Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dinner at the Chateau.

    Our wedding anniversary a few weeks ago was a June day as gloriously sunny as it was the day we were married. A fine excuse to go out to dinner.
    The Abbaye-Chateau in Camon is only about 10 minutes away but, although we'd met the owners (and I'd written a story about them) we'd never eaten there. Now was as good a time as any to do it. 
    Camon is a storybook village, set in a green bowl of countryside and ancient beyond belief with some of its original stone walls still intact., quite literally "one of the most beautiful villages in France."
     You can read all about the Abbaye-Chateau at

The stunning entrance hall is tiled in every shade of russet, rust and tawny brown.

    Dinner is un menu--no decisions, and personally, I love it when I have to do is sit there and be brought plate after plate of delicious things.
     We began with drinks on the terrace, a special cocktail. Guess the mystery ingredient and the drink's on the house, owner Peter Lawton told us. I did actually guess it but then thought "nah..."
     Into the main courtyard for dinner where tables were set up on the edge of a lawn. Somewhere buried in the clutter on my desk is the menu....aaah, found it.
The first course--a light but substantial salad of quail, peeled white grapes and walnuts.

Gazpacho and a croute spread with tapenade.

I wanted to show you the table which manages, like the abbey itself, to be a comfortable blend of casual and formal. Isn't that simple wreath of ivy round the candle holder an effective idea?

Filet de rascasse, salicorne et sauce poivron rouge. I could easily have eaten two of these. I forgot to photograph the next course: lamb, with creamed spinach, ratte potatoes, and a caper and shallot sauce. Chef Tom Sleigh works with what he finds locally and in season. His style is unfussy (it's that same mix of casual and formal). He simply picks the best ingredients he can and lets them do the talking. 
Three desserts. A tarte au citron, pear poached in red wine and pear ice cream. 

Time to go home.

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