August 27, 2010

French Desserts

Crème Brûlée

Yesterday we indulged.
I had two days off in a row and we were celebrating some recent good news, so we took ourselves out to lunch.

After consulting my Minervois Restaurants and Wineries notebook and sorting through the various criteria - price, wine included or not, shade or sun, inspiring menu, possibly somewhere new - we had it narrowed it down to a few places. I called the first one to book a table and there was no answer.
Fair enough, it was only 10:30am.
I tried again at 11am and still no answer.  By 11:30 we assumed that they had shut down for les vacances and started calling restaurant #2.
Same story.  No answer, no "we're closed for vacation" message.  Nothing.
By now it was almost noon and I was starting to worry that I would end up having to cook, so a final, desperate phone call was made to restaurant #3.

Mousse au Fromage Frais

The third time was a charm.

We ended up in Olonzac at Le Minervois Bel, a restaurant that's tucked away on a dead-end side street, across from the middle school and next to a bar, and so well hidden that we often forget it's even there.

The owners are charming and the shady courtyard is a plus, but the food is the main attraction.
Yesterday's €13 lunch menu (which changes every day) was a chilled tomato soup with a dollop of whipped, herb infused chèvre and a parmesan tuile;  fillet of merlu in a succulent, slightly garlicky white sauce with a potato and wild mushroom timbale and sautéed carrots; followed by cheese or dessert of your choice.

We both opted for dessert.  I tried the mousse au fromage blanc avec fruits rouges and my husband ordered crème brûlée. 
The mousse au fromage blanc was sublime.  I mean really, really sublime.  And the crème brûlée was some of the best I've tasted since moving to France.

Since becoming a cheese addict I usually prefer cheese over dessert, though sometimes my sweet tooth wins.  I know there's no comparing the two, but when they're done right, French desserts really do take the cake.  Pin It
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