We took a road trip to Bourg on Bresse on Thursday. The intention was to visit the Monastery of Brou, somewhere I’ve wanted to see since our maiden French cruise in 2000. So, we pootled over in the morning only to discover when we arrived that there were only 30 minutes to closing time for a 2 hour lunch break. Reluctant to fork out 6 Euros each for half an hour, we motored on to our planned lunch stop, at Vonnay. This was to be my birthday lunch, somewhat ahead of the actual date. Vonnay is the home of Georges Blanc, and, though we knew we would not be welcome in the George Blanc itself without black tie dress, we had heard that Le Petit Blanc, at the Ancienne Auberge was just as good, if somewhat less pricey. This is the original home of the Blanc Family, who have been there since 1872. The chefs of the family until the 1960s were the women, Mere et Grandmere Blanc.
We rolled up close to one o’clock and were given a lovely table for two in the back conservatory, overlooking the terrace umbrageous. The day was grey and windy so there was no outdoor dining. While MWNN was availing of the loo facilities, I was greeted by the chef, who was doing the rounds of the tables. Can’t be George, I thought, he’s too young. Wrong. At the shop selling all things George Blanc, wine, charcuterie, memorabelia, a postcard showing a picture of George, with a
Bresse chook in his arms, revealed that my chef was indeed the famous 3 Michelin star man himself.
Need add that the food was wonderful? My starter was described as hot lamb pate en crout – succulent aromatic meat encased in the finest pastry I’ve ever had in France. (MWNN scoffs that isn’t saying much, the French don’t do good pastry.) My main course had to wait as MWNN had the 5 course gournande menu, chosing a hot pate of blanc volaile as his second entrée. His main course was the celebrated poulet de Bresse crème, which Georges Blanc made famous throughout Europe. His cheese course contained a surprisingly good Bresse Bleu which he said if he could ever find for sale, he would certainly buy. Both our puddings were great. Mine was gateau Grandmere Blanc –orange madeira cake served with an orange sorbet and fresh mandarins. MWNN’s was a huge macaroon with fresh raspberries and raspberry sorbet. The meal was fairly expensive, coming in at around the same price I paid for MWNN’s birthday dinner at Le Raison, in Pont de Vaux, last October.
The most expensive part of the meal was the wine. They had a 1998 Cornas on the menu which I was desperate to have. When we explained to the waiter that we were in the car and had a fair way to go home, he suggested we have a glass from the bottle and he would cork it for us to take away with us.
The Cornas went very well with the cassoulet I cooked last night for Dick and Janet from Longfellow. (Fellow narrowboaters who moored at our home port for the first time last winter.) It’s Janet’s birthday on 30th Sept but they return to the UK tomorrow, so I invited them for a joint birthday dinner aboard our boat, to thank them for their hospitality to MWNN last winter, while I was with Lesley at Domaine des Pateureux.
jennylyle Took a pic of
Elodie to show you she's still afloat and looking good. presume she is all yours now?
Chapter 14 now up, thanks to bogwitch