For the past two weeks, I’ve had the great privilege of living on a foie gras farm in rural France. Du Chesney is a working farm in a lovely setting overlooking a small green valley in the Perigord Noir region of France. The farm is in a good location, about 25 minutes east of Perigueux and 40 minutes northwest of Sarlat. I would need a week to describe all the incredible sights within an hour radius of Du Chesny, including the incomparable medieval villages that line the Dordogne Valley, the countless castles, beautiful gardens, and numerous prehistoric sites including Lascaux II.
The house itself is built of stone, recently remodeled, and very well appointed with three bedrooms and two baths. It includes a lovely fenced garden, with a separate covered eating area for picnics and grilling, and large heated pool in a fenced enclosure. If you’re traveling with family, like I am, Du Chesny is perfect. It’s spacious and comfortable, with a large open kitchen, dining, and living area ideal for family time.
The house is great, the setting is lovely, and the farm is interesting. But the highlight of our stay has been the privilege of meeting Christophe and Karine Payou and their daughter Amelie, the proprietors of Du Chesny. This warm family is responsible for creating the welcoming environment of Du Chesny, and it is plain from the outset that they are not only gracious hosts, but artisans that appreciate the beauty of the Perigord countryside and the traditions that make it so appealing.
I’ve saved the best for last, and that is the product that makes Du Chesny a prime destination: foie gras. Christophe and Karine take their art very seriously, and their skill and passion for their craft is unmistakeable in the quality of their creations.
The ducks and geese that they raise at Du Chesny prefer cool weather, so they begin their annual production in the fall. They select birds at three weeks of age. They are raised outside until they are about four months old, then they are moved into barns where they are force fed twice daily with whole grain corn.
Artisanal foie gras prepared with the skill of Christophe and Karine is produced in small quantities, and is thus a rare and precious commodity. If you’re fortunate enough to find Du Chesny foie gras, buy it fast! And give my regards to Christophe and Karine.