Back from Sunday lunch at The Mad Hatter's Kitchen, a little hot and bothered having been stuck behind a convoi agricole - in this case, a giant combine harvester - for the final 5km of the journey.
But it was a very enjoyable day out. I met Martine and Debbie at the mairie in Anché at noon and we drove past fields of hay bales and happy looking sunflowers, cutting through back roads - Martine is an expert on countryside shortcuts - for the 30km journey to Caunay.
The private dining room was full of Brits, several of them friends and the lunch was superb: roast lamb with all the trimmings including home made mint sauce; followed by the most delicious homemade meringue with cream and a mélange of berries.
I've written about The Mad Hatter's before but I am totally in love with this place, the popularity of which is soaring thanks to word-of-mouth. It's charming in summer and in winter it will be even more fabulous - the perfect cosy retreat for a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon. It's the nearest thing in rural France to a Sunday pub lunch - and for €15 for three courses, probably the best value dining experience in the whole of France (and certainly in my region.) Martine and Debbie were similarly charmed. [See below for a list of forthcoming summer events at The Mad Hatter's Kitchen.]
And so the gossip. Martine's lips, as mayor, are sealed while the gendarmes complete their investigations, so unfortunately I can't improve on the gossip already flying around the village (which includes naked dancing on table tops). Ironically, when I ate lunch at Anché's little bar/restaurant last winter (where the food was, incidentally, very good with tete de veau the in-house speciality) I described the warm, rosy, very bohemian decor as 'very brothel chic.' Literally, if current rumours are to be believed!
And so from naked dancing to dancing of the fully clothed variety, here is a list of forthcoming summer events at The Mad Hatter's:
August 15th - summer feast, €22
August 22nd - live rock and buffet supper, €18 [my friends and I have booked up for this, though the band is yet to be confirmed]. Charlotte says there might be dancing - but clothes will be required!
August 28th - Mad Hatter's curry night.
September 5th - Harvest Supper, €22.
To reserve, call 05 49 27 67 29 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mad Hatter's Kitchen, Le Logis, Le Breuillac, 79190 Caunay.