An Irish Chef in France
Euro-Toques chef Martin Dwyer, much missed in Ireland since he and his wife Sile sold their eponymous restaurant in Waterford and moved to France. They now live in the Languedoc, where they take guests - and feed them very well.
Another Terrace Morning
This morning is one of the very few mornings we have woken up to a guest free house this summer and I imagined I would luxuriate in the bed until a sinful 8 or 9 o clock before going to the kitchen, in the dressing gown, for coffee. I woke however at 6.45 as usual, just before the bells start ringing in at seven, and the thought of drinking coffee in the cool of the terrace before the sun warmed it from the east seemed far more attractive than another snooze.
It was, and furthermore nature conspired to reward me for my early rising. There is so much happening now in the garden and beyond. Our grapes are now ripe, overripe in fact and if I am just too lazy to bother picking them, not so for the sparrows. If I stay very still they will come right in under the canopy of the vine and gorge on the grapes - one small movement from me and they are gone in a flash.
Columbine our resident Mother Dove, is still sitting and looking remarkably dishevelled on her nest. She now flutters off every so often and then sticks her head down into the nest where I can only assume she is disgorging the contents of her crop to the open beaks below. So far, even with the aid of a pair of binoculars, I haven’t spotted any sign of the young.
Beyond Columbine, Canigou is a dark grey silhouette against the horizon. She has been visible now for the last few days; this, the locals tell us is a sign of rain.
Closer than Canigou and in the foothills of the Corbières is Le Mont d’Alairic. Just south of Carcassonne, which we can always see, and which at one time, and quite lately, was home to one of the bears which they had re-introduced to the Pyrenees. This particular young male had, to the consternation of the sheep farmers on Alairic, decided that the living was easier on the Corbieres.
Also from the terrace can be seen the small hill on which is the Oppidum of Ensurune, a settlement originially colonised by the Greeks and then the Romans which now houses a wonderful museum of Greek and Roman pottery.
This I know I can see from the terrace as from the same Oppidum, with a friend’s powerful binoculars, we were able to pick out our tree in the centre of Thezan.
We got a letter from a lovely American lady last night who stayed here with her husband last year. Her first sentence was “How are you two getting on in your little piece of Heaven?” Very well thanks.
Martin Dwyer started cooking professionally over 40 years ago in the legendary “Snaffles Restaurant” in Dublin. After a time in a Relais Chateau in Anjou and in “The Wife of Bath” in Kent he opened his own much acclaimed restaurant, “Dwyers”, in Waterford in 1989. In 2004 he sold this and moved south to France where he and his wife Síle bought and restored an old presbytery in a village in the Languedoc. They now run Le Presbytère as a French style Chambre d’Hôte. Martin however is far too passionate about food to give up cooking so they now enjoy serving dinner to their customers on the terrace of Le Presbytère on warm summer evenings. Martin runs occasional cookery courses in Le Presbytère and Síle’s brother Colm does week long Nature Strolls discovering the Flora and Fauna of the Languedoc.
Le Presbytère can be seen at: www.lepresbytere.net;