One of the things that is very clear when living in the region of Nord Pas-de-Calais, is the enduring reverence that people here have for tradition, their heritage, the ways and skills of days gone by and a great illustration of this is the wonderful Moulin de Lugy.
There are many places where you can see examples of fabrication artisinale (artisan skills) throughout the region including cheese making, bread baking, ways of building such as torchis (mud and straw walls) and so much more.
The Good Life France went along to the lovely Moulin (mill) de Lugy in the heart of the 7 Valleys area when they held their open day recently to show case the wonderful restoration of the old mill and their fabulous organic bakery.
There has been a mill at Lugy for centuries – mention of it first appears in old records dating back to 1112 and you get the impression that surroundings in the gorgeous countryside where it’s located probably don’t look that different from one century to the next. Cows in fields, leafy forests, the river wending its way peacefully through fields of wheat and corn, birds diving in an out of hedgerows – it’s a timeless scene of rural country life.
The mill these days is under the proprietorship of Betty and Bernard Delrue who fell for its charms around ten years ago when they were visiting the area. The mill then was very run down but they could see that it had potential and over the next few years they returned it to life and established an organic bakery, installed an electricity generating turbine to harness the power of the mighty water wheel and best of all they offer lessons in baking the traditional way.
The lessons take place over a weekend once a month and you can either stay and enjoy their hospitality or just have the lesson. The bread making course is immensely popular and Floriane, Bernard and Betty’s daughter, speaks a bit of English and is happy to translate for non-French speakers. The bread is baked in a huge old oven called La Grand Mere – the Grandmother. Made of stone and with a furnace stoked with wood, the oven gives a very unique quality to the taste of the bread. I can imagine being in the room on a freezing winter’s day popping the dough into the huge mouth of this oven on one of the traditional wooden paddles, the room filling with the aroma of cooked bread.
It’s a great weekend for anyone wishing to enjoy a real French rural sejourn and traditional bread making skills course with a hugely welcoming and friendly French family in the most wonderful location. Eating the bread that you make is just the icing on the cake! You can see course details on the Moulin de Lugy website.