The house is quietly hidden in a miniscule village, a grey huddle of stone buildings at a little jog in the Armancon river, surrounded by wide open fields. A low line of wooded hills darkened the western horizon; a more pronounced ridge climbs to the east, following the course of the river.
Nearby sheep sometimes have bouts of bleating. On occasion, from anywhere around the house, I hear people singing to Max. His Father, Paul, has a particularly fine bass and really throws himself into his interpretations of nursery songs, spirituals, and reading out from the board book "Rabbit's Nap". Otherwise quiet prevails. A cook comes in and prepares marvelous French meals - Bouf Borgognion one evening, naturally. Pintade, a bird a bit bigger than a chicken with dark, serious meat, served with tender lambs lettuce. Quiche and blowtorchy desserts too.
With the dinners a cheese course was served, and favorites emerged - particularly a Delice De Borgogne, rich with a variety of textures packed into a delicate rind, mild but with a wild, distant tang. A very soft Eppousse spread out of the board, seeming to grow over time.
One evening early in the holiday, there was a tasting, red and white local wines presented with a bit of background about the soil and geography essential to giving each wine it's particular character. The poor little shop boy behaved with some restraint, spitting into the provided bucket with gusto. I did drink every drop in the glass of a St. Aubin 2009, with flinty and nutmeg flavors. This and a Savigny les Beaune AC 2010 are remarkable, the Beaune one that showed up in my glass at dinner all through the holiday.
The scariest meal was at the local bar - John got the Andouillette, so I had to get it too. Not as nasty as some other preparations of chitterlings I've tasted. However, the beer...Leffe, kind of lager with Ribena. Nasty.