Chateau Sonoma's Letters From France | Part Two
Part two of sharing my journal from Chateau Sonoma's culinary group trip to France!
Rise and Shine! Not a difficult thing when there is the smell of fresh baked croissants wafting in the air. Waking up to French roast coffee and a freshly prepared petit dejeuner is one of the many luxuries of the trip.
We gather downstairs and sit down to break bread and go over the schedule for the day. Today we are off to St. Antonin Noble Val to explore the farmers market, various antique shops and learn some of the historical importance of the village.
St. Antonin Noble Val is where the movie, The 100 Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, was filmed. The town is rich in history and has an incredible farmers market, it is, in my opinion, the most beautiful city in France.
It is a 45 minute scenic drive from Chateau Dumas. Charlotte Clement, who is from Manchester, but said to be more French than the French, is waiting for us on the bus and begins to explain some of the history of the area. She is a walking encyclopedia and speaks of the Cathars of the 13th Century as if it were yesterday. I enjoy every second that I get to spend with Charlotte and I particularly look forward to our very special dinner at her 14th C restored farmhouse.
We arrive at the village and it is bustling with locals and visitors from outlying villages who are in town for the day to buy their weekly supply of food from the farmers market.
There are vendors for every kind of food you can imagine, and they are all farmers from the surrounding area. The payson or “peasants” as they are referred to, come with their live ducklings, rabbits and chickens - taking farm-to-table to a whole other level.
After wandering through the main thoroughfare of town where the farmers market takes place, we explore the rest of the village and peruse brocantes, antique stores and local artisan specialty shops. We make a stop for the required afternoon coffee break, and taking in the sights and sounds of the town square, we make our way back to Chateau Dumas.
Once we are back home, some of the guests wander the beautiful grounds of the Chateau while others take a much-needed nap in their beautifully appointed rooms. It is the perfect ending to an incredible day!