Moiron, France is a small village in the middle of the country, about 90 min north east of Lyon and 60 minutes south of the Burgundy wine region. It was until recently was the home of our friend Peter’s grandparents. Peter and his brother Chris were spending the summer in the home helping maintain and upkeep the house as it is no longer occupied year round. We were lucky enough to spend eight days staying with them at ‘the chateau.’
The chateau was unreal, a French country home from your dreams. Set in a picturesque village in the heart of the wine and cheese region of France, it is an incredible property.
Peter’s grandparents purchased the chateau in the 70’s from an old WWI general. The general sketched out the property boundary on a napkin, asked them if they wanted the orchard and chapel (they did) and the deal was sealed over a glass of wine. Then the work began, we cannot imagine the hours it took to restore this place.
At probably 8,000 sq ft., it was originally built in the 1500’s, with additions by unknown owners throughout the years. The house they bought was dilapidated, neglected, they spent their first summer in a tent outside.
Stone floors, 3,000 pound hand-hewn celling beams and all, the chateau is breathtaking featuring 10 bedrooms, a wood fired oven, an entire church and a hand dug wine cellar with over 400 bottles.
Being over 500 years old and massive, there is a lot of upkeep, and we’re very lucky to get to enjoy the home with Peter, Chris and their friends Chuck and Michelle.
Peter is a professional chef, and was taking the summer off before opening a new restaurant in South Dakota. So we ate well, very, very well. We started each morning with a trip to the market for the day’s veggies, the bakery for bread and the butcher for our meat.
Everything was local and fresh, the best of France. Here are a few of the dishes we enjoyed during our stay. Duck breast with a fig-wine reduction, sautéed fois gras, veal shank ossobuco, eggplant moussaka, and a classic French bouillabaisse.
The last night we were there, we added our contribution to the food extravaganza we had been enjoying. Authentic Paella made following the recipe we learned during our class in Valencia, including fresh Roman snails collected from the family garden. You cannot just eat snails from the wild, they need to be “cleaned.” First you feed them for a few days and then starve them. This cleans anything potentially harmful out of their system.
For our snails, that meant 3 days of garden fresh rosemary, thyme and sage, then 3 days with water. Feeding them the herbs, gives them a sweet slightly herby flavor, awesome for in our traditional Valencian Paella.
In between meals we spent most of our days enjoying the chateau or hiking the surrounding countryside. One afternoon, we hit the links at the Moiron golf course. Playing as 5 some with two 8 club rental sets made for an interesting round, but the course was in great shape and we had a blast playing 9 holes.
The next day, we were fortunate enough to make a trip to Beaune, in the heart of Burgundy, to meet the winemakers behind most of the delicious bottles in the chateau’s wine cellar. Peter’s grandparents found Domain Pavelot over 30 years ago and have been buying (and storing) cases of their wine ever since. Like most all of burgundy, they only grow 2 types of grapes, pinot noir and chardonnay.
The difference in Burgundy wines comes from the parcels of land growing the grapes. We tasted 4 different pinot noirs, grown in different parcels mere feet from one another, and surprisingly, you could actually taste difference. They only distribute to two states, but surprisingly, one of them is Colorado! Look for them at large wine retailers.