is adequate and I manage in shops - I coped with getting two flat tyres fixed last trip and asking the man to re-configure the computer in the car. However did I do that!!! Because we often stay in less well known regions, we have not had many owners who speak English. I find my French is usually better than the English of our gite owners, so we manage on our arrival and the explanations. I often wonder if they are apprehensive when they see they have Australians coming and they do not speak English. As P is limited to polite phrases, the conversation all falls to me and I find it exhausting after a while. I know the more I do it the better I would get, and I do enjoy the small exchanges we have, but once it gets more detailed I am lost.

When are you off to France again?
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 04:15 PM
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Rhon, I will have to live vicariously through you for a while. E is hoping for an airfare sale but so far no luck.

Re-reading this thread, I was impressed again at how ambitious your gite cooking is. It doesn't sound like a tricky oven would give you any problems!

I hope you like your B&B experience. It won't persuade you to give up gites, but you might have the occasional gap between gites and a nice B&B might come in handy.

Are you 90% packed? Do you have all your gites lined up? Is your first meal planned? I hope so since it's only a month away!
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 05:41 PM
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Hi Coquelicot an rhon.
I also am planning to do a bit of cooking when we are in apartments. It will be only basic though as I am not that good. I have to do a roast chicken as it tastes so beautiful in France and I will do a few other chicken recipes. We will also cook red meat at home as I only eat it well done. I do love buying prepared food from a traiteur and heating it up I do call that cooking🤣
Only 28 more sleeps to go till we depart. Can’t wait and it seems so long ago that we were in France. Looking forward to reading the trip reports.
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rhon View Post

Your French sounds to be considerably better than mine. Mine is adequate and I manage in shops - I coped with getting two flat tyres fixed last trip and asking the man to re-configure the computer in the car. However did I do that!!! Because we often stay in less well known regions, we have not had many owners who speak English. I find my French is usually better than the English of our gite owners, so we manage on our arrival and the explanations. I often wonder if they are apprehensive when they see they have Australians coming and they do not speak English. As P is limited to polite phrases, the conversation all falls to me and I find it exhausting after a while. I know the more I do it the better I would get, and I do enjoy the small exchanges we have, but once it gets more detailed I am lost.
Rhon, I like that you try. I think it's really important to meet people halfway with language so full marks to you!!!

Lavandula
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Old Mar 20th, 2023, 09:40 PM
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Cheska, you must leave around when we do. We leave on April 19 and arrive on April 20 in Lyon. The paperwork for our car arrived today, so happy that is another thing to cross off the list. Our gites are all booked, and our first two nights. We are looking forward to the drives from Lyon to our first base in the Dordogne. I will post our itinerary closer to the time.

No, not quite packed yet. We have started putting stuff out on the spare bed, but will pack the day before we fly out as we are staying with our daughter in Brisbane that night.

Magret de canard will be one of the first things we cook. I always like to wait and see what the kitchen is like before I plan too much. They have mostly been good. I did have one dodgy oven which only had one temperature and that was full on. Everything cooked twice as fast and I could hardly touch the oven handle. I used it once. I agree with Cheska about the chicken and we have it often. I look for the Rouge label if possible.

Lavandula, I did French to Year 12 back in the dark ages, and I have been surprised how much is filed away in this old brain.

Keep hoping for a flight sale, Coquelicot, or just do it anyway. After the last few years and everything that is happening in the world, we need to take every opportunity to do things. Fortunately our children are happy for us to spend their inheritance. Or they say they are!!

Happy travels.
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 02:17 AM
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rhon our daughter keeps saying she doesn’t want any inheritance. Her only wish is that she doesn’t have to clean out the garage 🤣
We depart April 18th arrive in Paris for 5 days then Tours for a month. I can’t believe I’m going to finally see a chateau or 5.
Then to Auray for another month and explore around that area.
Then Mont St Michel, Dinan Caen Fecamp Rouen Lille Amiens Versailles and back to Paris arriving back in Aus July 19th. The shortest time is two two days in Mont St Michel even though it isn’t on the island itself.

We have lashed out in Versailles and staying in a lovely place. We only want to see the gardens at the Palace. Probably come home with all these wonderful ideas for the garden.

This will be our last trip to France as my husband would like to explore Spain a bit more, so I am making the most of it.
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 12:10 PM
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Such a nice thread! I look forward to your reports. Enjoy your travels 👍
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 02:18 PM
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<<Annnhig, I think it's because of your suggestion on that 2020 thread that I cooked pintade. I think I undercooked it. That oven and I didn't bond.>>

oh no! so now I feel guilty.
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 02:23 PM
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Annhig, don't feel guilty. I had fun and we got two or three good meals out of the bird.
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 02:33 PM
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That sounds interesting, Cheska. We spent a week in the Loire Valley in 2006 and 2014, but have not been to Tours, and a week in Brittany in 2012, but we seem to end up more in the bottom half of France which we really like. I do feel we have neglected the more northern parts but that is what happens. Your longer stays will be very nice and give plenty of time to discover the regions.

We are saying this is our last trip to France, but P said something about next time the other day, so I am not going to argue about that. We will see how this trip goes. We have just watched the cycle race, Paris- Nice, and we are going to re watch a couple of Les Carnets de Julie in areas we are visiting. Have any Australians been watching Michel Roux's French Country Cooking on SBS ? It is centred around Provence but do see some lovely scenery and some nice food.

We had another booster the other day and are waiting for flu shots, hopefully around Easter.

Bon voyage everyone who is travelling soon.
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rhon View Post
We are saying this is our last trip to France, but P said something about next time the other day, so I am not going to argue about that. We will see how this trip goes. We have just watched the cycle race, Paris- Nice, and we are going to re watch a couple of Les Carnets de Julie in areas we are visiting. Have any Australians been watching Michel Roux's French Country Cooking on SBS ? It is centred around Provence but do see some lovely scenery and some nice food.

.
Yes! We love Michel Roux, he is so calm and balanced but gets across his cooking so well. But he does seem to use a lot of butter in his jambon beurre - like coronary city!

Lavandula
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 06:14 PM
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Cheska

I'm so glad to see you're going back to France. Have a brilliant time.

I was a keen follower of your earlier trip report, and sad (for you AND me) when you had to return home. Some of your posts about the south prompted me to spend a week in Nimes last year.

Rhon - have a wonderful time. I'm not travelling this year so I'm green with envy.

For both of you, I look forward to the trip reports. Australians do tell good travel yarns!
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Old Mar 21st, 2023, 08:49 PM
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So lovely to hear from all the familiar names that offered a lot of support in 2019/2020. It did take me quite awhile to recover from the way our trip ended and I felt that this forum was one of the very few places I could be sad and people didn’t tell me to get over it.
I hope everyone has a fabulous trip.
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Old May 15th, 2023, 07:58 AM
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Cheska, we are currently cleaning out my late mother's garage and the crafts room and the living room and the basement and more. It is exhausting. She lived directly across the road from us (I know I know) so at least we can limp home afterwards.
Coq, we simply do not even look at rentals anywhere nowadays, unless they have a decent kitchen. Our recent rental on Ischia had no oven but was still a splurge. We made do, but are normally pickier than that.
And your 'second time round' soup sounds delicious.

We are likely heading to Brittany for the first time on our fall trip. Currently researching the various gites et comme ca in such places as Vannes, Sauzon, Dinan and Ploum.

I am done. the bruyere
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Old May 15th, 2023, 03:37 PM
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Coquelicot, this is so nice! Thank you for sharing.

In high school, I had 3 years of French; then 2 years in college. I could discuss Voltaire and Rabelais in France but that was about it. Actually living as you, Cheska, rhon and others do makes using and learning the language so much better.



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