We’re celebrating a mid winter wedding at the chateau this afternoon. Chef is starting with a roast garlic and herb consommé and continues with beautifully puffed up and light goat cheese soufflés. Then there’s a little ginger sorbet before the guinea fowl arrives. Chef has deliberately ordered small birds and will serve each guest a confit leg and a pan fried breast, with a Banyols Jus.
Chef did a dry run last week which was tortuous. It was just 11 in the morning when he brought out each course for a tasting and I was expected to take just one spoon or forkful of each, comment and leave the rest. How unfair. It was all utterly divine particularly the guinea fowl which I describe as a super tasty chicken. The difference is subtle but definitely worth the extra effort. It’s served with a carrot and swede puree infused with onion and cloves - the seasonal twist since this gives essence of bread sauce. I could happily have devoured the lot, even at 11am. It’s tough, this chateau life.
Guinea Fowl is definitely the new chicken. Just as the Bauduc Semillion is my new Chardonnay. So that’s our Christmas lunch sorted out then.
Just a twenty minutes easy drive from Merignac Airport is the Cafe de L’Esperance in the village of Bouliac. We like to send our house party guests here for lunch if they’re flying from Merignac in the afternoon. If you set out to create a cafe to match the bar in Allo Allo then you’d do well to start here. Expect Rene to walk through the door at any moment, hotly followed by a string of stocking clad well rouged waitresses . If you’re going to be disappointed not to catch a glimpse of thigh then take consolation in the fabulous horsd’ouvre table. Why don’t more places embrace the horsd’ouvre concept? I think we should start one at the chateau. This week they had the most delicious Coronation Chicken, (yes, here in France!), plus some very mustardy remoulade, lentils, cucumber in creme fraiche, marinated feta, oh the list goes on and on, leaving very little room for their main act here which is the steak. Take it easy on the steak front though because for dessert they revert to something like the horsd’ouvre approach and you choose as many of the minature portions of tart and mousse as you like. It’s dangerous stuff. If you’re in the area for a wine tour then you’ll be pleased to hear that they offer an impressive wine list with an excellant range of wines by the glass. http://www.saintjames-bouliac.com/fr/index.php