Didier, Evelyne, Francois, and Jean at La Mothe
If you are interested in staying at La Mothe’s Bed & Breakfast:
Moreau Didier et Evelyne
8, Chemin de Bel Air – La Mothe
Languages: French, English, German
We arrived three days ago at La Mothe in Burgundy, France, the first of a number of farms we will visit over the next three months. It is owned by Evelyne and Didier Moreau, who along with their two young sons have lived here since 1998; five years ago they started a two-room bed and breakfast. The property has been in Didier’s family for more generations than he can count.
Around the farm the landscape is an expanse of low rounded hills patched with wheat fields and dense sections of forest. The farm itself has a few small vegetable gardens, a fruit orchard, chickens, goats and donkeys. We are a short distance from the city of Joigny, and only about 30km from Chablis, home of one of the world’s most famous chardonnay-based wines.
Didier had emailed us shortly before our arrival that during our stay they would be hosting a party with some friends that would last about three days. I considered it a good sign that we were going to a place where parties were measured in days instead of hours. As it turns out, the party is in celebration of their 7th wedding anniversary, and over fifty friends, family, and children have come to camp out, play, and feast. Tents are spread out across the lawns, and some of Didier and Evelyne’s closest friends will stay for the entire week.
Most of our work has been for the party. I’ve been able to lend a hand in the kitchen, which is especially great because Evelyne used to teach cooking and has a true love of food. Vanessa added her talents by singing two Cuban songs by Lecuona and some Spanish Boleros for everyone the other night. Plus, we are lucky enough to be working with two other wwoofers, Ginia from Canada and Janine from Australia (pictured below from right), who are both a pleasure to know and work with.
The party has been cause for endless good eating, with wall-to-wall spreads of homemade charcuterie, cheeses and desserts. The cheese boards alone took up two full tables, stocked with ripe, soft-rind wheels including epoisses, langres, reblochon, and soumaintrain, and harder varieties such as abondance, tomme de savoie, and ossau-iraty. The cheese board pictured below is only about half of what was served the evening before.
Didier’s father raises deer at his nearby farm and makes a variety of charcuterie from the meat, some of which was served, as well as his own cold smoked salmon. Evelyne’s father contributed homemade andouille sausages, which were terrific. Because of the festivities, the more typical European moderation in eating seems to have been thrown to the wind, with one large meal seeming to follow right on the last one’s heels. It’s hard to admit, but I’m starting to feel like I may need to sit one out to digest. Or maybe I’ll have one more piece of the epoisses.