Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More from the Gers; Croustades, chateaus and Floc

    Tuesday in the Gers was a lazy day. First thing in the morning I walked to the little epicerie in Fourcès to pick up something for breakfast, but it hadn't opened yet, so I drove to Montreal du Gers and bought some croisssants and Jesuites (a puff pastry, not something religious). After breakfast we went to the weekly market in the nearby village of Castelnau d'Auzon, which had all of 3 vendors. But one of them was a cheese vendor who brought farm-made sheep cheeses from the nearby Pays Basque and Bearn regions, and we bought a couple of those. We then headed back to Fourcès, first stopping at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the tiny village of St. Maure de Peyriac, which had been recommended by the gite owners, to check their menu du jour, but we decided to pass on it that day. Instead, we had lunch at the Auberge de Fourcès next door to our gite. I had an interesting, and outstanding, appetizer that was a kind of soufflé made with brebis (sheep cheese), minced gizzards (better than it sounds) and foie gras. For the main course Ann had veal sweetbreads and I had duck confit, then for dessert we shared a Gascon specialty called croustade – a baked strudel-like dough filled with sliced apples – that came with prune and Armagnac ice cream. And Ann finished lunch off with a glass of a 1976 Armagnac from Domaine Magnaut, a producer in Fourcès.

     That afternoon we headed to the amusingly-named town of Condom, the regional center located on the Baise River, where I hoped to find a place to get Internet access. The woman at the tourist office said the Cafe des Sports just down the street had WiFi, so I checked it out and wound up nursing a Floc for 1 ½ hours while using the Internet. But I wasn't the only one there using their WiFi, as there was a man installed at the next table with his laptop plugged into a wall outlet, a second keyboard, and headphones for using Skype for making calls. Meanwhile, Ann took a stroll around the town, which has a magnificent cathedral.

       Next morning's event was the Hunt for the Croustade, the apple dessert we had had the day before at the Auberge de Fourcès. That croustade was made by an artisanal producer in the nearby town of Gondrin, and we had found a brochure for their shop so we headed there. Unfortunately, the shop was closed, although we could see 2 croustades in the window. We then realized that they might be at the large Wednesday mornng market in nearby Condom to sell their croustades, so we decided to return in the afternoon. We also saw the sign for the croustade producer, Lantin, that had been recommended by the gite owners, but there was no shop, just a phone number to call, so Ann called Madame Lantin later on and made an appointment for the afternoon to pick up one of her croustades. We then stopped at the town of Mezins where I again nursed a Floc while using WiFi access at a bar/cafe (which is what I'm doing right now).

    In the afternoon we made a brief stop at Domaine Magnaut to try some wines, then went to pick up our croustade from Madame Lantin. Her baking room smelled incredible, as did our croustade. We had hoped to do a comparison croustade tasting, but alas the croustade shop in Gondrin was still closed. Instead, we continued on to Chateau de Cassaigne, the ancient residence of the bishops of Condom, and now an Armagnac producer. We took a tour of the chateau, tasted some of their Armagnac, and Ann bought a bottle of their 18-year-old Hors d'Age Armagnac.

La Croustade de Madame Lantin

Chateau de Cassaigne


  1. Bishops of Condom? Jesuites for breakfast? Sounds like satire worthy of Swift.

  2. I am INSANELY jealous of your travels. I love southwest France. I hope the world doesn't implode before I get new breathing bags, because I have to go back. I just have to! My author friend Avi stayed in Fources a few years ago while he was researching and writing Crispin: Cross of Lead, and he really liked the area, too.

    How much longer will you be in France? I may want to ask you a favor while you're there...

    Carolyn (aka Jim)

    1. We leave Fources Saturday, have 4 more days elsewhere, and leave from Paris next Wednesday.

  3. I am enjoying your adventures vicariously, we are soon to travel to the south of portland where chilled beverages will await your visit.