You’re in the Limousin and really fancy a cup of tea, cake maybe lunch or a big breakfast? You’re in France and not everything is open for those wishing to start the day with bacon and eggs or a four o’clock cream tea. Look no further, Jaqueline’s Château du Gâteaux has emerged.
The quintessential french maison transformed to tea room opened it’s doors in July serving a wonderous selection of hand-made cakes, meals and beverages. Sitting on the terrace overlooking St Yrieix-La-Perche’s park gardens or in the cosy fireside front room looking at the inviting menu you start to wonder how this all came about.
Have you stirred your tea, nibbled your courgette cake, then we’ll begin.
Twelve months ago Jacqueline was going through a painful separation and wanted to start afresh on, as she put it, her road to independence. St Yrieix is located about 40km south of Limoges, just north of the Dordogne border with approximately 7,000 inhabitants, not to mention tourists, students, business people, club members, all of whom need either refreshments, a friendly place to pop into or a venue to hold a meeting, party, exhibition or even baby shower. Jacqueline had noticed that the town would be well served with such a place and wanted to offer something unique with a customer service to make the experience special.
Now, as a 53yr old mother with ideas of starting a new venture how was she going to make it happen.
It’s not easy when you have an 8yr old son, nowhere to live and are also an expat. It seemed an insurmountable mountain was blocking her path. Tearfully Jacqueline said to her son one day, ‘I’ve got a good idea about opening an ‘English Tea Room’. It’s what the town needs but how on earth am I ever going to get this off the ground?’
‘Well Mum, you could always buy one,’ replied her son. Of course, what a brilliant suggestion.
It was a year that kept Jacqueline busy, looking for a building, moving house, talking to the banks and council, paperwork, business plans, bagging kitchen equipment, decorating and furnishing, sourcing crockery, food suppliers and of course employ staff for her project. Twelve months later the tea room was ready to get its teapots running!
During the past five weeks the chef has been busy starting every day with some tasty platters for the ever discerning customer and the cake makers haven’t even got time to lick their fingers. All nationalities appear on the terrace and if you’re lucky enough you’ll see the intrepid Jacqueline gliding effortlessly between the tables as she manages, organiser in hand, to arrange the smooth running of her well deserved and quite exceptional dream. St Yrieix -La-Perche is a very lucky place.