Monday, May 15, 2006

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

My birthday dinner at Hostellerie du Grand Duc on Friday night was very agreeable. The restaurant (and inn) is located just over the hill as the crow flies but several kilometres along a narrow valley by road. Amy, Paul and I were grateful that David was driving. We started off with Blanquette de Limoux, some of the local bubbly, and meandered our way through a multi-course menu but la piece de resistance was la gourmandise chocolat – a chocolate extravanganza featuring a mini chocolate ice cream sandwich; a sinful ganache of chocolate and grand marnier; a chocolate mocha slice and another ganache of sorts with berries. Yum yum. Then David negotiated the car back down the narrow valley without incident and we all slept very soundly. You can read more, including a very bad picture of the birthday girl, on Amy and Paul's blog.

Saturday was overcast with the promise of rain, which was duly delivered sometime after we had strolled around the fortified La Cite in Carcassonne but before we had found our lunchtime restaurant in the lower town. Fortunately the restaurant was warm and dry (and non-smoking) and there was room for our table of four, once we had squeezed our way past the enormous dog sitting beside one of the customer’s tables. While Paul and I stuck to more conventional fare (linguini and melon & jambon respectively), David and Amy ordered cassoulet which is a regional speciality and pronounced it to be very tasty. The sun had returned by the time we had finished lunch and we were able to indulge in some window shopping before dropping Amy and Paul off at the airport.

Of course, with house guests duly dispatched, today (Sunday) is a stunner. To account for some of la gourmadise chocolat, David and I took a hike along “La sentier panoramique de la Pierre-Lys” which affords modest (but not especially panoramic) views of the gorge between Axat and nearby Quillan:

We carried a pack for 10-12 kilometre walk but ended up eating our pique nique back home in the sun on the deck overlooking the River Aude. Something about the combination of food, wine and sun made me very sleepy so I took a snooze on the sofa. A lovely lazy Sunday afternoon. (PS: Happy Mother's Day Mum!)


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