If you ever find yourself in the central region of France in an area called Creuse, named after its mighty river that permeates through the region, there are a few things you need to do while you’re here. Firstly, it’s a trout fishing heaven, so for all you keen fly fishermen I recommend you pack your gear, organise your flies, and dry out those waders because you’re in for a real treat. For those who aren’t moved by the thought of lassoing fishing line down icy cold streams of running water, I would tell you that there’s some solid food to be had in this rich countryside. Characterised by its stone farmhouses that dot the landscape with their majestic-mossy-old-ness, the landscape is always green and food is bountiful to say the least. So far I’ve experienced the most intensely flavoursome wild blackberries that grow like they’re going out of fashion, sweet chestnuts, fluffy potatoes, corn, apricots, plums, and the crispest apples that sweeten from the light frosts, the list goes on.
The thing that strikes me most is the strong sense of local pride that comes with making regional delicacies out of this great produce. The French are traditionalists at heart, and I find it very apparent coming from a life of apartment living in fairly modern cities. It’s beautiful for a gal like me to experience, and I particularly admire the way their old values are nobly maintained in everyday life. I see much history in architecture, grace in the way people meet and greet each other, great movie-style table etiquette, and most definitely heritage in cooking. It baffles me how most french home cooks are equipped with the know-how to make a laundry list of classic sauces, pastries, conserves, and vinaigrettes. This is something that took me years a burnt roux, split mayo, deflated choux, and saggy souffle at tertiary college to get my head around, but I understand that there are some things that become intuitive when you have exposure from a young age. At the end of the day, cooking is an art form that’s highly subjective, highly contextual, and so very romantic.
… The pate de pommes de terre at Charcuterie Cheron in Saint-Etienne-de-Fursac is made in house and tastes the way your imaginary French grandma makes it …
So with all of this talk about romance, I’ll cornball my way into telling you about Pate de Pommes de Terre. Puff pastry effortlessly encasing slices of potatoes cooked with creme fraiche, oven baked until a crisp golden brown. It’s a carb-o-orgy that will put a goofy grin on your face at first bite. What kind of culinary genius decides to stuff potatoes and cream into flaky pastry? Really?? It’s for sure that same evil genius who decided that all things deep fried WILL BE DELICIOUS. Have this stuff warm as a side dish or main meal with a good salad so that you can trick your brain into feeling ok about it. No regrets.