The inaugural Bread and Wine weekends took place this autumn and were a considered a complete success. As predicted it took chef Steve Carss no time at all to find his demonstration patter and within 30 minutes of arriving at the chateau we had guests making their own bread.
Our first group was a full house of twelve guests, consisting of the fabulous @Markboltonphoto and his assorted entourage of Bristol mates, alongside our lovely returning American clients Grace and Larry, who had been on a previous wine course at Rigaud.
Proceedings kicked off with a couple of glasses of fizz in the lounge before course leader, Peter Tucker, brought the group through to the kitchen where we had twelve work stations complete with brand new mixing bowls, water, flour, yeast and Rigaud branded aprons laid out and ready to go. It was one of those very proud moments for the chateau team.
Steve introduced his ‘slap & tickle’ method of needing dough whilst Peter answered their questions such as “what is Yeast?” It didn’t take long before the badly behaved boy guests were slapping backsides with flour covered hands but we did eventually get to the stage where the chefs were happy and we could all retire to bar for a quick tasting of white wines from South West France. If nothing else this week gave us an excuse to drink non-Bordeaux wines.
The Friday was a crisp but sunny and rather ‘lifestyle magazine’ perfect for lunch in the vegetable garden with home made pizzas cooked in the newly installed bread oven.
Chateau Villemaurine in St. Emilion was the venue for the afternoon tour and tasting before returning to Rigaud and meeting up with Paddy O’Flynn, (www.TheWineBuff.com) with his mate Pierre, who quite by chance happened to be the owner/winemaker of Chateau Petit Fombrauge, one of the wines chosen for the exceptional gourmet dinner that night.
Guests drank into the wee small hours so it was a slower start to proceedings on the Saturday when chef introduced the mystical concept of “the mother”, a living, breathing and reproducing yeast that needs feeding every day. Two starters were used, one which is thirty years old and provided by our baker, Phillipe and one that Steve had been working on for just a month based on figs and grapes from the gardens. If you want to know about this you’ll have to book on to the next course.
The afternoon involved a trip to Sauterne where it was ‘Portes Ouvertes’ (open doors). This is the dream ticket of French tasting tours – the opportunity to rock up, take a quick look at the chai, taste the produce and move on to the next place. We took in four chateaux in total including 1er Grand Cru Classé Chateau Guiraud. Many purchases were made and shared over dinner, along with some delicious Hospices de Beaune Burgundy wines.
We’re planning to repeat the weekend again, perhaps in April, depending upon uptake. Get in touch if you fancy a relaxed weekend which includes a spot of bread making, a walk in the vegetable garden, maybe a massage, a trip to a couple of chateaux some really delicious food and perhaps a little too much wine, if indeed that is possible?!