Les Arbousiers, Sabres. France

DAY 3.-
After the wonderful lunch at the Mugaritz, we drive towards France and accept our destiny – our car’s GPS always tells us that we must accept our destiny before we start driving and it sounds so mystic we always make a laugh about it – yes… we accept it!!! We head to Les Landes where we have made a one night reservation at Les Arbousiers. We arrive there tired at night and go straight to our room; fall unconscious on the bed and start sleeping approximately at the same time French hens do ;D.

Oh là là!!! We didn’t expect less! What would be a French breakfast without a croissant? Monique, la gentille dame de la maison, prepares an awesome breakfast for the house’s guests. The day is bright, the garden surrounding the house is beautifully arranged and we meet people from other countries also on holidays: Families with kids and couples like us.

I recommend you Les Arbousiers if you travel through France and visit Les Landes zone. The surroundings are perfect for bicycle rides or running or walking activities; the forests are just awesome and the smart black doggie at the house will probably accompany in your wanders, just like she did with us… such a beautiful dog!

On our way to the Perigord (one of the French famous vineyards regions), we have a lunch break at a road restaurant (too bad I cannot find a web link; I think the name was Le Pressoir) and I ask for a mussels dish. Even though I’m used to eat mussels here in Spain all the time and I love them just steamed and with some lemon juice on top; but these ones are made in heaven! They come with a delicious sauce made with butter… of course! This is one of the things we will learn about this country: Butter is ever present and a must in the French cuisine!

But instead of the mussels buttery recipe I want to tell you about an ancient dish that will surprise you for sure. It’s a Kings’ recipe and the main ingredient is a little bird called Ortolan Bunting (follow the link to know about it). If you understand french, then follow the French link at wikipedia where it will also tell you about its gastronomical use.

According to Nestor Luján, a reputed Spanish journalist with a special dedication to Spanish and French Gastronomy, this wild bird is captured with special nets in Les Landes during the months of August/September/October when travels its way to Africa. Then it’s kept inside a jail where it cannot fly and it’s fed only with millet and water. In a month the bird multiplies per 4 its natural wait.

And here comes the recipe that Nestor Luján wrote in his book: Viaje a Francia.
If you want the book, just click at the amazon widget, I guarantee a great read!!!

“Take a well-fed bird. Dip its head into a glass of Armagnac (this gives instant death and a unique perfume). Pluck, and grill with caution then serve in a small tray. The whole thing will take only a few minutes. Put the bird inside your mouth and cut the head with your teeth. Take a swig of red and warm burgundy, cover your head with a cloth to avoid distractions and “enjoy the moment”. Fifteen or twenty minutes are required before the Ortolan melts.”

What do you think about it? Uhhh? Amazing? Cruel? Awesome? Disgusting? Delicious? I think that opinions will be rather different here.
I must say we didn’t try the dish, but I’m really curious about it, only French minds could have thought about this special way to cook and eat the birdies.

We jump in the car again and drive to Saint-André-et-Apelles… one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited :D. Today we have a room booked at La Source, a beautiful and typical country French house, a great example of the Perigord Architecture and here we will meet its lovely Hostess: Brigitte.

ITINERARY: Mugaritz, Basque country (Spain) – Les Arbousiers, Sabres (France)

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ITINERARY: Les Arbousiers, Sabres (France) – Saint-André-et-Apelles (France)

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All pictures have been taken with my Iphone using HIPSTAMATIC; John S Lens, Ina’s 1982 film and flash off.


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09/17/2012 · 10:57 h by Miriam

Hay que ver, cuánto sufres!! XD

09/17/2012 · 11:52 h by

I think I have lost my appetite this morning. I could not eat the little birdie.

I feels as I am taking this trip with you and JL. Looking forward to more…Un beso!

09/17/2012 · 12:25 h by bellini

Looks like you are enjoying your vacation my friend. As for the recipe I find it disturbing, but then again this is from a woman who couldn’t eat a fish whose eyes were still looking at her until a few years ago.

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