I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Limoges With Family

walking the streets of Limoges

Ben spotted a graffiti artist...Chriistian Beatch that had more than one "exhibit" along the area we were walking

A French accordian player had Ashley feeling like she was finally in France. His music was lovely.

Chriistian Beatch at it again.

We would love to know more about these creepy baby faces we found plastered on walls. This is obviously someone's artwork, but there is no signature and no amount of searching on the internet could tell us.

and another Chriistian Beatch

a little spot for puppies to play in the city
more creepy baby faces...Ben got really good at spotting them.
This carousel is outside of our hotel and one of my favorite things to see.

taking a peak inside the carousel

Every animal has a name. This horse is Wiscky

this beautiful wall is outside of the Galleries Lafayette next door to the hotel
Ton Ton Michel and Ta Ta Francoise's home

the hors d'oeuvres plate of mystery. I liked the ones with the almond.

Beautiful Limoges china to dine on. Notice how the forks are turned tine down. The french eat with their forks in this position and do not switch hands like we do. I actually prefer to eat this way as it makes a lot more sense.

One of many yummy wines we sampled
wonderful Veal with Bacon and mushrooms prepared by Cathy

my plate with the veal and the fabulous scalloped potatoes

Another wine that we enjoyed

The cheese plate...comte, brie, Pyrénées (osso-iraty),chèvre (selles sur cher)

oh the fabulous cakes. This one had white and dark chocolate mousse

and this one was hazelnuts, chocolat and praline...it was my favorite

Cathy FORCED me to have a piece of both but of course I couldn't refuse....hahaha
Cathy's new home....a wood house as opposed to stone or brick like the others in Limoges

The floor plan of her home

standing at the front door and looking toward the hall

looking toward the kitchen

Martin loves to clown around with Guillome!

Danny and his precious aunt, Francoise. She is his mom's baby sister
Christophe and Patricia's home. The awning is down because it's still winter

a peek into the wine cellar

champagne with a touch of blackberry liquer. I actually liked this.

Creme of Blackberry Liquer

Patricia, Danny, Francoise and Cathy

Guillome and Ton Ton Michel

Ton Ton Michel and Ta Ta Francoise

Danny with his aunt and uncle

Loved the napkins that Patricia set her table with.

and another delicious wine

Oh the Salmon...so yummy

I do not know the names of these cheeses, but I do remember that I liked some of them. I believe Comte is on the plate.

and another wine

wonderful fruit compote over ice cream with little chocolate cakes that are a lot like brownie bites

The family left to right...Guillome, Cathy, Ta Ta Francoise, Marion, Ton Ton Michel, Martin, Christophe, Patricia, Danny, Ben and Ashley.

and the same but I jumped in the picture and Danny jumped out

Cathy and Guillome

Christophe and Patricia with Martin and Marion

Ton Ton Michel and Ta Ta Francoise

Ben and Guillome...the french cousins from the same generation, and born in the same month and year
It is Sunday today and the church bells were ringing all morning! It was a beautiful sound! Ben and Ashley set their clock wrong this morning and were a little late for breakfast with us, but we all enjoyed a bountiful buffet breakfast here at our hotel. The brioche is to die for and the pain au chocolat.....ooh la la!!! While Ashley and Ben finished getting ready for the day, Danny and I walked back to Monoprix for a few things. We met Ben and Ashley at the hotel and went to Les Halles Centrales to see the market. The market is a central location for many different vendors for meats (including cheval which is horse meat), vegetables, fruits, breads, seafood. Everything you would need for a meal is available to purchase and all fresh, fresh, fresh! We walked back to the hotel and discovered some street art along the way. We have yet to find out why there were porcelain baby faces placed in random spots along Rue du Clocher. We asked Guillome, who is the same age as Ben, and he was very surprised as he walks that street all the time and has never seen them. Now he will be looking to see if he can find them. It almost became a scavenger hunt to find them as we walked. We also heard a frenchman playing a hand organ with a traditional sounding french song. Ashley said now she KNEW we were in France! It was a great way to start the morning. At noon, we were picked up at the hotel by Danny's Ton Ton (Uncle) Michel and his cousin Christophe. Danny's cousin Cathy is ill with a cold of some sort affecting her throat. We went back to Ton Ton Michel and Ta Ta Francoise's (Danny's aunt) home to visit and have lunch. We started our visit with champagne and canapes. The canapes are always a mystery as to what they are as there are such a variety of them. Our hosts said that even they did not know what each one was! We found a few that we liked, and some not so much. Cathy cooked our lunch for us and it was outstanding. We started the meal with scallops and leaks. I am not a fan of scallops, but the preparation (cream and white wine) was really good and because they were fresh, they did not taste fishy. With every course there is a new wine and we switched between white, red, and a dessert wine.  I put on my big girl panties this year and decided to stop drinking the children's juice and try the wine. Still not a fan, but I can tolerate it probably because the french wines are so much better than anything I have tried at home. Our second course was Veal prepared with Bacon (much like our ham) and local Mushrooms. It was served with Scalloped Potatoes au Gratin. The potatoes melted in my mouth and the veal was delicious! I think Ben had second helpings of both! Then came the cheese course. On my first trip to France in 1994, we were served a cheese course in a restaurant. Everyone neglected to tell me that you must cut off the rind of the cheese before you eat it. I can attest that eating the rind on French cheese will make you NOT like fromage for a very long time. I have tasted several cheeses on this trip that have been really good (once i cut off the rind). The last course and usually my favorite is dessert! Cathy knows from facebook that I adore chocolat. They purchased TWO cakes and of course I was given a piece from each despite my protests. One of them was white chocolate and dark chocolate mousse in the form of a cake with a white chocolate ribbon on top. The other was a chocolate and praline cake. The praline is a crispy layer and this cake was my favorite. I forced myself to stop eating both pieces just so I could leave some on the plate. It was so hard because they were so delicious. After dessert we retired to the living area for espresso. They have Nespresso machines and we selected the coffee pod that we wanted, and Cathy made them for us. Our lunch lasted about 3.5 hours. Ashley said she thinks she was given more food in that one meal than she eats in a whole week! After visiting and catching up on family, we walked down the street to where Cathy is building her first home. She is building a "wood house" and they are very rare in Limoges. Most of the homes there are built of brick or stone. She is very excited to finish her home which will probably be by May. She is also happy to be near her parents as they are getting older with some health problems. Cathy's son Guillome lives in Limoges and is two weeks older than my Ben. He joined us for lunch and speaks English much better than he thinks he does. He reads a lot of English in his job and says he understands more than he can say. I think that is true of learning many foreign languages. Christophe and his wife Patricia joined us along with their children Martin and Marion. It is hard to believe how big the kids are getting. Marion is quite lovely and very artistic. There are two years between them just like my own children. We moved on to Christophe's house later in the afternoon for dinner. He showed us his wine cellar which Ben and Ashley had never seen of course. They were quite impressed with his collection and thought the cellar was really a neat place. Patricia does not work outside of her home and she is also a fabulous cook. She served us something she calls "cake" made with jambon (ham) and fromage (cheese). It is in the shape of a little loaf and is delicious. We have had this several times at her home and it is always good. We also had "little sausages in bread" commonly known by us as pigs in a blanket. Christophe poured a small amount of Creme de Mure (blackberry) into a glass and filled it with Champagne to enjoy with the appetizers. This is known as a Kir Royal and can also be made with Creme de Cassis (black current) or Creme de Peche (peach). Our meal tonight, all served family style, and with white and red wine was Salmon, white and wild rice mix, and leeks with carrots. There were two sauces to serve with the Salmon, a green one made with a green from Ton Ton Michel's garden and a Chorizo sauce which was my favorite. The Salmon was so fresh and the meal was delicious. I do not eat Salmon in the United States, but Patricia can make it for me any time she wishes! The cheese course was very different than from lunch and I liked all of the cheeses with the exception of Chevre (Goat Cheese.) I don't even try that one because I know I don't like it. Dessert was a compote of red fruits with vanilla ice cream and little tiny chocolate cakes that were like brownie bites. I think I was the only one who ate two, but they offered them to everyone! The red fruits we think were currents, raspberries, blueberries and maybe blackberries. Okay not all red fruits, but that is what they called it. It was VERY tart and the ice cream was needed to offset the tartness but it really was very good. We skipped coffee as we were all just too full and Ton Ton Michel and Cathy drove us back to the hotel. We said goodbye with tears and promises to return. Invitations were issued repeatedly for them to come and visit us. It has been a wonderful day of reconnecting ourselves with family and stuffing ourselves with food. I was especially glad that Guillome was there so that he could meet some members of his family generation. Ashley and Ben thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet family in their home and have a meal prepared and served by family. This has been a good day and tomorrow we will go to Le Mans to see Marie Noelle. Until then....

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