Feasting at Toussaint

I know I am a little late writing about the 1st of November – but here I am all the same.  November 1st is Toussaint better known to us as All Saint’s Day, and as in many catholic countries All Saint’s Day is a public holiday in France.  Tradition has it that the families visit the graves of their ancestors and decorate them with flowers, and the flowers most used today are chrysanthemums.  They are grown in all kinds of colours, shapes and sizes, and if you manage to pass by the field of a grower at just the right time (sorry, I didn’t this year!!) it is as pretty as a picture or a patchwork quilt.

The two pictures above were taken at Capestang and it’s interesting to see the mailbox outside the cemetery (?).  These wonderful flowers brighten the sometimes austere graveyards throughout the country until the first frost cuts them down.  I took a walk around the cemetery in St Chinian too and found some interesting tombs – they are not dated but I’m intrigued by the lettering and sculpted ornaments – Art Deco?The flowers were everywhere too and brightened up this somewhat sombre day.

Toussaint is also the re-opening (after vendanges and a brief rest) for a restaurant tucked away in the hills above Minerve.  The manor house of Le Bouys has belonged to the Poumeyrac family for many generations, and for some time now the family has run a restaurant on the property.  It’s a real experience, and a very pleasurable one at that!

On the business card it says Ferme Auberge and there is still a farm;  geese, ducks and chickens run around the courtyard, and there’s a stable for the goats.

There’s even a chapel, always immaculately decorated and kept.

The dining room is on the ground floor, in a room with massive vaulting – cozy and warm in the winter and cool in the summer!

On the way in we passed the kitchen door (always good) and next to it is the Rotisserie where the roast of the day was being cooked. Leg of lamb anyone?

There were a few of us, and the friend who had organised the meal had ordered Bouillabaisse for us all.  So we had the usual starters of pate and ham followed by salad (with home-made vinegar used for the dressing – always a delight) .

And then came the Bouillabaisse – an enormous dish of fish in a delicious broth.

Of course accompanied by croutons and rouillie the garlic/saffron mayonnaise.  We did try valiantly to do the dish justice, but there was only so much we could eat…  Then came cheese, and finally dessert, and that was really special:  Omelette Norvegienne better known as Baked Alaska.  Light egg whites encasing a block of ice cream covered in rum soaked sponge.  Need I write any more?  Except to say that you only get the Omelette Norvegienne  when you order the Bouillabaisse!  And of course if you want to go, be sure to book!

And here are a few more pictures.

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