The day started with a little snow. I looked out the window when I got up and thought it looked like there was a faint sprinkling on what will become the lawn. Our neighbour Edouard, who gets up much earlier than us, confirmed that it had snowed earlier.
Some snowdrops Galanthus nivalis photographed on Friday in the woods near Humeau. These are doubtless garden escapees, as although snowdrops (called perce-neige in French - 'snow piercer') occur naturally in France, it is only in the mountains, and at less than 100m above sea level, we are definitely lowland.
Simon had only just got up when Pierre-Yves knocked on the door. Could Simon come and help move a piano? I asked if they needed me too, but Pierre-Yves replied that he had les deux jeunes this weekend, so I was not needed. The two young men he referred to are Congolese refugees (known as sans papiers in French). They and their classmates, many with similar backgrounds, live during the week at the Château de Verneuil, getting an academic and vocational education, but whenever they can, these quiet and polite teenagers, who have no family in France, stay with local families.
While Simon was off learning a new word (bosser = work, slog, slave), I went to the boulangerie. Once back at home, we grabbed a cup of coffee and went down to the Salles des Fêtes which was the venue for the Foire au Safran. We chatted with various people, sampled various saffron flavoured foods.
Produce from the fair.We bought a pain d'épices from Josette Cerniaut. She makes them from organic rye and wheat flour, honey from her own hives and a mixture of spices, which for Preuilly's saffron fair, includes some local saffron. This particular one is also flavoured with preserved oranges. Because this is the third year in a row I have bought something from her, she very kindly gave me a little Christmas tree shaped pain d'épices too.
From Les Délices du Berry we got a jar of pâte à tartiner made from chocolate, milk and cream, sugar and orange rind. We also bought a 'Black Lady' from Fréderic Guillemain. He is the producer from Betz-le-Château who supplies the nearby Michelin starred restaurant. La Dame Noire chickens, also known as La Géline de Touraine, are a local breed, highly regarded for their flavour. They have Label Rouge certification, which guarantees that the chicken is purebred, feed on whole wheat, raised in small flocks of no more than 1000 birds, housed in small traditional sheds and given an outdoor grassy and / or wooded run amounting to at least 4.2 m² per bird. At the time of slaughter the birds are a minimum of 120 days old. These traditional breeds grow more slowly, and never get as big as intensively farmed modern chickens, which are killed at about 80 days.