Sunday, October 02, 2005

France: 4e Jour


Lunch was in a little cafe in Saint Tropez with no food worth writing about, so it's straight on to dinner.

By the fourth day we had moved hotels to the Club de Cavaliere in Le Lavandou, and that was where we had dinner, in the hotel's restaurant by the beachfront.

Le Club du Cavaliere  6

The amuse-bouche was once again, surprise surprise, tomato gazpacho, this time accompanied by a cold pea soup. The gazpacho was somewhat too acidic and watery for my liking, but the pea soup, a veloute, was much more agreeable.

Le Club du Cavaliere  5

Starter was another soup, this time a cold leek and potato soup, or vichyssoise. What I really liked about this trip was that it allowed me to sample lots of foods I'd been meaning to try, but never got round to. Vichyssoise is one of them. The last time I served it, I didn't have the guts to chill it, coming from the "a soup isn't a soup unless it's hot" school of thought. This chilled vichyssoise though, with its shaved truffles, was so velvety smooth and flowed so easily down in cold spoonfuls that I became an instant fan.

Le Club du Cavaliere  7

Sweetbreads are one of the great triumphs of French cuisine. One can only imagine the first person who thought that eating snails, frog's legs and offal could have been a pleasant experience must have been sick in the head. I first had sweetbreads in a very good French restaurant in London, and was eager to try them again in France. Sweetbreads, for the uninitiated, are the thymus gland and pancreas of animals, usually veal or lamb. When prepared and cooked properly, they have the most delicate texture and mild taste. The ones I had for dinner were paired with some citrus fruits (probably grapefruit) and two moulded, custard like things. The sweetbreads themselves were not particularly enjoyable, a little on the chewy, pasty side, and the citrus fruits were not my idea of a good accompaniment.

Le Club du Cavaliere  8

Dessert was a panna cotta flan with an abundance of red fruits. Didn't like this one much at all, but I cannot now recall why. Probably had something to do with the fact that it was a flan and not a true panna cotta, which means it was a lot denser and less ethereal. I was by now also getting somewhat tired of red fruits.

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