It takes a village to raise a loaf

A poster like this is irresistible:

A spot of history, a spot of lunch, a new village to explore …. had to be done.

Orliac-de-Bar is only a few miles from here.  Like so many others in the area, it has a little building, the village oven, built once upon a time to bake the loaves of those villagers who had no oven of their own.  These days, when everybody uses the boulangerie or a bread-making machine, they’re generally dusted down and used only on high days and holidays

We arrived as the oven was getting going.  As visitors from afar, the organisers seized on us, anxious to show off their little bit of village history.  A couple of men  thrust bundle after bundle of brushwood into the glowing maw of the oven.  When the oven was judged to be hot enough, the woody embers were swept out, and the oven allowed to cool – just a little.

Our new friends popped an ear of wheat into a wooden clasp and introduce it into the heat.  It singed.  Nope.  The oven was still too hot.  The wheat should be burnished gold, not burnt.  Try again soon…..


Eventually the oven was pronounced to be not too hot, not too cold, but just right.  A small team of villagers  jammed pizzas (that well known French country delicacy?) and apple tarts  into the oven to be baked.

An oven filled with good things.

Twenty minutes later we were sitting down at long refectory tables arranged in the village square, doing what the French do best: sharing food, wine and conversation.  No photos.  I was too busy enjoying myself, and never gave it a thought.

Pizz and apple tart.

The village also had an exhibition of aspects of its history.  Here are some photos of a not-so-long-departed way of life.  I think they need no explanation.


And here are our new-found friends, waving us off after a day well spent.

Goodbye, Orliac-de-Bar!

Back at home, we had a fine solid Orliac-baked loaf to accompany our cheese and salad.

Click on any photo to view full size, and see the captions.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

20 thoughts on “It takes a village to raise a loaf”

  1. A very atmospheric post that must have made everyone who read it feel they were briefly on an adjacent seat, waiting for the food to be ready so they could sample some.

    There’s nothing more comforting than bread… except perhaps pie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And here I sit, nicely ‚filled‘ with a wonderful ‚two parts‘ of my home baked rhubarb tart I made for Hero Husband‘s return from a business trip. Rhubarb from my garden, an organic puff pastry, a lovely mug of tea (after 3 espressi earlier)….. HH is gone for the next trip and I am left back to finish all the goodies I‘ve prepared. Life is good – and your post is EXCELLENT 🙂


  3. Sharing food again. And, it all looked so tasty. I still can’t figure out why the French, Italians, Spanish . . . etc are all so good at it and the experience here in the UK is usually just, well, painful. And, we have to have the encouragement of a National occasion to make the effort. Is it our unreliable weather?

    Liked by 1 person

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