Our last stop, Chinon, took us too La Closerie Saint Martin a lovely bed and breakfast (with half board) that I had found when I was looking for places to get married in France. Isn't it crazy how a few hours on google can help you discover little treasures? It makes those hours seem less wasted :)
La Closerie is run by a husband and wife team, Marcel and Katharina, who left their office jobs in Zurich to run this bed and breakfast in the middle of France. I was hoping this would inspire the Engineer to declare that this was the best idea ever and that we too should pick up sticks and move to Europe. Alas, he did not think this was a good idea. For now. I’ll keep working on him!
Anyhoo, I already knew I would love Marcel and Katharina because when I asked if they knew anyone in the area who did a cooking class they offered up their own kitchen! Plus they read my blog!
Love it, I did. To top it off they had a dog named Fado and we became fast friends. The Engineer and I agreed that with each stop we met people who were interesting, dynamic and inspiring (okay, those are my words). But it’s true! Marcel and Katharina are close to our age. And they risked everything to buy a bed and breakfast in France. Looking around me, I can totally understand the appeal.
After the Engineer left, I felt pretty lonely and sad. But it didn't last long!
I can’t stress enough how great this place is for a girl all by herself. Firstly, it’s all closed in and quiet. Next, Katharina makes a really good pot of tea that you can have in your room or outside in the courtyard. Finally, even if you don’t take a cooking class, you have the option of having dinner at La Closerie which means you always have friends!
Katharina and Marcel taught me how to make an apple tart, how to cut up a guineau fowl (is that right?), and how to make a really yummy asparagus soup. I cut up a bird! ME! I’ve never done that before.
After my day of castle hopping and wine-tasting, I had dinner at La Closerie with a wonderful group of people from Italy, France and England as well as Marcel and Katharina. It was perfect.
We started off with appertifs in the ‘cave’. When building all the chateaux, many caves were left behind now void of their rock. They are now homes to the thousands of barrels of wine in the Loire Valley.
Thank you Loire Valley (and a note here: seriously the BEST wine!). Marcel and Katherina had lit the way down with candles so that it had a delicious and eerie glow. The cave was even complete with their adopted black cat who was affectionate and cuddly, even though she refuses to leave the cave most of the time. We chatted over nuts and wine (I had sparkling wine with grapefruit syrup – so good!) getting to know each other before dinner.
Ah, dinner. Good wine, good company and good conversation. Plus Marcel brought out what might have been the best cheese platter in history. Three types of goat cheese that taste nothing like they do in Canada – why can’t I sneak unpasturized dairy products back to Canada? DROOL.
We talked late into the night – how great was this? Perfect strangers who all shared this one love of France and food in common. I went to bed full and happy.
I felt well taken care of. I feel as if I was staying with friends and I look forward to many years returning to this lovely and endearing spot nestled between chateau, fields of wine, and blue-roofed villages.