Posted on May 16, 2009
As I wrote yesterday, I am now staying in Toulouse over at Imo’s beautiful apartment. This morning I woke up to her kitty (Shadow)’s cuddles. He’s a strange cat. Entirely grey and most of the time he’s pretty sketchy, but every once in a while he’ll cuddle the heck out of you. Lovely. Good thing for me I remembered to bring my allergy pills with me.
Yesterday I got officially introduced to the Southern France. We had a mellow day since Imo was getting ready to leave for Australia. The day began with some fresh, still warm croissants and chocolatines. A few hours later, Alain made us a tasty spinach and emmenthal omelet with salad and baguette with Saint-Marcellin. However, that was nothing compared to what I was about to experience that evening. Before dinner, we walked around the “Pink City” and looped around all of its pretty little streets, exploring the mix of medieval architecture and modern additions. We’ll be exploring a bit more today before taking a train to Cahors.
In France, eating is a way of life. You think you’ve been to Paris and experienced what I’m talking about? Think again. It’s in people’s homes and daily lives that the magic really happens. Average meals take about 3 hours to eat. The meal began with a good bottle of wine, dry saussage (fouet catalan) and baguette. Then came the main course. A fabulous and easy to make Poulet Basquez: chicken breasts served with a tomato and fresh pepper sauce and rice.
I thought this was prety great and was so full after this that I didn’t even finish my plate. However, it was far from over. Here, you have to eat a bit of everything. To make room for more, we had a Trou Normand (a shot of Jamieson Irish Whiskey) before the salad and baguette and cheese. By that point, I was delirious. My body felt full and overwhelmed with joy. Then there was desert: a Gianduja (pralined chocolate) mousse.
After that, we left the house to walk it off and headed down to an English Pub where Nathan proceeded to serve us typical French drinks. When in France, you have to taste everything. So, as the good sport that I am, and gastronomy and drinks are and intrisic part of the French adventure, I had a bit of everything. We first had some Perrier to help the digestion, and then had a Zizi coin-coin (Cointreau and lemon juice). Then came Bailey coco (Baileys with Malibu and milk) and another Jamieson. We topped off the evening with a wonderful drink called a Mauresque: Pastis and Sirop d’orgeat.
After that, all that was left to do was tipsy over by the 9th century basillica on our way home. By then I was repaying the local effort of the French experience by speaking some pretty heavy Chiac. Before heading to bed, we had a nice weak cup of Earl Grey. Oh dear, what a night. Apparently, this was a light meal. This is just practice, training, stretching. When we get to Cahors, it’s going to be a different story. I’m bracing myself… getting psyched up to gain a few pounds while I’m at it. Seriously, who gets to be so lucky as to actually experience the REAL Southern France lifestyle. I can’t even begin to tell you how truly special this trip is turning out to be. And there’s more… wow.