One of the delights of writing this blog is the connection we make with people, usually electronically but often in person. Since regular readers of Radio Free Daglan obviously love southwest France, and either own holiday homes near us or else visit the area occasionally, it’s not unusual for readers to bump into my wife Jan and me in our village — or to actively seek us out.
So it is with new friends from Scotland, Shona and Tim, who vacationed near Daglan recently. Having corresponded long-distance in the past, we decided it would be fun to meet when they arrived, and so we were invited to their place for apéros not long ago. Over drinks and some delicious snacks, we discussed our tastes in restaurants, and I suggested that the four of us visit Le Vieux Logis for lunch. And that’s where we headed last Thursday.
I’ve written about the restaurant several times, but let me remind you just how good it is. Here’s some of what I wrote late in November last year:
With the end of 2013 approaching, you might be wondering which dining establishment in the Greater Daglan Area will be named Radio Free Daglan’s Favourite Restaurant of the Year.
Well, now I can reveal the winner: It’s the Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant at Le Vieux Logis, a member of the Relais & Châteaux group, located in Trémolat, less than an hour’s drive from our village. In tense voting, it came in just ahead of Le Grand Bleu in Sarlat.
Last Thursday, Shona, Tim, Jan and I enjoyed the multi-course lunch created by Chef Vincent Arnould (who is designated a Meilleur Ouvrier de France), and which is offered for 49 euros (up from 46 euros last year). The weather was perfect, so we sat outdoors, shaded by a canopy of linden trees, and were served faultlessly by the staff.
Lunch consists of amuse-bouches, then three starters, two main dishes, a cheese course, and three desserts — and each time we’ve eaten there, each dish has been different from the previous lunch. Taken together, they represent a kind of parade of culinary invention.
Let’s take a look, starting with the three amuse-bouches we enjoyed with a bottle of pink Champagne:
Next came a dish of intense tomato flavours, including a cold soup, balanced by a rosemary ice cream:
Then we enjoyed this scoop of crab salad, sitting in a pool of light sauce:
The foie gras course included a small roll of foie gras mi cuit, accompanied by a square of jellied meats and an artichoke garnish:
Next came our fish course:
The meat course was based around a piece of rare roast lamb:
The cheese course was possibly the favourite of our table. I’m honestly not sure what it was, exactly, except that the cheese had been whipped into a rich sauce and the top was generously covered in strips of black truffle: warm, rich, earthy, delicious. Here it is:
And then came dessert, including this small scoop of ice cream and the little cube on the right which (if I remember correctly) I loved:
At this point in the meal, I was beginning to lose the plot (for reasons that will become clear in a few seconds), and so I forgot to take a photo of the next dessert, which involved berries.
What was distracting was, first of all, a visit to our table by good friend Janice, who explained to Shona and Tim just how difficult the Meilleur Ouvrier de France program is, and why Chef is so acclaimed.
And then there was much discussion about the mystery man sitting at a table at the edge of the terrace. Shona was convinced it was Barry Manilow, and after a bit of investigation inside the hotel, Jan believes that it was a confirmed sighting. As for me, I am keeping my options open, although I have found that I’m singing “Mandy” to myself quite often these days.