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.
Then, here is Jan’s entrée of pigeon:
Next, the plat principal of pintade (Guinea fowl), which Jan pronounced the best she had ever eaten:
My own main course consisted of small filletsof Saint-Pierre, or John Dory, beautifully cooked and served with a delicious broth. Here it is:
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:
My personal choice was a chocolate-based dessert that was, frankly, exquisite. Here it is:
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.