The French Barge Cruise: It’s All About The food.

Each day began with a breakfast that was a visual feast,with fresh croissants, pain au chocolat and a still warm baguette that Markwould have fetched fresh from the bakery earlier.  There was always quality jams, fresh butter,yoghurt ( a rhubarb one that I particularly liked) and good café au lait, aswell as fresh fruit, like figs, apricots or peaches, and muesli.

Lunchtime was casual, and the time we ate varied dependingon the excursions we were engaged in. The meal was sometimes taken in the little dining room/kitchen or, ifthe weather was good, up on deck under the umbrella.  There might be salads, quiches, fruits andlocal cheeses but there would always be a glass – or two- of wine.

Often at four, if our time permitted, we would have tea andcakes, and there would be hors d’oeuvres before dinner. One night Marc cooked,producing duck breasts in a cassis and crème fraiche sauce, with little French greenbeans and potatoes Dauphinoise.  On othernights, we walked into the local village for a meal, or picked up pate, cheeseand dessert to eat on deck back at the boat.

Fromage blanc with a cassis drizzle is delicious.

On one memorable night, friends of Marc and Mary invited thefour of us for dinner on their boat, the amusingly named ‘King Cheese’.  Our hosts were two women, Fabiene andLaurent, and they prepared a meal for us that was both simple andsophisticated, seasoned with wine and conversation. Lauren spoke some English,but Fabiene understood more than she could speak. There was a lot of bad French spoken but somehow we communicated.  The main course was cabillaud – fresh cod- cooked simply on an outdoor grill,followed by grilled gambas, large shrimp basted with butter garlic and coriander,washed down with a chilled bottle of Chablis Premier Crus.  After the cheese course, Mary supplied hersignature dessert, poached plums with ice cream, drizzled with calvados,  a perfect match for the red Bordeaux.

Luckily our boat was right next door.


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