Everyone knows about wine in Bordeaux but what about the food? As in most wine regions in the world, it is pretty good. We didn’t eat at any Michelin style places but instead stuck to tiny village restaurants dishing up hearty serves of cheese, duck, steak and crusty bread. We also managed to time our visit there for the Bordeaux Fete Le Vin which I will post more on at a later stage as it was so brilliant that it really deserves its own mention.
The chateau we stayed at, seriously ridiculous
It is best not to be in a hurry when you eat at L’Auberge d’Village. This tiny, open air restaurant attached to a winery just outside of Saint Émilion in Bordeaux operates at a rather relaxed pace. Despite the fact that Jo, Johanna, Ash and I were the only diners for lunch I had the feeling the waitress was out the back picking the lettuce to go in our salads. Perhaps she was as the salads were garden fresh and very generous in size, particularly given we had ordered the standard sized salads rather than the large which our waitress promised us were impossible to finish. The goats cheese salad featured discs of melted cheese on crispy croutons mixed in with walnuts, lettuce and tomatoes and drizzled with a honey dressing (€6). The “Norwegian” salad (€8) gained that label from the addition of some smoked trout and prawns in place of the cheese. I’m not sure what Norwegians would think of it but it was the perfect fare to accompany a bottle of rosé from the vineyard. We ordered the house wine which is usually great in France, but on this occasion I think it would have been worth investing slightly more than the €3 a bottle this cost and paying a little more for one of the other wines on offer.
Goats cheese salad
Details: “Thillet”, St Christoph des Bardes, Bordeaux, France (Ph 0557 74 4639)
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
Saint Émilion is the home of the macaron. The famous confections were first made here in 1620 by a community of nuns who lived in the village. The original macarons are still made by hand to a similar recipe in the village today. Don’t expect them to look like the pastel hued, double decker creations that we call macarons today. The macrons are a light honey colour and quite flat rather than towering and fluffy. A box of 24 is €7.
Making macarons at Matthieu Moulierac
Details: Tertre de la Tente, Rue de la Cadene – rue Guadet, Saint Émilion, Bordeaux, France (Ph 05 57 74 41 84)
Le Premayac is hidden away in an alleyway in the small town of Blaye which is in the coastal region of Bordeaux. The unglamorous location and the complete lack of English spoken by the waiting staff only heightened by expectation. There was a €23 and €30 euro “menu” which contained some rather unusual dishes such as an entree of poached eggs topped with ham and a rich gravy (which seemed more like a breakfast dish than a dinner entree). The wine list was very regional, focusing on the particular part of Bordeaux in which Blaye is located, and was reasonably priced.
Breakfast, I mean entree of a poached egg and ham
Of the meals we ordered, the real show stopper was the steak (€18), sealed on an open charcoal fire in the restaurant. This was everything you could hope for in a steak – tender, blush pink flesh with a slightly crusty, charred exterior and the size of house. Make sure you order sides as well, as in characteristically French style the main meals are basically meat and nothing else. Eat here for unrefined but charming French bistro food.
Goats cheese parcels wrapped in filo pastry
Details: 27 Rue Premayac, Blaye, Bordeaux, France (Ph 05 574 21957)
Gourmet Travel Tips
If you go to Bordeaux you must stay at Chateau Bellevue which is set amongst the vines in the little village of Plasac. It is out of the city of Bordeaux and a good half an hour from the airport but the extra travel time is worth it to stay in such an amazing property. From the contemporary art on the walls, to the perfectly restored sandstone exterior to the swimming pool overlooking the vines this is the sort of bed and breakfast you dream about when you leave. The owner, Petra, was also very helpful with tips for wine tasting, restaurants and markets. I cannot recommend staying here enough. Prices from €130 a room per night, including breakfast.
Details 4 Lu Vit Bellevue, F33390 Plassac, Bordeaux, France (Ph +33 642 75 94 95)