May 14, 2014

Mi Castle Es Su Castle: Pavé de Betz-le-Château


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the châteaux of the Loire, I do the usual fantasizing about what it would be like to live there. My fantasies do not involve large poofy dresses or knights on white horses. Rather, over the course of our long weekend, I find that I'm most attracted to some of the "fixer-upper" spaces.

For instance, the attic space at Azay-le-Rideau, which was formerly divided up into the servants' quarters, is the living area of my dreams. I'll have my welcome party for you all here, once I acquire the property, that is.

For my backyard, I'll take the gardens at Villandry. If I can get the gardeners to come with it.


Frankly, the gardens at Chenonceau aren't exactly chopped liver, either.

My office space will be this lovely room, which looks out from the middle of the Cher river, in Chenonceau castle. I'm sure we can modernize with high speed internet wiring.

I'll cook for you in the servants' kitchens of Chenonceau. Forget the formal dining room. These pictures only show a tiny fraction of the lovely rooms that are all interconnected in a space that manages to be both sunny and cool at the same time.

I also have a real attraction to the grand hall that bridges the river at Chenonceau, though this space is hardly a fixer-upper. But I think I'd prefer it as my humble entry way. Frankly, while I'm talking Chenonceau, I'd also like this castle for the outside look of my house.


Though I must admit that I wouldn't sneeze at Chambord, either. This castle thoroughly stuns Pippa. As we approach, she asks, "Is that all one castle? I thought it was a whole city!" Ideally, outside of the moat and the Villandry gardens, we'd have this bicycle path meandering around for the occasional jaunt.

Riding bikes around Chambord and on the mountain bike trails in the surrounding game preserve is  the girls' highlight of the castle tours. Because, yea though we walk through the valley of the châteaux of the Loire, the girls fear no evil, but they do fear the boredom of another King Henri IV four-corner bedpost or bibilical narrative tapestry.

THE CHEESE: Pavé de Betz-le-Château

Pavé de Betz-le-Château is a raw goat's milk cheese from the Touraine region and, more specifically, from the town called Betz-Le-Château. The pavé is lightly ashed so that it looks very much like the cobblestone, or pavé after which it is named.

Besides being creamy, it's lightly flavored with hints of the grasses and flowers the goats eat in the region. It's a lovely cheese, but one that's not easy to find. I find mine at the Quatrehomme store and have never actually seen it sold elsewhere. It is available on-and-off for most of the year other than late fall and early winter.


Not only is the cheese named for a château, it's named for a château in the Loire valley.


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