Two km from Cordes -sur-Ciel is a most charming little village called Les Cabannes. Under the sign for the town is another which reads “Village du Gourmands.” I tell you this now because the gastronomic adventure we discovered was truly memorable.
Nico and Christianne from The Netherlands run La Maison au Puits. . .the house of the well. Yes, there’s an actual well with water inside the house. Oops, no picture, sorry.
Our room was perfection. . . Clean, crisp Dutch decor with French accents.
We read on TripAdvisor that it was possible to book dinner here, and we thought, “Why not?” Seemed simple enough to be able to walk downstairs for dinner. That was before we knew we were in the Village of Gourmands!
Both Nico and Christianne cook, although Nico takes top billing. Our starters for the evening were two salmon courses. The fish had been purchased fresh that day, and Nico smoked part of it. With another part of it Christianne created a salmon tartare. A horseradish sauce accompanied both.
The main course was roasted pork with a sauce of cognac, butter, peppercorns, veal stock, and cream. The mashed potatoes contained roasted sliced almonds. The carrots were fresh and perfectly cooked. The local red accompanied this course. The wine was quite good and i tried to buy a bottle, but they were out of stock and expecting a delivery th day we left.
There were just four of us for dinner that night, and Nico and Christianne sat with us after serving us and ate the same food as we did, only smaller portions! Nico exclaimed that he could not possibly eat guest portions nightly or he wouldn’t fit through the ancient doorways!
So what were all agog about? And oh so intent? Dessert, of course!
We were having a lesson in making crepes suzette!
Truth be told, i had a hard time sleeping that night with a belly full of food and wine. But the next morning we were presented with a lovely breakfast. . More than I could possibly manage.
You know, i write a lot about food, and we do enjoy food. But it’s more than that. In this case it was the enjoyment of sharing two meals with very interesting fellow travelers and inn-keepers, swapping stories about our families,seeing pictures of each other’s grandchildren, and finding the commonalities between us. Questions like, “How did you meet?” Or “where else have you traveled?” are the real meat and potatoes of the table. I’m always surprised when i hear someone I’ve never met before echo some of my same sentiments on the most important things at our time of life. . . the joy of grandchildren and the integral part they play in our lives and we in theirs, the happiness of retirement after giving so much to others for so long.
La Maison au Puits is a most special place, and we plan to return.
(Christianne takes photos of each table and each couple during dinner, then sends them to their guests. They also put a copy of guests’photos in their guest book.)