Around and about with Tony Goodman

Wine Routes

Its been a busy week, visiting wineries for the spring print edition and exploring the towns and villages of the Agly Valley. Plenty of bent backs and hints of green in the vineyards. Love this time of year, winter is almost done, spring not far away. Great fun driving the region’s wine routes before the crowds arrive.

Find out more here.


Took a slight detour from Maury and drove up to this extraordinary castle. Its history reflects the changing fortunes and flags of the region. The weather was too brisk for  the 15min walk up the wide well paved access path. We will return with a picnic hamper when its mild. The access road is well signposted. Photo opportunities at every bend. Excellent parking and facilities.

Gratis or 7.50€, check website for details.


I thought holistic was how you described golf courses until I was given a voucher for a holistic massage from one of Perpignan’s elite practitioners. Thursday afternoon found me stretched out on a well padded plank for sixty minutes as winter stiffened joints and muscles groups were individually addressed.

It felt quite extraordinary. Impossible to explain. Without doubt the secret is the practitioner. Ghislaine de Fremery 06 22 65 78 34. Excellent English. Fees vary, around 50€ for an hour or so. Located near the Theatre  de l’Archipels footbridge.

St Patrick’s Day

It’s a few weeks away however its always best to plan early. An early notification arrived in the in-tray for a night of Irish music at El Tap Café at Maureillas. Kevin Saunders has put together a band including Chris the Cat and local superstar Lizzie Dawson. El Tap is a great venue, its extraordinary how much talent there is in Maureillas. Book a table early.


Its not been all fun, plenty of admin this week. Applications, photocopying and scanning. All of which saw our much loved ancient printer being retired and a new one was sourced from FNAC’s new premises at our very own piece of Paris, Galleries Lafayette.

Speaking to a human, examining the goods in detail before buying is an increasingly rare joy. Interestingly we are now finding prices can actually be less than the on-line prices. Give it some thought next time you need to update your tech.

Coq au vin – feed four with no fuss

The secret is adding and reducing as much wine good wine as possible.

Clean and divide a heavy older bird into four of six. Into a deep casserole goes two medium onions sliced, two or three carrots. A similar amount of celery and a good sized leek, sliced. Bay leaves, thyme, parsley bundled together. Pepper. Lardons. A spoonful of goose fat, three spoonfuls of Fond de Veau, Chicken on top.

Cover with good quality wine. Lid on, start cooking at a minimum temp 6 hours before the dinner gong. Top up wine as required.

Two hours before serving the meat should be almost falling off the bone. You want it intact enough to serve whole pieces. Add a handful of fried whole button mushrooms.

At the last minute sprinkle rough chopped celery leaves and a few thin slices of red capsicum/bell pepper for decoration. Serve with red rice. Open one of the bottles of good red you’ve kept hidden in the pantry. It’s a special occasion.

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