Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy 2013--and a catch-up

   So what happened was this...Kate flew in for Christmas, there were meals and parties galore and--probably the biggest contributing factor to the recent paucity of posts: I couldn't find my camera. How it came to be in the cupboard where vases and candles live is still a total mystery....
   A quick catch-up starting with a look at a long lunch on December 13 with a bunch of friends in the village of Espazel.
    A cold and snowy day in the lee of the Pyrenees...
    This restaurant doesn't look like much from the outside but wait till you see the menu.
    "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille."
  This is the entry level menu for 22 euros (tax, tip, all included). Pay more and you get two further courses of foie gras and ceps. This was plenty for us.
   Like the wine, the aperitif came to the table in unmarked bottles. I think it was the deceptively powerful vin de noix, made from walnuts.
   Here's one of the charcuterie platters. Colossal sausages, high-intensity ham, pâté--and remember that, at this point, we were still in the preliminary stages...
    Everything was served family-style, including this gésiers salad (and a reminder: gésiers are duck gizzards), accompanied, as was the entire meal, by baskets of chewy bread.
    Some went for steak as their main course, others for duck or venison. We had one of the tastiest beefc daubes that I've ever eaten, wine-dark, huge in flavour and tender as anything.
     All the while, we'd been wondering about these large jars of preserves on a tray on the bar. After the cheese course, those of us who went for crèpes for dessert were given the tray, as well as an enormous bowl of whipped cream to add.
      I don't think any of us ate dinner that night.

1 comment:

River Rat said...

We ate there on our first trip to France, brought to Espezel by our friends who lived in Ste. Colombe s/l'Hers at the time. My husband had the daube and it was wonderful; I probably had one of the duck dishes. But I can remember the charcuterie, and we also had Rivesaltes as an apéritif, which was delicious. It was our first taste of French auberge meals.