I'm not sure who said 'the heart of the home is its kitchen. When I was younger, I spent school holidays at my uncle's farm deep in the Oxfordshire countryside. The family spent most of the time in the large farmhouse kitchen, as the living room was off limits and only used on Sundays. At one end of the kitchen was a large wood-burning range. In the spring this was used to keep orphaned newborn lambs warm while being bottle-fed. On cold wet days it's where you stood to dry out with a big mug of strong tea after a hard days work on the farm. Here in France, and especially in Burgundy Read more!
Waste not, want not. Barn door restoration. The door to my cottage was a beautiful old oak one with a rustic aged paint finish. It must have been welcoming people for at least 100 years. It had the original four window panes with a storm shutter, historic for the cottages and farm houses of the Morvan. But it had to go, it was not practical without double glazed glass to keep out the Morvan wind and rain. There is an unkind saying in the vineyards of the Cote d'Or. “From the Morvan come neither good wind nor good people.” This is due to the west wind from the Morvan, it brought Read more!
This is not a food blog, however, from time to time I’d like to share some recipes with you from the Morvan Ladies family. You cannot live in France and not recommend the incredible local delicacies that are produced right here in Burgundy, such as Dijon Mustard, Charolais beef, truffles, frogs legs, snails and all the famous cheeses. Charles de Gaulle said of France: “How can anyone govern a nation that has 246 different kinds of cheese?” Our local market town of Saulieu is considered by many to be the gastronomic capital of Burgundy. Here you will find the ‘3 Michelin Read more!
Living in a small space is challenging when you own so much stuff! I moved from a four bedroom detached house to a very small caravan in the middle of the French countryside. This was a temporary living arrangement until I could restore the small cottage on my property. It's not the first time I have lived in such a small space. When I lived in Japan in Seventies, I stayed in a very small apartment with one of those all-in-one bathroom pods. Space has always been a premium in Tokyo and the Japanese perfected the art of living in small spaces. I was very young and didn't have a lot of processions Read more!
French Christmas Tree This time of year the Morvan is very busy, supplying the traditional “ Légende du Morvan” Christmas trees (Sapin Noël) to the rest of France. With over one million trees cut, wrapped and shipped to every region, this humble fir brings joy and happiness to families during the festive season. The use of evergreens to decorate homes during winter celebrations dates back to ancient pagan traditions particularly during winter solstice. In the seventh century this pagan custom was incorporated into Christian Holidays. It was 1738 when the Christmas tree was first introduced Read more!