This must be the highlight of our trip – the best of France, Spain, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia – all in this 17th century farmhouse on a hilltop.
And to think we almost gave it a miss! Getting there was a bit of an adventure with moments of wanting to give up and turning back to familiar routes.
All we had was a postal code, the name of a commune in a province near Toulouse, name of the house, and the combined (sometimes conflicting) memories by Ron and Stanley who were there for coffee seven years ago.
Even the GPSs had no way to guide us. Prowling suspiciously through several villages, walkie talk till the drivers gave up and pulled alongside to discuss what and how next. Finally decided on one direction, drove right into an armed police road block and had passports checked. A blessing in disguise actually for the police gave us proper instructions to get to where we wanted.
Once we’re on the right road it’s hard to miss the house, the only one on a small hill overlooking the lower farmland that stretches for miles all the way to the main highway.
Berdot, the name of the house built in 1623 is owned by Tony, a Frenchman and his Singaporean wife, Irene. They left their city lifestyles and careers to retire blissfully in this rustic and wholesome life here.
Irene prepared a sumptuous lunch of onion quiche, potatoes, boeuf bourguignon, brownie and ice cream. The tarte a l’oignon was made with onions from her garden and it’s the sweetest most irresistible appetiser ever tasted.
After lunch, we played a real mean game of golf all nine balls on a single flight. We totally underestimated the village course with us foreigners admitting defeat from the 3rd hole on.
After the game and refreshments, the men went out to get food for the bbq while Tony’s friend started a fire with wood cut from the forest.
Bottles of wine opened, meat over flames, best of Dan’s gambas pil-pil, Ron’s hot chick wings with a drop of killer jalapeno sauce, sun setting, stars appearing, a full moon rising, friends old and new around a table cheering, eating, sharing, savouring the moments of the lovely spring night.
When dinner was over, Tony drove us through the moonlit streets of Ste Suzanne, past empty town squares into a giant grotte to hear and feel the water gushing from the mountains to the valleys below. Magical!
Early next morning as the sunlight of the new day softly filled the room, I heard voices in the kitchen below. The fire place was lit, Tony brought freshly baked bread and croissants, Irene brewed coffee and set the breakfast table with homemade jams from fruits grown in their farm.
I’ve never felt so overwhelmed by the hospitality and charm of such a wonderful couple who invited us into their home and their lives, even for one night.
The entire visit is beyond words, a million-star experience best described with photos of our memorable stay with Tony and Irene in Berdot.