OUR TEAM

 

Catherine , our inspiration , who so many of you have known and loved has not been with us now for more than five years. She was creative. She was demanding. She was the gourmet chef. It was her who developed most of our range giving that special character to our products which are so admired in the world?

 Michelle our chef knows so well how to perfectly integrate our culture together with  his own efficiency and rigour.

 Christine and Susan, are always here and so very competent.

 And then there is our children, Marion, Louis and Arthur  who have always helped as soon as they were able to.

 And finally myself, Bruno, agriculturist, farmer and artisan

 

LOCATION

 

We have the good fortune to live in  a beautiful farm, Le Bourdieu, in the picturesque commune of Durance. This is in the Hautes Landes, bordering on the Lot-Et-Garonne, Landes and the Gers, and so is in the heart of the Gascony region of France.

 

Gascony, such an authentic region.....the people work hard but take the time to enjoy life.

They are attached to their sometimes disputed traditions: the hunt, the Bullfight, pelota and especially rugby. Go Agen!

 The climate is pleasant. The taste for good drink and good food is enormous.

 To summarize: it is great living in this beautiful region.

 

Now, the Hautes Landes... It is a small hilly region which is forested primarily with pine trees. In addition there are oak trees, acacias, cultivated cork, and many other species.

Until the last war, there were many trades in the forest: loggers, pruners, resin collectors(pine), log transporters using their mule and carts, charcoal makers, pit sawyers etc... This provided many people with jobs in our region. These have now almost disappeared and consequently there are many homes full of charm which have been abandoned in the forest.

Durance is typical of the surrounding villages: the population formerly declined but is now expanding based on  modern woodworking businesses. Some farmers live on their farms within the forests. We all appreciate its tranquil and family atmosphere.

 

Durance has a rich historical past: the parish was under Henri IV and was the hunting reserve of the Albret familly. It is a fortified bastide. Its small, simple but elegant castle which is at the heart of the Bastide was built during the "hundred years war”.

 In the Second World War , the Resistance had been very active in this sector of the Landais Forest.

 

And now Le Bourdieu: the House is very simple consisting of a single unit. It dates from the 1850s and has been recently expanded.

It owes much of Its charm to the landscape and countryside. It stands proudly on the top of a small hill overlooking fields, meadows and forests. In the past tobacco was cultivated here. Also there were cork oaks, and vines from which the wine was used in the distillation of Armagnac.

 We have 50 acres. In the 25 Years that we have been here we have farmed maize, barley, sheep and, of course, those famous ducks that we will now focus on.

 

DUCKS

 

Ducks arrive when they have 15 days.

 The hatchery which provides them selects and crosses "Beijing canes grey plumage" with Muscovy ducks or "red heads". The fruits of this union are our so-called MULARD ducks.

The purpose of this selection is to get robust, rustic and well prepared animals, for the liver to become fattened.

In this connection, it is important to know certain things: the duck, as the goose,  is a bird that migrates naturally from Europe to Africa for the winter.

To prepare for these long trips a significant amount of energy needs to be stored. Mother Nature has given them tanks accordingly: The Duck gavages any food that he finds during the few weeks prior to his trip and stores it as fat in his skin and liver. During the trip, his body re-transforms this fat into energy in order to fly long distances.

We use this natural fact of gavaging the Ducks without prejudice for the Ducks.

Moreover, if, during the period of feeding a duck is released, which sometimes happens for one reason or another, it does not eat for one or two weeks, and then resumes a normal biological rhythm.

This demonstrates that this process of feeding is fully reversible and therefore does not constitute neither a disease nor a torture.

 

But I went too fast! My ducks are now fifteen days old. They are still very small, and play in the straw . They eat crushed barley and corn from a feeding tray at their own will. The food is healthy, they drink pure water and they range freely. We take good care of them… The ducks are growing.

 Now they are two months old with early plumage. They spend most of their time  playing in the meadow looking for tender grass. Their meal of whole grains is distributed daily in the grass and they eat like ogres.

Time passes... Our four month old ducks are now adults. These are superb athletes with beautiful muscles and the brilliant plumage of health. They are quiet and waddle with dignity in small groups on the prairie.

 

Over the last four years I not only prepare my products from the ducks I have raised but also those from other colleague breeders of the Hautes-Landes. These all meet the same specifications and conditions.

 

THE KITCHEN

 

We cook our specialities at SICA which is a dozen miles from home

The SICA is very important to our professional life. This is a workplace shared with a dozen farmers who raise all kinds of poultry.

It includes a small slaughterhouse, cutting rooms, kitchen, sterilization, etc..., as well as many fridges needed for these various activities.

We have no staff in common, just the equipment. Each of us prepares his range of products with his team, according to his recipes, and markets them individually.

The quality of our equipment and the seriousness of our expertise have enabled us to obtain, from the veterinary services, the award of the precious label: "EEC standards".

 

A FEW NOTES TO FINISH

 

DIETETICS

 

Duck fat is not stored in muscles. Duck meat is quite lean.

 

The duck fat consists of unsaturated fatty acids. Consequently duck fat, even used in cooking, contains no 'bad' cholesterol! Duck fat plus red wine = little cardiovascular disease in the Southwest!

 

Gluten: this only exists in the duck orange sauce, the duck Salmis and  Duck casserole

 

Eggs: these only exist in the terrines of foie gras, the pates with green pepper, hazelnuts and pistachio

 

PORK

 

Five of our products contain pork: pate with green pepper, hazelnuts and pistachios, the cassoulet and the duck sausage. Others do not contain any pork

 

QUALITY

 

Our products are slightly more expensive than the mass produced industrial products... but they are not at all the same!

At each stage, we only choose the premium option, both for breeding and for the choice of ingredients.

We never use dyes, artificial agents of texture, flavour, other nitrite salts or preserving agents.

 

Now it is for you to taste and enjoy our products.

We are sure you will taste the difference........


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