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open mind, empty stomach

travel, food, and fun

My final WWOOFing experience of this trip was different from the previous two, but, like the others, I learned a lot and had an amazing time. As in the Drome, my WWOOF host in Dordogne was an English teacher. Corinne was covering for her mom, who was in Korea for a Slow Food conference, as WWOOF host and couldn’t have done a better job. She lives in a beautifully restored farmhouse in the southwest of France that features a large organic garden as well as some fruit and nut trees. The barn has been restored and is rented to visitors. Of course no one was booked for the time I was there, so I got some very nice accommodations.
Corinne makes sauces and chutneys with some of the fruits and vegetables from the garden and sells them at Christmas markets. I got to make this year’s batch of fig chutney and chili tomato sauce for her. I also prepared a few meals. It was a pleasure cooking in her kitchen. The place was equipped with a professional quality range, heavy pots and pans, and an island that was more of a continent. My more conventional WWOOF duties were harvesting beans, tomatoes, figs, and walnuts.
Corinne left me her car to use to explore the countryside while she was at work. Her car was a stick and I had never driven one before, managed to get around with only stalling a few times. I went to some great open air markets, the Saturday market in Thiviers being the biggest and best. I also visited a cool cave in Tourtoirac, but they didn’t allow cameras.
The Dordogne is duck country and I made sure to sample the local delicacies. I had a couple very nice and inexpensive lunches in neighboring towns during the week. On my last night, Corinne and I went to the only restaurant with a star in the area, L’Imaginaire. The food was very good, but not life changing. We both opted to get the 25euro lobster supplement as our main. It was tasty, but not the best value. Overall, the meal was good, but not great. The company made up for any shortcomings in value.
The highlight of my time in Dordogne was when Corinne took me to her school. I told her how I went to school with my previous WWOOF host and she decided to give it a shot. She teaches at one of the top hotel management colleges in Europe and was covering the role of food critics and food bloggers with her students. I talked with her students about those subjects and the Hawaii food scene. The students were great and the day went really well. They even invited me to a party that night. I had a great time at the party. They were all extremely nice and excellent hosts.
My week in Dordogne flew by and it was very hard to leave. All of the students (especially you, Arthur) were great and I hope to keep in touch with them. Corinne could not have been a better host and made me feel very welcome. Dordogne is a place that I would like to come back to and spend more time. It was everything I hoped the French countryside to be and more. The people made a beautiful place a special place; a place I fell in love with.

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