L'AUBERGE VIGNERONNE, ST. CHINIAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

"...second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning..."

Peter Pan's directions don't exactly describe the route to L'Auberge Vigneronne, but after a couple of switchbacks and several single-lane bridges on a road above St. Chinian that climbs continuously until it ends in the little hamlet of La Bosque, you might think that they do. That's OK, though. Like arriving in Neverland, you'll be pleased that you made the trip.

No. L'Auberge Vigneronne is not Michelin quality. No dots or squirts or foams. And the green beans were probably out of a can. But it's one of those quirky, one-off French restaurants that's worth a visit now and again to remind you that French farmhouse cooking is worth the freight. And that's more than good enough for us.. 

How about a homemade, nut-based liqueur for an aperitif and a homemade quince liqueur for a digestif?  For starters, try an omelet, laced with wild asparagus, straight from a hen that lives up the hill on the farm behind the restaurant. One of those hens might be roasting on a spit in the fireplace, ready to be cut into chunks and served to the table family-style. Not in the mood for roast chicken? Try the other special of the day, pork cheeks slow-cooked in white wine, not red. An interesting twist. And if you are up for four courses and something a bit fancier, try the St. Jacques swimming in an earthy, creamy mushroom sauce.

Thirteen cheeses to taste? Really?

Six of us drank quite a bit of wine on the Sunday afternoon that we visited. Some had four courses, some three. Some had an apertif at the start, some had coffee at the finish. In the end, the bill came to 200€. As I said, worth the freight.













 

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