As many of you know, I was the first owner of the Boat Street Cafe and I'm currently the owner of Boat Street Kitchen & Bistro in Seattle.
I began exploring rural France a number of years ago with the vague intention of relocating our Boat Street Cooking Classes here. What began as an idle dream gradually turned into reality when I fell in love with the gentle rolling hills of sunny Gascony, perfectly located only a few hours from the Atlantic ocean or the border of Spain, and closer yet to Bordeaux, Toulouse, Agen and Auch. Soon after, I came upon L'Abattoir, a long empty house, built as an abattoir almost two centuries ago, by order of King Louis Phillipe.
L'Abattoir is now my lovely home, located in Lectoure, France, only a few blocks from main street, but situated in privacy below its ramparts, surrounded by fields and open sky. I have a pool, an old wine making chai, a donkey house, myriad overgrown gardens, and a few handy sheds; in addition, there are two huge vaulted spaces that will one day become living quarters for guests. This region is noted for its long lived residents and its gastronomy, centered on duck in all of its manifestations, prunes, garlic, and melon, Armagnac, and the healthiest wines in the world, made from the Tannat grape.
My home is a work in progress, but now, finally, I'm ready to invite you and your friends and family into my kitchen, for a week of relaxation - cooking, eating, drinking, tasting, browsing brocantes, shopping the outdoor markets, and simply lazing about in rural France.
Susan Kaplan at the back of L'Abattoir