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A feast fit for Balzac for the 25th Telethon

A substantial part of the Telethon held in December 2011 in Aubas and neighbouring villages was staged at the Château de Sauveboeuf, which Claude and Florence Douce, eminent patrons of this noble cause, made available to the charity workers. After a talk by Gonzague Saint Bris on his recent biography of Balzac and a harp and guitar recital by the “Fingers Crossed” ensemble came a splendid banquet, like those we read about in Balzac’s novels, prepared by chef Eric Boyard and his “Il pleut dans ma bouche” kitchen brigade, assisted for the occasion by the “Aubas’Tringue” troupe of actors. A feast and a feat that transported the kitchens and the banqueting hall to the age of the great Flemish masters. A heavenly meal with a very special treat in store, as you’ll see in Ferrassie TV’s coverage of this special event organised to raise funds for the A.F.M., Association Française contre les Myopathies.


Honoré de Balzac wrote: « L’espoir est une mémoire qui désire » (« Hope is a memory that desires »). Hope of a better life and good health, enjoying once more those carefree times before illness set in. That’s what the Telethon charity workers have been striving for over the past 25 years. In the canton of Montignac, the group of associations “En Quatre pour l’Espoir” have been kept on their toes for 18 years, working cheerfully and enthusiastically to collect more and more donations. They’re proud to be able to lend a hand and they’re happy to be doing it all together. Just around the corner, as luck would have it, there is a couple of devoted sponsors, Claude and Florence Douce, who open up their Château de Sauvebœuf to them and encourage performers and celebrities from the artistic world to come and entertain the crowds.
After the actress Mylène Demongeot, Le Quatuor des Frères Capuçon, the writer Christiane Collanges and the storyteller Pierre Bellemare, the central theme for this year’s Telethon was Honoré de Balzac, the man who invented the serialized novel. Gonzague Saint Bris, the author of the biography: “Balzac, une vie de roman”, gave a remarkable talk at the Château de Sauvebœuf. Full of verve, inspired, the writer evoked “the rather unattractive little boy who didn’t have his mother’s love but who was well aware of his special talents!”. The man who invented the idea of characters who keep reappearing, time after time: no fewer than 3,500 characters in 85 novels.

Then we were treated to a moment of pure delight: a harp and guitar recital given by Cécile Lencement and Stu Mac Murrough who form the duo “Fingers Crossed”. Fingers crossed, symbolizing what everyone was willing to happen that evening: new hope for those who are in pain and suffering from neuromuscular diseases. And what was the big surprise? A little nightingale (no, not Florence!) called Céline Victores-Benavente. The soprano, with force and sensibility, gave an exquisite rendering of subtle, delicate and playful arias from operettas.
The lovely lady then performed a dreamy duo with Jean Goyetche, a tenor with a beautiful bewitching voice, accompanied on the piano by Jean-François Boyer. These young artists, along with other equally talented opera singers, can be heard each year towards the end of July at the “Più di Voce en Périgord” festival which is held in Plazac and nearby villages. A festival organised by Patrick Magnée who is also the president of a group of associations called “En Quatre pour l’Espoir”. These singers added a breath of romanticism to this gourmet supper, orchestrated by Eric Boyard and his skillful staff at “Il pleut dans ma bouche”, with the complicity of the “Aubas’Tringue” troupe of actors.
Pumpkins metamorphosed into soup tureens, beetroots bearing quail kebabs, violet purée made with vitelotte potatoes contrasting with green peas, as green as they come, gammon roasting over the embers in the fireplaces… this was their way of preparing the “produits du terroir” (the local products) to create a unique pictorial environment. It was as if we were all in a sort of “Garden of Earthly Delights”, as stunning as a painting by the great master of Flemish painting in the 15th century, Jérôme Bosch.

Everyone was happy to display their artistic talents to support the muscular dystrophy charity. In conclusion, once more, Aubas and the canton of Aubas beat all the records in South Dordogne, since nearly 25,500 euros were raised thanks to all the events organised and all the entertainment provided.

Sophie Cattoire

Translated into English by Valérie Saraben

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