Two Days at a 200-Year Old French Apple Farm

To be fair, I didn’t really spend two days at a 200-year old French apple farm – I spent two days at an apple farm that is at least 200 years old. And despite some editions over the years, the farmhouse itself was built more than 300 years ago.

Catherine and Olivier, the couple whose children I take care are of, both hail from the north of France, but this week we went to visit Catherine’s family at their charming apple farm. (Is there any other kind of apple farm?)

North of France

We arrived late at night after a four-hour car ride from Paris, but luckily there was a full meal waiting for us: arugula salad, jambon persillé and country bread, which we washed down with a healthy dose of red wine. (Or well, I did.)

The next morning we started cooking early to prepare for the birthday party of Catherine’s 11-year old nephew. In honor of the festivities, Olivier made his signature scallops with crème fraîche and mushrooms, which he flambéed with Armagnac. Flambéing is really as simple as take pan off of flame, pour in alcohol and light contents of pan on fire. Who knew!

North of France

North of France

If there’s one thing the French do best, it’s dining. The birthday party was perfect – everyone was laughing and catching up over many bottles of  côtes-du-rhône and bubbly. North of France

As this was a birthday party, for dessert we enjoyed a Merveilleux, a meringue and chocolate buttercream cake from the Northern city of Lille.
Merveilleux - Lille

Note – this lunch lasted more than five hours. We sat down at the table at noon, I took a nap around three and when I came back downstairs two hours later everyone was still sitting at the table chatting over wine. I love France. Birthday party

The beverages were as good as the food; we drank some of the family’s homemade apple juice as well as some cold and crisp champagne. The family doesn’t add sugar to their apple juice, it’s simply the juice of pressed apples. And it tasted like… apples. And I know this word is starting to become vastly over-used on this site, but it was delicious. As I sipped it my alcoholic mind imagined various ways I could use it in a fall-themed cocktail.

Apple Juice
Apple Farm

After lunch the birthday boy offered to give me a tour of the apple orchard and barns. As he earnestly explained every detail of how the farm runs, the only phrase I picked up was, “Les pommes sont plus delicats que les oeufs,” or, “Apples are more delicate than eggs.”

Apple Farm
I loved learning about their family business, as my dad runs the same company my great-grandfather started in the 1930s. And while gasoline distribution is not nearly as wholesome as apple orchards, family-run small businesses of any kind have a special place in my heart.
Apples

The birthday boy then took me to see his 11 cats, though only two kitties came out to say hello.

Barn cats Apple Farm
So what did I do on the farm? Not much. I cooked food, ate food, tasted many varieties of apples and spoke French with the grandmother. And while my French may not be so great, I can say that the time I spent on the apple farm was parfait.

22 Comments

    • Agreed! One thing I miss a lot about the U.K. is cider… I wish they had more here in France.

  1. Beautiful! I love reading your blog.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Rachel! That means a lot :)

  2. I love sipping cider out of the traditional pottery bowl mugs! The French have such fun traditions like making eye contact and not crossing arms when toasting – Sante!

    Reply
    • Oh I had never heard of that, that’s a cool tradition! I still have so much to learn :)

    • Haha I’m starting to feel bad for writing about food so often! I’m getting boring!

  3. What an amazing experience to be able to share with a local family! Great photos.

    Reply
    • Yeah I was so happy to be able to do that! The wine wasn’t a bad touch either :)

  4. I love the picture of the Nephew? cooking the scallops and did they ever sound great. Make some when you are here at Christmas.Miss you!
    Love you love you,
    Gamma

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment, Gamma! And I will definitely make the scallops, I think the family would love them. Love, Ashley

  5. 5 hour meals with wine and 11 cats. It sounds like my idea of a relaxing weekend.

    It is a lovely story and great to see you integrated as one of the family so easily.
    The Guy recently posted..Something Is Not RightMy Profile

    Reply
    • They were so sweet to include me in such an intimate gathering! I had an amazing time.

    • Haha I have to say that the family I live with is rather wine-obsessed… and I love it!

    • Yeah it was so good! The meringue added a nice texture.

    • Yes absolutely! All of the above :)

    • Yes they do! I don’t think anyone can dine as well as the French :)

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge