Life in a quaint French village… Montmorillon with Andrew Prior

Life in a quaint French village… Montmorillon with Andrew Prior

Andrew Prior prepared a seven course meal for me when I was a guest at his beautiful home in Montmorillon. It will remain for me, one of my most amazing meals ever!

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Guest: Andrew Prior

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I first met Andrew Prior when he was a guest on my podcast way back in episode 66 and since then I have been to stay at his home in Montmorillon. It is one of 12 departments in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, in the beautiful Vienne not far from the Loire Valley.

When I stayed there, I had one of the two best meals of my whole life. As a previous MasterChef contestant, I knew any meal prepared by Andrew would be memorable, but nothing prepared me for the sensational experience my husband Paul and I had with the alfresco meal prepared for us at his home. I said I would never try to replicate any of the dishes as I could never do them justice to Andrew’s original! He did suggest in this chat though that I come back to visit and do a cooking class with him! I am definitely popping that on my to-do list in France!

Andrew said one of the specialties of the area around Montmorillon is a wonderful goat’s cheese. I adore goats cheese and cannot get enough of it! I loved Andrew’s description of going to the local cheese monger and asking for the little “baby cheeses” in his best Kath & Kim accent! He has explained to the cheese monger what the story is with Kath & Kim and the little “baby cheeses” but I think something might have been lost in translation! For our international followers, check out the link here for the scene from Kath & Kim that we’re talking about.

Another specialty I learned of for the first time from Andrew in this chat, is a stuffed cabbage dish from the Vienne area. I’ve never heard of this dish before, but it sounds like a wonderful peasant style traditional dish! Another one to add to my to-do list!

One last specialty I must now try is a drink called Pineau des Charentes !  It is a local wine style drink made of three quarters wine with a quarter of added cognac. The taste is more or less sweet and it is often served slightly chilled, as an afternoon aperitif. Sounds delicious!

In Andrew’s local town Montmorillon, there are local festivals, one a fire festival at the winter solstice. It’s not overly touristy but the events are more for locals, which Andrew loves as it gives an idea of what it is like to be French! An hour or two from Montmorillon is the Loire Valley and less than an hour away is Limoges. A train goes direct from Montmorillon to Limoges so it is a great option for a day trip. Another nearby village Andrew says is important to visit is Oradour-sur-Glane. It was the site of a particularly brutal atrocity during WW2. The entire village was destroyed and its inhabitants killed on June 10, 1994. It is about 15 kms from Limoges. The area had many Resistance fighters during the war and the village was supposedly targeted in retaliation to something that had occurred previously. It has been kept as it was after the war with a new village built nearby. It is important to remember, and as Andrew says it makes a statement about humanity and I think also about the resilience of the French people.

Andrew recommends visiting the town of Chauvigny not far from his home as well as Roman ruins that can be found outside the town of Montmorillon. Again, the ruins are not touristy and are very accessible. But if touristy stuff is what you’re after there is plenty in and around Montmorillon for you too! In Poitiers is Future Scope, which Andrew describes as a little Disneyland! There is also a reptile and alligator park a few hours away as well!

One of Andrew’s favourite things to do in his region is to head to his local market for the wonderful fresh produce. he also loves brocante shopping. There are loads of opportunities for meandering brocante markets in the Vienne. My problem is that I never have a bag big enough to get my purchases home!

Now I have chatted and immersed myself in the Vienne near Montmorillon I both feel as though I have had a petit vacances and escape to this beautiful region whilst at the same time j’ai hâte to get back there!


Poitou cabbage dish

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