|Today was a very exciting day for us. Sue and I had booked in to the famous Auberge du Vieux Puits a 3 Michelin star restaurant in Fontjoncouse which is about an hour from here.
Fontjoncouse a small village of under 200 people is the smallest town in the world with a 3 Michelin Star restaurant and as there's only 26 3 star restaurants in the whole of France, it's certainly a special treat. Fontjoncouse is tucked away between rocks and garrigue, in a picturesque valley of the Corbières region. In other words, it's in the middle of nowhere.
We arrived fashionably early, and were greeted warmly and invited to the lounge for a glass of Billecart Salmon Brut Rose. They say never trust a skinny chef so we were quite relieved to see the rather round chef Gilles Goujon as he came to greet us.
I'll put a description below of the meals and add a number to the corresponding photo's
We chose the Menu - Air de fête en Corbières (festive air in Corbières) which is the Chef's selection of seasonal dishes. After checking with us for any allergies or dislikes, we waited with excitement to be taken to our table.
(from left to right)
A version of typical dish from Sete, Tielle sétoise – Octopus and tomato.
Petite pastry cup of a medley of mushrooms topped with gold leaf.
Delicate crisp bread ball filled with tomato reduction
Crisp bread ball filled with truffle reduction
1st dish – A delightful sugar ball, resembling a tomato, containing a mixture of mozzarella and herbs sitting on a bed of tomato sorbet. A cold tomato jus was poured over and when cracked with a spoon the sugar ball collapsed, blending the flavours.
2nd dish – “Rotten egg” The soft egg had its yoke removed and replaced with a tomato based juice which oozed out when the egg was broken. This was then topped with a sabayon sauce and 36yo shaved reggiano cheese. This was accompanied by a warm almond cappuccino and hand crafted brioche.
3rd dish – Prawn from Catalunya, Spain on a bed of reinvented paella, encased in a crisp squid ink potato cage, which looked a lot like a slinky. On the side was a foam covered clam and a bread ball filled with juice from the head of the prawn.
4th dish – Red Mullet sitting on a bed of seafood delights, served with a ladle of champagne mousse which dissolved when the hot jus was poured into the ladle overflowing into the bowl. A crisp crouton was clipped to the side.
5th Pigeon 3 ways, breast with an almond crust, confit and minced with caramelised onion wrapped in a crisp aubergine skin topped with baked apricot and almond milk mousse. Competing this dish was finely sliced aubergine surrounded by a swirl of 70% chocolate and a swirl of apricot reduction - also garnish of a paper thin slice of crystallised aubergine.
6th Dessert is almost an indescribable dish as it was so exquisite and delicate to look at, it seemed a shame to eat it. The sugar ball was shaped and painted in iridescent colours to resemble an apple and sitting on a bed of a baked apple puree. When breaking the shell, the filling of berries and flavoured cream spilled out onto the plate. This was accompanied by a small glass filled with miniature berries in a sweet juice.
7th The cheese board was in fact a cart on wheels, with enormous selection with many flavours of fruit paste.
To end the lunch, coffee was served with beautiful hand made chocolates.
This lunch was such a wonderful gastronomic experience, I'm afraid the words don't really do it justice. Hopefully the photo's speak for themselves.
After the days feasting, it was home with no dinner necessary, possibly for the next few days.
PS: Imagine my embarrassment when we paid the bill and I had short changed them, they came out to the car to hunt us down for the balance. Luckily they saw the funny side and made a few jokes on my behalf - who said the French don't have a sense of humour.