Our (Michelin) starred Christmas

Today the latest issue of Paris Match arrived in our mailbox, with an article on world-famous Chef Alain Ducasse preparing a “Dîner Grand Siècle à Versailles.”

Leafing through the food photos, I said to my wife Jan that I didn’t think the dishes looked as good as what we ate on Christmas Day at the Michelin-starred Le Gindreau, in Saint-Médard, about 45 minutes south of our village of Daglan. And she agreed.

The chef at Le Gindreau, Pascal Bardet, worked with Chef Ducasse for 18 years, including five years as “chef de cuisine à la tête du mythique Louis XV à Monaco.” (Even if you don’t know much French, you’ll probably get the drift of that.)

Actually, we had planned to have Christmas Day lunch chez nous, with our good friends Elisabeth and Gerhard, whose holiday home is mere steps from our house. We had visions of a prime rib roast with all the trimmings.

Then we had visions of all the washing and cleaning up afterwards. So we opted for Le Gindreau. And were very glad we did. (I won’t go on and on about the restaurant, as I’ve reviewed it many times. Just type “Le Gindreau” into the search box at the top right of this column, and you’ll see the references.)

But for a look at our feast, here are a few of the dishes — starting with my entrée, which featured slow-cooked mushrooms in red wine, so dark that they looked like small beets.

A rich mushroom medley.

A rich mushroom medley.

Then, here is Jan’s entrée of pigeon:

A colourful plate of pigeon meat and trimmings.

A colourful plate of pigeon meat and trimmings.

Next, the plat principal of pintade (Guinea fowl), which Jan pronounced the best she had ever eaten:

A perfect dish of Guinea fowl.

A perfect dish of Guinea fowl.

My own main course consisted of small filletsof Saint-Pierre, or John Dory, beautifully cooked and served with a delicious broth. Here it is:

Delicate fish in a delicious broth.

Delicate fish in a delicious broth.

We had started our meal with (of course) glasses of Champagne, and then moved along to white wine from Alsace and red wine from the Côtes du Rhône. When it came to the end of our meal, we decided to forget about dessert wines, and just focus on the food. One choice was this tropical fruit-based dish:

Fresh pineapple and passion fruit sauce -- among other treats.

Fresh pineapple and passion fruit sauce — among other treats.

My personal choice was a chocolate-based dessert that was, frankly, exquisite. Here it is:

What's wrong with chocolate that a bit more chocolate won't cure?

What’s wrong with chocolate that a bit more chocolate won’t cure?

Interestingly, for all that wonderful food, the one dish that I loved the most was not even a “major” plate — it was the serving of butter that came with the offerings of fresh-baked bread and rolls. Into the butter was incorporated an amazing amount of finely minced black truffles, and I think I could have eaten it until I exploded. Fortunately, I did not.

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

6 Responses to Our (Michelin) starred Christmas

  1. Double D's says:

    Looks amazing. Great way to showcase another year of your Blog and our favorite Blog. Happy New Year!

  2. Gaynor Black says:

    Wow! I had actually been wondering what you would get up to for Christmas! We figured out how to get hold of oysters from Galicia so we had a happy time en casa with them and some cava. Our wild mushroom man at the market was trying to get me to buy a black truffle and I didn’t because I don’t know what to do with it — so the idea of finely chopping and incorporating with butter is a tasty beginning. Hope you and Jan enjoy a very happy and prosperous New Year!

    • loren24250 says:

      Hi Gaynor, Oysters are very big here around the holidays, but we had plenty of them earlier in the year. As for the truffle, first put it in the middle of a basket of eggs, leave it in the fridge at least overnight, and your scrambled eggs will have a nice truffle-ish taste. (Also finely mince a bit of the truffle and add it to the scrambled eggs mixture.) The truffle butter idea is also very good. And of course you can just thinly slice truffle over things like a salad, or even a dish like mac-and-cheese. finally, Happy New Year!

      • Gaynor Black says:

        Thanks Loren. Im definitely going to give truffles a go. The oysters were for us a big treat because they are not very common in Malaga but now we know how to get a hold of them. Feliz 2017!

  3. loren24250 says:

    Merci beaucoup, bon chance (avec les huitres), et Bonne Année!

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