Monday, April 18, 2011

The Good Life at the Château de Cavanac

    Kate, our daughter, is staying with us so, for a treat, we booked us all into the Château de Cavanac, a few clicks south of Carcassonne. I'd heard good things about this place from my cousin in Ireland and local friends so, after a morning and lunch in the old walled cité, we drove there with high expectations, parked outside tall wrought-iron gates and crunched our way across the gravel into reception.
    The chateau is just plain gorgeous. Each room is decorated differently, and assigned the name of a flower. Ours overlooked this courtyard filled with palms and oleanders. 

    Dinner here is the kind of sumptuous meal that makes you glad you don't have to drive home afterwards. A five course event, complete with wine, it costs 42 euros--or a bit under $60 (US, Canadian or Australian--they're all around the same at the moment).
     The long beamed room was already almost full by the time we sat down. A wood oven blazed in the background behind a glass-fronted counter laden with meats and produce. Three opened bottles of wine stood on the table (the chateau has its own vineyard) and seconds later, peach kirs arrived and a basket of small peppery pastries typical of the region. I won't walk you through the entire menu (just click on ) and I'll only show you one photo--my first course, one of the four variations on foie gras you could start with.

     Roasted in a wood oven, the lamb was probably the best I've ever tasted, crisp and smoky outside, and meltingly tender. Next came a platter of five different kinds of local goat cheese with a pot of honey to drizzle over them. By the time we reached dessert, all I could cope with was raspberries and cream. A little glass of verveine tea and so to bed.
A look at the vineyards the next morning before we headed home.

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