Life in the Loire River Valley

Hello, fellow campers, gourmets, and nature lovers! Gourmet Girl Denise here from the Loire, France. Summer has finally arrived here after a very slow start. It has rained steadily for two months and sadly rotted my 35 tomato plants. Ugg! Thank goodness the stores and markets have lovely, fresh heirloom tomatoes for sale so all is not lost. Here is my latest creation.

Once again, my ratatouille tart, this time in round form. I just don’t get tired of eating this dish. It’s the same recipe as our Cast Iron Ratatouille on page 142 of The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook.¬†I make it with purchased puff pastry for the crust. It’s the perfect summer lunch with a green salad and a glass of crisp Chardonnay or Sancerre.

My garden has produced a ton of haricots and strawberries! This year I planted both yellow and green haricots.

I steam them until al dente then add fresh tarragon and drizzle with good olive oil. Sometimes I saute mushrooms and onion to go with the beans. Yum!

In July a friend, Christine, and I had a birthday so we decided to have lunch here at Le Petit Saint Barnabé. The food was delicious! There was a seafood terrine served with hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and tarragon mayonnaise, haricot verts (of course), foie gras, grilled sausages, and lamb chops, and roasted new potatoes. There were also many wonderful bottles of wine! We stayed at the table for hours, laughing, talking, and eating. Friends from the Moulin Bregeon came over when they could as it is high tourist season for their boutique hotel, and ever since France opened up to travellers this summer, they have been very busy. So they straggled in throughout the day. It was a wonderful birthday with good friends.

Once again, riding my bike, with my dear friends Gilles and Alain, has saved my waistline. Here are a few pics of the beautiful French countryside experienced on our last ride.

Back at home, Milo surveys the back forty where my fields are covered in wildflowers.

And a table in the shade awaits us, weary cyclists.

I wish you all a wonderful summer full of new travels and adventures! Until next time, eat and drink well, exercise often, and be happy!


All our best,

Denise, Gail, and Lindsey

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