I was thinking about popping out to ‘le boulangerie’ for a Pain d’Epi but that isn’t going to happen, I am back in the UK but at least the sun has briefly shown itself, the next best thing (and its very good), is a Richard Bertinet loaf which is available from some Waitrose stores, if you live in the South West (ish).
Continuing on with the ‘adventure’ in Gastronomy, we headed off to Bize-Minervois to visit a very special place, ‘L‘Oulibo‘.
L’Oulibo is an Olive producing co-operative and whilst France only produces a very small quantity of Olive’s and Oil, L’Oulibo produces the VERY best.
We were treated to a really interesting tour by an extremely knowledgeable young lady who explained how the co-operative worked, the history of the Olive and the end to end process. The best Olives to eat are known as Lucques, which are a green variety and quite sweet.
I will be honest at this point, I LOVE Olive oil but cannot get my taste buds to appreciate Olive’s, I did bring a jar back though as we did use them in one of the recipes during the course!!
We ended the tour with a really interesting video, and then a visit to the shop to purchase some produce. Along with the Lucques Olives I did get a jar of Olive and Tomato Tapenade, we had eaten some as an ‘Hors d’oeuvre‘ spread on crispy bread, the previous day.
The menu at the top of the post is for La Marquière, which was our final destination after a stroll around ‘Carcassonne‘, the famous medieval city.
Carcassonne reminded me of Tallin in Estonia, conical turrets a’top long cylinders of stone, hewn by simple tools and medieval grunt!
Sorry about that, had a bit of a moment as Carcassonne is such a magical place, as are the many restaurants spread around the city walls, and inside the protective shroud of stone.
So, what can I say about La Marquière, EAT THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
First one of the ‘Amuse- bouche‘, Foie Gras, with Gingerbread and and a thin layer of jelly, it was AMAZING………
Next was local bread, with home made ‘Charcuterie‘ and a lovely spread with plenty of garlic and a soft goats cheese, it was bl@@dy delicious.
Next was the Foie Gras, sorry, I do love the stuff and when its done well, it’s very good (if you like this sort of thing), it was VERY good and had been prepared with a local Muscat wine an served with two ‘chutneys’, Fig and Onion and Brioche bread.
For my ‘Plat’, main course in French I went for the Médaillons de Lotte en cocotte, coulis de Crustacés, petits Légumes et pommes vapeur. Monkfish, Shellfish sauce and Veg!! its was beautifully, subtle, rich and really tasty.
It would be rude not to have a glass of wine or two when n France, our treat was a 2010 Château du Donjon. Very deep crimson in color, with some toasty aromas from oak ageing, it delivers ripe fruit, vanilla and chocolate aromas, It is full and generous on the palate with a long, powerful finish supported by soft tannin’s. Yeah, it was Awesome……….
I had to order my dessert when I selected my starter and main, I was going for something a bit theatrical a Sphère de chocolat noir de Valrhona, mousse Mascarpone et Girottes. Warm Chocolate Sauce was poured by the waitress and…………. it slowly melts the top of the sphere. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Service was spot on, as was the food. This is a family run restaurant, and was lovely and cosy, un-fussy with impeccable food. If ever you are in Carcassonne and looking for somewhere to eat this place comes HIGHLY recommended.
We had an amazing time learning from Robert Abraham, our first ‘chef d’excellence’ and Midi-Pyrenees Chef of the year as one of his many accolades.
Our next Chef (above) was to be Jean-Marc Boyer, a Paris trained Michelin star Chef, and named as one of the worlds up and coming chefs ‘to look out for’ by world renowned chef, writer and restaurateur Daniel Boulud who runs Le Cirque in New York, considered to be one of the best restaurants in the world…… No pressure then!!!
………………Until next time……………….L8ers……