The PowerQuilter


The PowerQuilter

My husband, Kevin, and I have different takes on the places we visit and our experiences, so I started writing a food blog the last time we were in France, two years ago. This is just a continuation of that trip, this time doing the Loire Valley, Provence and the Luberon, Spain including Barcelona for three weeks, and back in to France, in Toulouse, the Dordogne, Bordeaux and a little bit of Paris, of course!

I hope you enjoy it, and make sure you check out Kevin’s blog (NZ4ME) at !

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris November 13th 2012

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2012 - On the road bright and early this morning to get to Nohant, the home of George Sand, and spend the night there after a 4+ hour drive. Her home was delightful - for me - but I am familiar with her biography and the house plays such a big part in her life. We were given an English translation of the tour, which was totally in French and lasted over an hour. Unfortunately for Kevin, and me, much was lost in the translation. It was tiresome, and there are many improvements that could be made. I was forced (yeah, right...) to buy the book about the house which I read this afternoon and evening. I might have to write a letter... We were staying in an auberge, a little hotel and ... read more
George Sand's Grave
Vaux le Vicomte
Chevre Raviolis

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Bordeaux November 7th 2012

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2012 - Arrived in Bordeaux at Francoise's and Raymond’s just after lunch, but that didn't mean we didn't get fed. A lovely lunch of confit de canard and cepes. I was ready for a nap, but we were shown all around their house, which Kevin already knew from his last visit, and down to the guest cottage, which will be our digs for the next week. Their house sits up against the hill, and has caves in the back, a sort of troglodyte house. I am shown the laundry, and alot of other stuff, since they are taking off in the morning to go to Paris for the weekend . They also have us for dinner, of fish and snow peas. Believe it or not, we were very full - so much so ... read more
Lautrec's Grave
Fruites Rouge dessert
Chevre stand

Europe » France » Poitou-Charentes » Angouleme October 31st 2012

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2012 - Up BRIGHT AND EARLY to drive 3 1/2 hours to Limoges to pick up a friend at the airport for a 3-day visit while we are in the Dordogne. Then we had to drive 1 1/2 hours to our swap in Villebois-Lavalette, near Angouleme. I am in the heart of Eleanor of Aquitaine country! We have found, or our friend has, that there is a very good restaurant in the town we are staying so that is where we headed to dinner. The name of the restaurant is Le Lavalette, and yes, it IS excellent. We were lucky in that we didn't have reservations, and were one of two tables served that evening. I have decided to stop eating so much (quality, not quantity you know...) so I had a lamb ... read more
Three brulees
Baba au Rhum
Cheese and pear tart

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Najac October 25th 2012

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2012 THROUGH THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2012 - I will make this section short...we spent a couple of lovely days in Najac, in the lower Dordogne, near Cahors. There were two highlights for me: 1. I discovered that the childhood home of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was in the area and still owned by a family member. Tours were available daily so off we went to the Chateau du Bosc. The tour was given by Madame Nicole, a second cousin of Lautrec, who lives at the chateau. It was one of the few times in my travels in France that I have been sorry not to speak the language as I would have loved to talk to her about the family and history. We have seen many chateaux on this trip, but none so special ... read more
Raspberry tarte
Almost Dahlias of Death
Chateau du Bosc

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Toulouse October 22nd 2012

MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2012 - Today we took a drive up the coast to the furthest eastern point of mainland Spain, Cap de Nau, with a detour into Moraira. This little town was a real find. Firstly, there were no buildings over 3 stories high, a feat in itself on the Costa Blanca. Secondly, there was a lovely little restaurant where Kevin and I had a wonderful lunch - Del Mar Restaurant. The nice thing about this restaurant is that the food didn't look like it had been thrown on the plates, and everything had flavor. I asked if the chef was Spanish, because the presentation looked so different to what we had seen in Spain. He was Bolivian. Tonight we had a farewell dinner with our German hosts, and went to a German-run steakhouse ... read more
Caprese Salad
Pork Roast stuffed with dried apricots
Toulouse Architecture

Europe » Spain » Valencian Community » Calpe October 14th 2012

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2012 - Leaving Barcelona was nice. I was tired. Little Caesar had marched me all over the city. I was ready for some down time, which is exactly what we found at our friends', Jane and Mike Alexander, in Mora d'Ebro, about an hour south of Tarragona. They have a lovely farm that they bought about eight years ago, and Mike completely ( as I understand it) built the house. I think there were a couple of walls, but that was about it. It is a wonderful house, though Jane would like a couple of mod cons, like a freezer, and maybe a dishwasher. They have solar panels, and a generator, and live their lives accordingly. It is very relaxing, and we had ALOT of laughs for a couple of days. WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER ... read more
white asparagus and ham
swordfish and ratatouille
A wonderful dessert

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona October 5th 2012

MONDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2012 - After arriving in Barcelona, and meeting with our home exchange lady, Kevin whisked me off to, if nothing else, walk down the Rambla. I decided this might be the week to wear my pedometer. Good job…we have been walking about 6 miles (yes….MILES) every day. The Rambla was fascinating…we found the wonderful Food Market and headed in. The colors are INCREDIBLE - the bright fruits, candies, meats, braids of chilis. The tapas bars that we wanted to stop at, but they were too crowded. Walk, walk, walk, down to the waterfront, then back up, to a tapas place that caught Kevin’s eye for the Octopus salad, and me for all the things on skewers. We didn’t have THAT MUCH to eat, but the bill looked as though we did. We headed ... read more
The chili stall
Kevin on the bus

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Girona September 30th 2012

This will be short and sweet, to make up for the last one...sorry about that...I got carried away with our last day... Saturday, Sept 29, 2012 - Took off this AM for Girona in Spain for two nights, and ran into torrential rains about half way there. This did not bode well if it continued….but a little enforced down-time wouldn’t go amiss. With the rain stopped in the evening, we decided to go out for Mexican - yep, you got that right…in Spain - food, and found a highly rated (by TripAdvisor) place in the old town. We made reservations for 8:30 PM, which is about the earliest any of the restaurants open for dinner. We had guacamole as a started, which was VERY good - lots of lemon juice used. For our mains, I had ... read more
An iconic shot of Girona
Wisteria growing
Stairs to the Cathedral

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Vaugines September 28th 2012

Sunday, Sept 23, 2012 - Up bright and early in the morning to have a final tidy-up and take the Ackers’ to Montpellier to catch the train. It was sad to say good-bye; the last two weeks had been a laugh-fest. But ten minutes later, trying to get out of Montpellier, it was all a dream. On the road again…. We have decided to NOT eat out so much, now that our bad selves are gone. It’s Sunday - have you ever tried to find something to eat in rural France on a Sunday out of season? We finally found a little take-away, French-style, in Salon for a (yep, you guessed it…) prefixe menu…a baguette deluxe, a patisserie and a boisson for Euro 6.50. We chose chicken baguettes and Far Breton (couldn’t believe my eyes when ... read more
My favorite two words....
The village of Joucas

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Arles September 22nd 2012

Monday, Sept 17, 2012 - Our last stop in the Loire, Gien, for faiance pottery, had to be cancelled - our drive to Blauzac in Provence was going to take about 6-7 hours WITHOUT stops. Just as well, how would I get it home? Spent the whole day driving, rolling in about 7:30. We stopped at a market in Uzes, a town nearby, and bought dinner and breakfast. Our GPS can be a bit dodgy sometimes and combine that with a navigator who misses turns, or a driver who says THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT, or a GPS who sometimes takes too long to recalibrate, it makes for interesting trips. We end up often on backroads, but it is the best way to see the place, and find those wonderful little towns that you would never see ... read more
Pont Du Gard
Tomatoes and feta salad
Foie gras

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