On our way back from England, we were driving across France in the early hours of Tuesday morning when we drove through a forest and saw a magnificent stag standing by the edge of the road. It was an impressive sight. He stood and looked at us, regally turned his head and then melted away into the dark woods.
The largest animal in the French countryside, rightly known as the King of the Forest has been hunted for centuries since the time of the Kings of France.
We are in the middle of the hunting season and our neighbours belong to la chasse and go hunting every weekend. Sometimes we are lucky enough to be given a share. One memorable time Jean-Michel slapped half a deer on our kitchen table complete with gun shot hole and hoof!
I am trying to overcome my soft, city ways but that certainly was a culture shock. I am used to buying my meat pre-packed from the supermarket. Luckily Mr B isn't as squeamish as me.
Each hunt is monitored by an Association which allocates which animals they can hunt and the number.
It didn't take me long to realise that venison is delicious and can be cooked like beef and used in a variety of recipes. Vension has only a 1/3 of the fat of beef and it's lower in calories too. Our favourite is venison stew, with lots of red wine and herbs.
We certainly eat well living the simple, country life.