Monday, 25 May 2015

An anniversary weekend.

Thank you everyone for the good wishes for our anniversary - actually it's today, 25th May, but we went away at the weekend to celebrate.

Mr FD got back from cycling, and after a shower and a quick load of washing we were ready to go. The drive to the hotel was about an hour and we got to the hotel with plenty of time to sample the luxurious shower before dinner. The room was lovely - I should have taken a photo, but I didn't.
However, somebody else did:

 
and above is the bathroom.

We went to the restaurant at about 7.45 and the meal was (generally) delicious! 


We had an apero to start - Mr FD had an orange juice (still rehydrating after cycling) and I had a kir. This came with a plate of mis-en-bouches - little tasty things. I can't remember how they were described, but one was a little vegetable tart, with a blob of creme fraiche, there was a little verrine of smoked fish-and-fishy-foam, something a bit liver-y which I didn't like, and a little roll of chicken. 
The service was very attentive - our napkins were handed to us, there was a waiter just for bread rolls, there was a sommelier (more on him later!), there was a handing-the-menus-out waiter...etc etc.

So we started with:
Seiche et Quinoa au Citron Yuzu Servis dans un Coffret à l'Encre,
Emulsion Onctueuse au Fenouil
This was squid, served on a bed of quinoa with a little light, crispy pillow of crunchiness, allegedly made of squid ink, with a creamy fennel sauce.  It was very delicious, and very pretty too. I considered taking photos, but we decided that the restaurant was too "refined" for me to be whipping out my camera. However, while this is not our starter, it gives an idea of how lovely the presentation is:


The next course was:

Merlu Sauvage des Côtes Bretonnes Cuit Lentement,
Ail des Ours et Epinards, Asperge Blanche de Marsat, Beurre d'Orange à la Coriandre
Wild hake served with bear garlic (?!) spinach, white asparagus and orange-coriander butter. I have just discovered that "ail des Ours" is in fact wild garlic. This was also very delicious and very beautifully served.

Next came:

Dos de Lapin Rôti, le Jus Clair au Thym,
Petits Pois, Chou Pointu et Jeune Carotte, Condiment Petits Pois à la Moutarde de Charroux
 Rabbit with peas and carrots,  a pea purée and a thyme gravy.
This was our least favourite course - rather a disappointment, if I'm honest. The rabbit was tasty but toothsome, and the peas were quite big and - not exactly tough, but certainly not soft and delicious.

we then had 
 Fromages Frais et Affinés des Terres d’Auvergne
Regional cheeses. I decided to let the waiter choose the cheeses for me, and he gave me a selection which included a very nice goats' cheese, a creamy St Nectaire, a not-so-good Tomme des Montagnes and a smoked cheese. 



Then there was dessert: 
« Accord n°2 »:
Le Chocolat origine Madagascar 64%, le Gingembre et le Rhum Ambré
 We did take a photo of this, but I need to wait for Mr FD to send it to me from his phone. This was because there was a message piped in chocolate around the edge. I wasn't sure I'd like this, as I don't tend to go for chocolate desserts but it was absolutely lovely - fruity, chocolatey and gingery all at the same time. Nom,nom.
Finally we had tea-for-Mr-FD-and-coffee-for-me. And with the coffe/tea came not just after dinner mints but an entire trolley of things to choose from to nibble on!! I was so blown away that we let the young waiter choose for us - there was a selection including macarons, fruit jelly, chocolates, shortbread biscuits, mints...it was amazing!

As I said, the service was very attentive, including the Sommelier who poured the wine into our glasses as we emptied them. By chance I found this description of him from The Chepstow Voice:
"The sommelier was about five feet tall, balding, very camp and sort of mewed like a cat. He was charming."That's about right!
He had been very serious all evening - polite, respectful, attentive - but as he came to pour the last wine into my glass I said "No, no, give it to M'sieur," as Mr FD hadn't drunk as much as I. But Mr FD replied "No, no...you have it!" So I agreed (well, it would be rude not to!) And the Sommelier winked at us both and just said "seventy-thirty!" and then smiled. We both fell about laughing as we realised he'd been keeping a bit of a tally on the percentage drunk by us both. I suppose it sounds a bit rude just written like this, but it was the sudden, unexpected "cheekiness" and break in his demeanour that made it fun and not judgmental in any way. And it was probably spot-on too!!

After all this we went for a little stroll outside, to see if we could see the view over Clermont Ferrand, but we couldn't. Never mind. Time for bed!

The next day we had breakfast and then went to Puy de Dome. We hadn't been up since the rack-and-pinion train was put in place a couple of years ago.

 
Although it was hazy at the top, and the wind was bitingly cold, it was still very pleasant to walk around. It has been very nicely laid out - it isn't wild mountainside any longer, but with the number of visitors per year it couldn't be. The old car park has been grassed over, and wheelchair-friendly paths laid all around the summit. 
which makes it better for people like me who are shaky on their feet! There were paragliders out - with the wind they were going at quite a speed! - and quite a lot of people. We left at 12.00 and the trains going up to the top were standing room only. It's a good idea to get there early, I think!

We tried a couple of restaurants for lunch, but they were either full or didn't have a small menu. However just by chance we found a little pizzeria that was open, and we had a very nice truffade each
 

Truffade is basically cheese-and-potatoes, served with dried Auvergnate ham and green salad. Not that small! Particularly when followed by a strawberry sundae: cheesecake ice cream, strawberries, mini-meringues, strawberry jelly, strawberry sauce, topped with chantilly cream and Haribo strawberry jelly sweets! We didn't have much tea when we got home!

Mr FD drove us home along one of the cycle routes that he does with the cycle club. Very pretty - but I wouldn't want to do it on a bike!

All in all a gastronomically enjoyable weekend. Good to celebrate! And we were so taken wth the success of the saving 2€ pieces that we're doing it again to give ourselves another treat at the end of the year. Possibly at this place:



It looks lovely too!

9 comments:

  1. Happy Anniversary to you both, looks like you had a great weekend away x x x

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  2. Oh it sounds utterly wonderful!! Mmmmm I'm salivating at the prospect.x

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  3. Yay for good food and relaxing fun! Congratulations!❤️❤️

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  4. my mouth is watering with your description of the food you ate. Happy Anniversary to you both.

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  5. Happy anniversary to you both. Sounds like you had a wonderful time celebrating. I'd love to do that for my wedding anniversary one day!
    X

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  6. Rick and I are thinking about what to do for our 31st anniversary next month, and this makes me look forward to it more than I was, so thanks!

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  7. Your meal sounds amazing. (Belated) Congratulations on your Wedding Anniversary. Thank you for your comments on my recent post. Jx

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