Lunching frenzy

When my wife Jan and I used to travel on vacation from Toronto to Daglan, we would eat lunch outside our home just about every day — not only to try new restaurants, but also to visit new towns and villages. But now that we live here full-time, we eat lunch in restaurants much less frequently.

However, we are currently in the midst of something of a lunching frenzy.

The reason is the presence of our friend Joanne, who owns a holiday home very near us, in the heart of Daglan. She arrived at the Bergerac airport on Wednesday from England, and Jan picked her up and delivered her to Daglan. And so the lunching began!

On Wednesday, we ate at La Cantine, the new bistro/café of chef Fabrice Lemonnier. I’ve written about La Cantine a few times recently, so I won’t insert any photos in this posting, nor any comments. (Except to say that I really, really enjoyed my entrée of escargots with slices of chorizo in a creamy sauce over toast.)

On Thursday, the three of us were off to lunch at Le Diabolo-Fraise in the hamlet of Nabirat. Again, I’ve written about the restaurant several times, so I won’t go into much detail — except to say that with five courses of always-fresh food in its daily (set) menu, it offers possibly the best value in the Greater Daglan Area.

As always, we began with a nicely spiced vegetable soup; followed by a composed salad; followed by meaty lacquered spare ribs served with pasta in a tomato sauce; followed by cheese; and finished with lemon sorbet and fresh strawberries and cookies. The composed salads are always different, and offer a lot of variety. Here’s mine:

Sausage, egg, vegetables -- a delicious mix.

Sausage, egg, vegetables — a delicious mix.

So much for the value meals — on Friday, it was onward and upward to Michelin-starred dining at Le Gindreau, in the village of Saint-Médard in the département of the Lot, less than an hour’s drive from Daglan.

After a coupe (of Champagne) and some excellent amuse-bouches, we began enjoying our entrées with a nice bottle of Sancerre. Jan started with a rich soup of fish (with pieces of various fish) and smoked eel, while Joanne and I each enjoyed a lovely dish of green asparagus, which tasted wonderful and looked like this:

The sabayon on the side was a perfect accompaniment.

The sabayon on the side was a perfect accompaniment.

Next came the main courses, which were lamb for Jan and Joanne, and sweetbreads for me. (I am a huge fan.) As loyal and careful readers of Radio Free Daglan will know, I especially love the sweetbreads as served at Le Grand Bleu, the Michelin-starred restaurant in nearby Sarlat. So when I had the dish at Le Gindreau, Jan naturally asked me which I preferred. I answered that they were so different in execution that I couldn’t favour one over the other — they are both delicious. And here’s my plat principal:

A rich sauce, with morel mushrooms, were among the extra touches.

A rich sauce, with morel mushrooms, were among the extra touches.

To accompany the lamb as well as the sweetbreads, I chose a Côtes-du-Rhône that turned out to be a hit with all three of us. It was the 2014 “La Sagesse” from Domaine Gramenon, made solely from the Grenache grape, which we found to be rich and intense and delicious. As the winery’s own tasting notes say, “The palate is complex and powerful, a lot of structure and intensity, everything develops harmoniously.” For those interested in wines, here’s the label:

The producer is Domaine Gramenon.

The producer is Domaine Gramenon.

For dessert, both Jan and Joanne had soufflés, while I had this wonderful concoction involving lots of salted caramel with peanuts:

Creamy and crunchy, all at the same time.

Creamy and crunchy, all at the same time.

Finally, to give you a look at the surroundings where we ate, this photo shows a nearby table where a birthday was being celebrated, with a great sizzling sparkler lighting things up:

The interior of Le Gindreau.

The interior of Le Gindreau.

Today (Saturday), it was back to more ordinary — but still delicious — fare, this time at Le Tournepique, the Basque restaurant at Castelnaud. There I had one of the tapas menus, while Jan and Joanne started with tapas and then moved on to mussels and frites.

Joanne leaves tomorrow, so you might expect that our lunching frenzy is over. But no. Good friends Elisabeth and Gerhard arrive from the Isle of Wight to their nearby holiday home, and we are all set to have lunch with them (and friend Richard) at La Cantine.

Can you guess what I’ll be having? Here’s a clue:

The rich, salty butter was perfect with the fresh oysters.

Salty, buttered bread and oysters at La Cantine.

Yes, it’s oyster Sunday. Of course, this will not take place until we attend the May 8 ceremony at the village’s war memorial, to mark Victory in Europe Day. Lest we forget.


This entry was posted in Cafés in France, Food, French food, Life in southwest France, Restaurants in France, Restaurants in the Dordogne, Restaurants in the Lot, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Lunching frenzy

  1. Rosemary McCaffrey says:

    I always enjoying your posts, Loren. Happy Mother’s Day to Jan.

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