Friday, 28 June 2013

A restaurant you shouldn’t go to

We decided to go out today, but as it rained all morning we didn’t leave until just before lunch.  So our lunch venue had to be relatively near home.  We have had mixed experience with L’Auberge du Grison in Prayes and so decided to give them another try.  The first time we went in December 2005 the food and ambience were fantastic, but I have a feeling that the owners have changed since then.

The last time we went to the restaurant, the owner was brusque to rude and the waitress was hopeless to appalling, but it was a busy Sunday lunchtime in summer and we decided they were just having an off day. 

Today we were the only lunch guests and we were greeted somewhat brusquely by the owner, but the weather was miserable, so what do you expect.  I decided to have steak haché (minced steak patty) and Cees wanted the plat de jour.  My request was greeted with “That is normally for children” which made me feel like replying, “Well why is it on the grown-up’s menu then”, but I decided better of it.  After a long discussion about the fact that it was only 100g (the normal weight for a steak haché in my book) I agreed to order it and asked for it to be cooked rare, which was drew the response, “It’s a burger, you can’t cook burgers rare”, “Oh so it’s not a steak haché then?” I replied.  “It says steak haché burger quite clearly on the menu” she retorted.  Now I must say, with my experience in the food industry, I think that there is about 0% steak in a burger no matter what it’s called, but I let it drop and ordered it anyway.  Cees’ request for the plat du jour was greeted with, “So you don’t want the menu then?”  “No” he confirmed.

Not a very pleasant interaction with the dear lady, but the meal arrived and the burger was OK and Cees’ food was very good.  Now on to the bill.  We were charged 13.70 Euros for Cees’ plat du jour which I queried as that was more than the menu de jour at 12.50 Euros which had a salad to start and a dessert afterwards as well.  We were told in no uncertain terms that if you order à la carte you paid a higher price, end of discussion.

So in return, here is some nice publicity for this restaurant.  They are rude, inefficient and cheat you out of money - don’t eat there.  But it looks like the locals already know this, we were the only people who had lunch on what should have been a very busy working day.

Monday, 24 June 2013


I can remember back in about 1991 or 92, when I worked for Unilever Engineering in The Netherlands and shared an office with André, I was introduced to the Internet. One day André told me there was something I just had to see. So off he took me to the huge laboratory library where there was a computer that had “Internet Access”. He showed me a search engine (probably Alta Vista, but I can’t really remember) and he said all I had to do was type in anything I wanted information on and the world would open to me. I did ask him what I could possibly want to know, that wasn’t in a book in the library and he was a bit stumped for a minute then he said “the results of a sailing competition”. So we searched and sure enough we found the results of a sailing competition in The Antilles. I must say I was completely under-whelmed and wondered why anyone would want to pay a small fortune for “Internet Access”.

Roughly twenty year later, our “Internet Access” has been cut off and I am lost and I mean truly lost. Our Internet connection went down at about 20.00 last Sunday (yes I can tell it that accurately - which shows just how addicted I am) and we still have no connection, one week later. I am frantic. We have been begging and borrowing computer and WiFi connections for the last week (a BIG thank you to all who have helped so far) and I reflect on how my attitude has changed over the last twenty years. My first port of call when I want to know something is to “Google” it, not look at the brochure we picked up last week that lies on a pile in the living room - that is too far to walk and not to go to the multitude of books we have on our shelves – that takes too long or even pop into the local library – that takes even longer, no, I get all my information these days from the Internet and being cut off has been a sobering lesson on how dependant I am to this technology.

It is rather reminiscent of the time I lost my watch and ended up looking at my empty wrist every ten seconds, getting more and more wound up with each look at the empty place where that hallowed thing had been. It took a while, but now I don’t mind that I have no watch. But there again, that was thirty years ago, so I have got used to it. I do wonder how long will it take me to stop re-setting the “Box” every time I walk past, in the vain hope that it might stop flashing “PPP” and give me the time, thus showing we are back “On-line”.

 photo internet2.gif

So apologies to all of you out there, from here in cold turkey land (and not the yummy stuff you have in the days following Christmas) - I won’t be answering my mail as quickly as normal, let’s hope the slow wheels of France Telecom will get me back to normal soon or maybe like my watch, I may just get used to not having the Internet anymore.

EDIT: As of late last night we are ON-LINE again - life is really wonderful isn't it !

La Tuilerie Website

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Open evening at a salmon smokery.

Just two of the salmon delicacies on offer
I mentioned last year that, during July and August, the tourist office in St Gengoux-le-National was having tasting sessions for tourists of some local produce. We had wine from local producers and various other local delicacies, which was when we heard about a smokery in St Gengoux run by a Scottish couple. Last weekend they had an open evening where certain people were invited to taste their products and enjoy a glass of wine with them, in the garden of their home/business.

Their biggest seller is smoked Scottish salmon, but they also do smoked duck and smoked Bresse chicken. The smoking is very delicate and from connoisseurs of the salmon, I understand that their product is significantly better than any other smoked salmon available in the locality. Their business has really blossomed in the year it has been going and they have managed to create a good solid customer base in the locality.

Drinks and smoked salmon in the garden
Sadly rain stopped play a little earlier than expected, but we had still had a very enjoyable evening meeting other gîte and bed and breakfast owners and others from the local business community.

Congratulations go to Ken and Jill Smith, thank you for an lovely evening and long may your success continue.

For more details of their products click here.

And for details of our gîtes not far from this excellent smokery click here.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Artisans and Artisans

Pascal Ponsard's silk scarves
In France, May is loaded with bank holidays and this year was no exception. But while the shops may shut down, it is a great time of year for arts and crafts fairs and boy have there been some crackers this year. The biennial arts and crafts fair in Tournus, definitely one of the biggest and most professional around here. There were 5 different venues around the town each containing stalls from jewellery makers, to wood cutters and potters to silk painters including our favourite, Pascal Ponsard, who is based here in Cormatin and makes absolutely beautiful silk painted scarves, everyone needs one !

Cormatin Patchwork display
Cees with his paintings
Of course Cormatin was not to be outdone and we have had two very impressive shows. Firstly the patchwork display and then La Tuilerie’s very own artist, Cees, exhibited his paintings in the artwork exhibition. As always, I am impressed with his display of work. However, the invitation he posted on his Facebook page caused endless confusion and we had people turning up at La Tuilerie, thinking he was exhibiting his paintings here - ah well next year maybe.

L'Eglantine festival - St Martin du Tartre
Last weekend we went to the annual Eglantine (wild rose) festival which takes over the whole of the village of Saint Martin du Tartre. Every courtyard and barn was full of stalls selling all sorts of new age and bio things, from crystals to angel contacts and bio crêpes with very non-bio-Nutella to open forums, discussing things like the future of our planet. I hesitate to say something for everyone, but it was certainly worth a visit.

Burmese tuilerie
Finally we went to the opening of a Burmese photo exhibition in Cluny and what did we find there? A photo of a Tuilerie Burmese style. How is that to make you feel at home.

La Tuilerie's very own Website not quite in Burma, but with a tropical feel at the beginning of June.
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