Life in the Loire after lock-down. 27th May. Day 17 of déconfinement.

Off to Tours this morning to replenish the cheese and collect paint. Our decorating endeavours came to a temporary halt a few weeks ago when we ran out.

Nigel had been decorating the spare bedroom and ran out with one wall to go. Ordinarily this would have been extremely irritating. Normally, our time is limited to spruce up the house and if it doesn’t get done before the season starts it has to wait another year.

Not so this year. And so we’ve waitied patiently for our Farrow and Ball Cornforth White (which is nothing like white but more a delicate shade of grey) to arrive at the little paint shop in Tours.

We bought a couple of new cheeses that we’ve not tried before today which is always an adventure. One is a local cheese produced in our department (Indre et Loire), a cow’s milk cheese (unusual in itself as most Loire cheeses are goat) called, Le Petit Bourdel and the other, a Swiss cheese called Kaltbach.

Le Petit Bourdel takes it’s name from the lieu-dit where it’s produced. Made with raw cow’s milk, it’s sprayed with a mixture of water, salt and dry Vouvray wine which gives it its characteristic flavour and crust. An appropriate cheese for a Vouvray wine lover I think.

Le Petit Bourdel – local cow’s milk cheese washed in Vouvray

Five generations of dairy farmers, the Maurice family decided to start making their own products on site when the price of milk plummeted in 2010 and they had reached a point they could no longer make a proper living.

Today they make cheese, yoghurts (between 40,000 and 70,000 per month) and desserts. A real success story that will continue moving forward as the two sons both work for the family business.

It’s been pretty hot (around 25° -28°C 77°- 82°F) this past week and it looks like that’s going to continue. Mornings are still chilly but by lunchtime the temperature starts to climb and by mid to late afternoon it seems to peak.

My vineyard walks are getting later and later but as the days get longer and the nights lighter, there is no time pressure. I had a lovely walk this evening with Tania Careme. A chance to catch up with her news and get some exercise.

As I was out walking, Nigel made dinner this evening. He roasted some chorizo sausages in the oven and served them on a fresh tomato salad with loads of flat leaf parsley. A lovely tangy, mustardy, garlic dressing and finely sliced shallots completed the dish together with some baby salad leaves.

Red or white madame?

Well, a glass of each please. Showered and refreshed after my walk I enjoyed a glass of Chateau Gaudrelle’s Le Sec Vouvray before dinner and then a glass of Cot Cot Codette Malbec from Chateau de Nitray with the sausages.

We often serve a version of this dish to our guests using Toulouse sausages. It’s incredibly simple but really delicious. You do need to wait until the tomatoes have flavour. As with all really simple recipes, it’s the quality of the ingredients which changes everything.