My First Year in France at Le Petit Saint Barnabé.

Hello, fellow campers and food enthusiasts! Gourmet Girl Denise here from the Loire River Valley, France. It has been a whirlwind of a year for me, filled with great joy and some disappointments as well. But then that’s life, right? And the year isn’t over yet. There will be more ups and downs, but I really wouldn’t want to experience them anywhere else.

I have moved into my beloved house, Le Petit Saint Barnabé, right in the middle of my remodel. Much has been accomplished and it is as yet unfinished. But what’s the hurry? I have the rest of my life to finish it if an old house is ever finished. And meanwhile, I get to camp in my own house!

Yes, that’s me posing with my bread paddle in hand in front of my bread oven. I haven’t fired it up yet but I sure am looking forward to doing just that this winter. That’s my camp stove to the right and it is serving me well until I can finish my kitchen. And I love cooking on my camp stove! A lot of recipes for The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook were tested on that stove.

These past few months spring came to the Loire and with it so many flowers! Apple trees bloomed as did the iris, lilacs, and roses. It was a sight to behold!

Having come from drought-stricken  Santa Barbara, California, it was a real joy to experience spring rains and the growth that came with them. Everything grows like crazy here! In one week what looked like a regular lawn area became a field with waist-high plants of every kind in it, too high to mow with a regular mower.

Here I am going Medieval on my grass with a scythe I found in one of my sheds. This simple tool works! I did have a bit of a backache that night though. Ha!

My poplar trees leafed out and brought new meaning to ‘Spring Green”.

Now summer is sitting heavily upon the Loire and as temperatures rise out comes the cool Sancerre’s and Rose’s, and folks everywhere are outside barbecuing just like in the States. Friends invited me poolside a couple of evenings ago for Apero or Aperitifs, and what a wonderful display of delightful bites they brought out to go with our frosty beverages! Three cheers for summer and for good friends!

So after this busy year of coming to live in a new country, buying a car, then a house, then getting started on the remodeling of the house, it’s time to take a break and relax. It’s the lazy daze of summer, and I am going to enjoy them, as I hope you will. Get out that camping gear and go out into nature. It is so healing, as is being with family and friends cooking out in the fresh air. And don’t forget your copy of The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook! For those of you who already purchased from Amazon, please go online and give us a review. And if you would like to leave a comment, you can do so here.


Denise, Gail, and Lindsey

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