Tag Archive for: Sonnac Sur L’Hers

An Eggcellent Dish

Here at Chez Maison Bleue we like to source our produce locally. We get our eggs from two suppliers. The main one is a man on Mirepoix market who has a small holding. The reserve supplier is our neighbour here in Sonnac sur l’Hers, and were it not for the walnut tree in the farmers garden we could actually see the hens from our terrace. The eggs we get are superb with lovely golden yolks that are not the result of artificial colouring. Those who follow my blog will know how the eggs make great meringue; well the whole eggs are fabulous for omelettes.

Our guests seem to really enjoy the herb omelette we serve for breakfast. The herbs are cut from where we grow them on the terrace only when the omelette has been ordered. Some guests even enjoy choosing the combination of herbs themselves. If you have theses nice fresh ingredients it gives you a head start in producing a great omelette. The key to a first rate omelette is to get the pan fairly hot and give the eggs a thorough whisking so when you pour them in the pan there are lots of air bubbles visible. Then as soon as it is in the pan draw a fork through it and keep doing this. You will scrape the cooking omelette in towards the centre and allow the raw egg on the top to hit the hot pan. Keep on doing this until the egg will no longer run into the gap. Then allow it to cook for a few minutes until it is a light golden brown on the underneath. For the herb omelette I start by briefly frying the herbs in a little oil and then leave them in the pan and pour the egg mix on top.

At Easter here in Sonnac sur l’Hers we have a village gathering, aperitifs followed by salad and barbecued meat but the highlight is the sweet Easter omelette. This is made with a hefty lot of castor sugar added to the eggs and then the cooking is just like a normal omelette to start with. The best bit is the finish when it is flambéed in the local eau de vie produced from pears grown in the village. It is a good job that most people walk to the event as the amount of eau de vie that goes into it would definitely put you over the limit! This year we had our aperitifs outside in the sunshine, so Easter is a great time to visit. The eau de vie is distilled by the man who arrives with his mobile still in November. The weather can still be quite warm even then and there is often an evening gathering of locals round the still which gets more and more animated as the produce is tested, so come in November too!

Sweet Lavender Omelette

As a desert at our B&B here in the Languedoc I serve a sweet omelette. Mine uses an ingredient for which our neighbouring region of Provence is famous, lavender! You can make it by gently frying a few lavender flower heads for a minute and then adding the egg and sugar mixture and cook as per a normal omelette. Flambé is optional and use what spirit you like but one with a delicate flavour. The omelette has a gorgeous sweet scented flavour, and as lavender grows really well here it too is cut fresh to order. So whether you want sweet or savoury get cracking and make some omelettes.

Tour de France – official route

The stages of the Tour de France 2012 have been published. Stage 14, the high mountain stage Limoux to Foix passes even closer to our holiday cottage and B&B in Sonnac sur l’Hers than previously thought – through Chalabre, only 3km from Chez Maison Bleue. So a walk or a cycle ride for us to be part of this tremendous sporting spectacle as it passes through the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Jazz Festival Limoux

Extensive programme for the Jazz and Big Band celebrations (en français) in Limoux, 26 April – 1 May. Limoux is about half an hour from our holiday cottage in Sonnac sur l’Hers, a lively, very French town deep in the land of the Cathars. Combine a trip to the Jazz with a tasting at one of the Blanquette caves, we collaborate with Antech (en français again) and lunch on the square to the sound of the water splashing into the fountain, a perfect way to assure some R&R in the spring sunshine of the south of France.

Opening offers for the B&B

Our lovely 18th century B&B in the south of France is almost ready to go. 2 very French bedrooms, 1 double and 1 family room look out over the ancient village square, Sonnac sur l’Hers. Open the shutters each morning and feel like time really has stood still for the past 50 years. Combine with a day out in Carcassonne for a fabulous long weekend. See our Special Offers for great deals in April, including Easter! 20 degrees in the square today and plenty cheap flights into Carcassonne (Ryanair). Why wait?

Cycling Languedoc

A network of tracks and quiet roads lead from Sonnac sur l’Hers. Today, in glorious sunshine, we set off at 4pm to cycle to Chalabre, our nearest town, in time for the boulangerie to open for its tea-time shift. However, Chalabre is only 3km, not nearly far enough on such a beautiful early March afternoon, when the sun is skimming the hillside turning everything a pink hue. We continued as far as Rivel, another astonishingly beautiful bastide village, so typical of our region of Languedoc.  Returning on the road, the plateau is open and wild, tamed by the warm wind tangling your hair. The mighty Pyrenees keeping vigil, the buzzards circling on the warm thermals, another landscape, another world.

Easy cycling in the foothills of the Pyrenees

Restoration of our 18th century gite

The restoration of our holiday cottage in the south of France was undertaken by our team of artisans exceptionnels, headed up by our French architect Sophie Baby of Mirepoix. Much angst, zillions of euros, and a few tears* have resulted in a beautifully restored, very French holiday home. The same team is now working on our B&B next door to the gite on the village square, Sonnac sur l’Hers. Our maçon is missing from the photograph, now there’s a surprise, he’s been AWOL for weeks since taking all the tiles off the roof in fact. Hope he shows up soon, opening date for the B&B is fast approaching. *The towel radiator in the bathroom is not where I wanted it to be, a metre thick stone wall was in the way – seems so trivial now but last summer I wanted to kill someone.

Artisans exceptionnels


Trip to Narbonne from Sonnac sur l’Hers

A birthday treat, 2 days away from the restoration of our B&B to the beautiful, Romanesque city of Narbonne and the Mediterranean beaches, only 1.5 hours from Sonnac sur l’Hers. The Archbishop’s Palace and Cathedral St Just dominate the landscape for miles around, the recently discovered Roman road, the Via Domitia visible in the square, built 117BC – bet they wish they could get the M6 to last as long. We found an exquisite French restaurant for dinner, I really liked the mismatched furniture; so much so that I might steal this idea for our dining room at Chez Maison Bleue. We had Narbonne Plage to ourselves, this is our nearest Mediterranean beach and means you can be swimming in the sea by mid morning, though no doubt will be a bit busier in August.

Narbonne Plage, only 1.5hrs from Sonnac sur l’Hers

New delivery for the holiday cottage, Sonnac sur l’Hers

Lovely new matresses arrived this week for our holiday cottage and B&B. Excellent service from our French store, only 3 weeks longer than promised, though free delivery so I will forgive anything. Combined with feather and down duvets and pillows and 800 thread count linens (though I admit I brought these from England, not sure where you would source these in rural France). A gorgeous night’s sleep assured at our lovely, historic French house.

Superior quality "mousse" mattress

Road through the Pyrenees

On the road to Quillan this morning, there is only the matter of a mountain pass between us and it. A large, lively town offering a pleasant distraction for lunch. Despite the mountain road it’s only about half an hour away from our B&B in Sonnac sur l’Hers. Passing through some glorious, winter landscapes, the mighty Pyrenees providing a suitably dramatic backdrop, though perhaps we’ll wait on the snowplough next week.

Restoration of our B&B in the south of France

The bedrooms of the B&B are receiving our full attention this week. A cause for celebration this morning when the electrician turned up, Yippee! We have been waiting on him since September, another artisan exceptionnel who worked with us on our holiday cottage, next door to our bed and breakfast. Upstairs is being completely rewired so the 2 gorgeous bedrooms overlooking the square in Sonnac sur l’Hers will be ready for the spring. Just the ancient parquet to re-oil. We are hoping to have another ensuite room ready but that depends on the Maçon who has been AWOL for sometime now, since he removed all the tiles from the roof in fact, just before the heavy snow…