Pierre Luneau-Papin, 2012 Update

Having lived in Scotland for a few years now I have become accustomed to, on occasion, waking up to find a blanket of snow thrown across the world outside my window. But when that happens, I’m usually in Scotland; waking up to a couple of inches of snow in Angers, in the Loire Valley, was not something I was expecting. But that was exactly what I found one Sunday morning in early February this year, and as my second cup of coffee chased down my morning croissant I wondered whether I was going to be able to honour my morning appointment at Domaine Luneau-Papin. In terms of their ability to launch a co-ordinated, organised and timely response to a sudden snowfall, the French lag behind the Scots by some considerable distance.

Pierre Luneau-Papin

Ten minutes later a trio of tenacious travellers, our spirits strong and our bodies willing (just), gathered outside the hotel. We three were Jim Budd, Tom King of the RSJ restaurant and myself; ten minutes of scraping and de-icing later our car was ready for the journey, and we set off. Our pace was frustratingly slow at first as we crawled out of Angers, the roads treacherous with compacted ice, glistening malevolently, and lubricated by an increasingly dirty slush. But after a while we reached the autoroute towards Nantes, to find a single lane – the faster, outside lane, for some reason – had been cleared by a snow plough. Our speed picked up, although not enough for the 4×4 drivers who were able to make use of their four-wheel drive to pass us in an over-confident fashion using the inner, ice-bound lane. I resisted the temptation to send them a friendly hand-signal as a comment on their driving.

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