Please excuse the title of this post, Sunday at ‘The French House Party’ was a another day to remember, filled with excitement, history, intrigue and lots of fantastic food and flavour experiences, typical really and why I love coming here.The morning started with the communal breakfast outside as the weather has been fabulous, with fresh everything, Fruit, Bread, Jams, Cheese, Ham, Tomatoes, Croissant, Tea or Coffee and always needed to set you up for a very busy day!
This morning we were delighted to have ‘Remi’ Touja as our tutor, holder of the French Sucre D’or, a national award for outstanding Patisserie as shown by the placard adorning his shop front, this guy was seriously good. So, what about Chocolate Brownies and Coconut Panacotta, what’s that all about, taking what seems very simple and elevating It was the order of the day.As is usual with my reviews of personal trips on cooking vacations and the like, I won’t divulge the complete experience as it really will not do justice to what goes on and what you experience, suffice to say we all learnt lots about presentation, flavour mixing and how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary and it was enlightening to say the least! This is my 3rd trip to the French House Party and I will definitely be back for more.After lunch and a brief rest we headed out for the town of Limoux.
Limoux is a commune and sub-prefecture in the Aude department, a part of the ancient Languedoc province and the present-day Occitane region in southern France. It lies on the river Aude about 30 km (19 miles) due south of Carcassonne. Its vineyards are famous for being first to produce sparkling wine known as Blanquette de Limoux, that’s what WIKI says!
I’ve been to Limoux before and really enjoyed it, and this time was no different. Didier was our guide at Maison GUINOT, the oldest producer of Blanquettes and Cremants since 1875. These fine sparkling wines predate Champagne and it was Dom Perignon that came to Limoux, saw the technique (aka nicked it), and took it back to the Champagne region, the rest is a lesson in marketing!The tour of the cellars and its history are great fun and really interesting, the produce is exceptional and awesome value, you cannot get it in the U.K. except by mail order as they limit production. The other stuff in U.K. supermarkets marketed as Crémante and Blanquette is mass produced by other local ‘Maison’ and they do not use the same old traditional methods which you will find about if you come and visit. Guess what, my suitcase is a bit heavier, oops.
After the trip to Maison Guinot, we headed across country to the restaurant for our evening meal, it was a delightful drive, the sun was a stunning colour lighting up the countryside, filled with grape vines and we all chatted about the trip to the ‘Guinot bubble factory’, which was fab!
The location is stunning with views out to Carcassonne and the surrounding countryside which was stunning as you can see in the heading picture.Domaine Michaud is a “gastronomical’ B&B set near the base of the Pyrenees, and close to Carcassonne. The owners are Dutch; Jolanda, Fred, Naomi and Sandor the exceptional 21 year old chef who provided us with the most amazing meal.
Service was delightful, each dish being explained. There is no menu, you just book and they ask if you have any dislikes and allergies, the food was just stunning, stunning, yep, STUNNING.
I have eaten in a few restaurants, with the odd star or two, honestly, this is THE BEST so far, beyond doubt. What an amazing chef Sandor is, age 21!
Oh my god, what a meal. If was to have a ‘bucket list’ for last meals this HAS to be it, it was F&%$@£? (expletive) amazing!
There was a moment when Moira (our host) and I shared eyes (not that way 🙂 as the wine choice was based on the two vineyards we had tasted on my last trip to the French House Party in 2017, Domaine Le Fort and Domaine Gayda, both exceptional for their own reasons. Naomi did an excellent job of explaining why the wines had been paired with the food we were eating.
That’s it for tonight, its well after midnight, and I am sadly travelling back to the U.K tomorrow, but the review is not finished yet, hopefully I will get the rest finished in the morning.
…………………Until Next Time………………L8ers……………