My holiday in France had three aims: visiting Maman et Papa in their new home, going to look at lots of animals, and the traditional French holiday diversion of eating a ton of lovely nosh. My parents have moved to the Limousin, one of the less populated and more rural parts of France, known for its namesake cattle breed, so beef was high on the menu. Limousin cattle are of sturdy build and are a particularly rich brown shade: they look beautiful and indeed delicious. And so it proved – the beef I had at the Relais de Vayres restaurant as part of its regional speciality menu was the best I’ve had in a very long time, deep in flavour and really rewarding a good long chew.

Other regional specialities include chestnut liqueur (I saved this experience for next time), foie gras, a warm salad including smoked duck and lovely gizzards, and a pot of some mysterious greasy substance which I think – curse me for not noting this down – was called grittin. We thought it might be the local equivalent of schmalz but it turns out that it’s a residue from pork fat after the fat itself has been extracted – whatever’s left in the cauldron after you remove the lovely fat is turned into this stuff and potted. On hearing this I felt a bit less guilty for not actually liking it; it looked and tasted rather like old school sandwich spread.