May 16, 2007
The Way Lunch Was Meant To Be
Tucked into the heart of the Massif de l'Esterel in the Var department is an Auberge where lunch is perfection. A three hour, four course, south of France, sitting-on-the-terrace-in-the-sun-with-a-view-of-the-beautiful-countryside kind of lunch.
The way lunch was meant to be.
The Auberge des Adrets served one of the best meals I've had in a very long time.
There is no menu. You choose the number of courses you would like, un peu (two courses), beaucoup (three courses), passionément (four courses) or à la folie (five courses) and the chef creates the menu for your table. We chose beaucoup.
They ask that you tell them if there is anything you particularly dislike or are allergic to so they can work around it.
The meal started with two amuses-bouches. The first was a plate filled with three kinds of savory pastries and the second was an asparagus broth served in a shot glass with a little quenelle of white bean "caviar" on the side. What a beginning!
The first course for me and my sister was foie gras. It was ''cooked'' in muscat wine and salt which gave the liver a soft, creamy texture. A slice of toasted brioche and fig compote were the perfect accompaniments. My husband can't eat liver anymore as it gives him gout, so he was served two enormous scallops wrapped in bacon and cooked so they melted in your mouth.
The second course was grilled carré d'agneau, tomato jam (in the spice jar) and an eggplant flan topped with a savory little croissant. I have just one word. Divine. The combination was incredible. The chef truly knows what he's doing.
By this point in the meal we were floating on cloud nine and decided to throw caution to the wind and order an extra course. They gladly honored our request with a cheese course. My sister and a cheese course. Like a kid in a candy store.
They offered ten different kinds and she tried a bit of each. Our favorite was a tomme au marc de raisin which is a raw cow's milk cheese that is aged under a thick layer of grape marc, the residue that is left after the grapes are pressed to make wine. Doesn't look very pretty, but the flavor is amazing!
So far, the meal had been perfect.
On to dessert, which often fails to live up to my (high) expectations. (might it be the former pastry chef in me?) Again, one word. Sublime. I can't even begin to describe how delicious this was! Fresh strawberries layered with crisp tuile cookies and semi-frozen, lemon infused fromage frais (I think it was fromage frais...or maybe fromage blanc), surrounded by a passion fruit coulis and topped with a beautiful teardrop of caramelized sugar wrapped around a hazelnut.
The coffee we ordered at the end came with a little plate of goodies. Bittersweet chocolate truffles, pistachio macaroons and little vanilla and cinnamon muffins. Irresistible and a very nice touch.
We left the Auberge completely and utterly satisfied, very full (the cheese course was possibly one too many) and wishing it wasn't so far from where we live so we could come back and try more of the chef's wonderful creations.
Thank you Auberge des Adrets for such an incredible meal and thank you sister for treating us! It was the perfect last day of a perfect visit with you.