Monthly Archives: July 2018

Europe Day 7 : Brantome

It’s about a 2 hour drive from Limoges to Brantome which is a beautiful town in the Perigueux region known for its foie gras and truffles.  Our friend was kind enough to drive us and give us a tour of the old monastery built near natural caves formed in the mountains.  The town is peaceful and we enjoyed strolling and looking in all the shops for souvenirs.  The highlight of the trip though was the restaurant our friend took us to for lunch called Charbonnel.  We were seated on the outside terrace overlooking the river Drone on a beautifully set table.  The staff was wonderful and made us feel very welcome.  After taking our order, they brought us some savory canapes of cannelle, cheese madeleines and a melon soup.  We enjoyed each course of the meal which was beautifully executed, was perfectly cooked and seasoned.  I hope the photos below do some justice.  Needless to say, my dinner that night was a yogurt as I was still full from this lovely experience.


Europe Day 4 : The Gastronomy of Lyon

My first visit to Lyon France in July 2000 was unexpectedly cut short when we had to detour through Monte Carlo, Torino and the St Bernard’s Pass to drive friends home due to an airline strike.  This allowed for only one evening in Lyon which was spent enjoying an amazing 4 hour, 8 course meal at Restaurant Paul Bocuse (lucky to have a French speaking friend who was able to get last minute reservations). I know there’s no violin playing for me due to this misfortune, but it did make me more determined to enjoy the cuisine of this city on this visit.

After a hearty breakfast at our hotel, we opted to walk the 3.2 kms to the city center.  It  was a warm day, but I find walking to be the best way to see any city.  We walked more once we got to the city center spending time at the opera house, fine arts museum and the Place de la Republique which is the main drag for shopping in Lyon. The small alleys that offshoot are full of cafes and restaurants.  We are not shoppers and so we mostly just watched the people and the life around us stopping every so often to take photos or read inscriptions on statues.

Eventually we made our way to the old city and into the Bouchon district which was bustling with people.  Here we decided to break and have a leisurely lunch. The history of the Bouchon is best explained by the cover of the menu at Le Panier Du Chef below.


I ordered a three course menu of Salad Lyonnaise, Fish Quenelle and Caramelized Apple Cake while my son opted for a plate of Sausage & Fries.  We paired our meal with a delicious Viognier from the Northern Rhone region and relaxed in the hot son for a few hours in no rush to leave.


After the long walk back to the hotel along the Rhone River, we needed a nap and some down time before heading to dinner at a restaurant that had been recommended by several sources – L’Ebauche.  It’s a small place with the chef and a helper working tirelessly in the kitchen and the chef’s wife at the front of the house alone.  There are four or five tables inside and about six to eight outside and the restaurant was packed. As you can imagine, this was not going to be a quick dinner, but it was most certainly a delicious one.  The menu was written on the mirror with two options for each course.  We opted to do two courses instead of the full three, I the entree and main plate while my son chose a main plate and dessert.  My cold soup of gin infused cucumber, red cherries and trout caviar with a cold tomato broth poured over it was refreshing and just what was needed after a day of 100 degree heat. For our main course, I got a Maigre fish served over a spinach puree and accompanied by some yellow zucchini strips while my son opted for the duck with aubergine curry and apricots.  Everything was perfectly cooked, executed and tasted wonderful.  I don’t believe we left a drop on our plates. My son’s dessert was a chocolate ganache with raspberries and a crumble which he would not share.

After a short walk to the main road and waiting for the bus for over ten minutes, we hailed a taxi for our ride back to the hotel where we fell asleep content from our gastronomic adventure.





Europe Day 3 : From Nyon to Lyon

After a leisurely morning of waking up late, a long walk along Lake Geneva and a lazy breakfast of croissant, cheese & fruit, we packed our bags and headed to the train station in Nyon for our journey to Lyon France.  The 20 minute train ride took us to the main train station in Geneva, Cornavin where we caught our TER train to Lyon.  I wish I could say the train ride was picturesque, but to tell the truth, I was tired and napped for most of the two hour ride.

After arriving in Lyon, we caught a taxi to our hotel and were happy to chill out for a little bit.  Once settled, we enjoyed a drink at the hotel bar before heading out for dinner at Cite 33.  My son ordered a salmon sushi platter while I opted for the Veau Milanese (Veal Milanese) with a glass of Sancerre, both very good.  I’m not sure if the service was more than the typically inattentive, French style or if we were just too tired to deal with it, but we were pretty annoyed with our wait staff after requesting the check a fourth time.  I generally enjoy the slow service in Europe, so I’m guessing I just wanted to get to bed.

Europe Day 2 : Gruyeres & Moleson

After a very European breakfast of cheese, bread and fruit, we drove from Nyon around Lake Geneva via Lausanne to the mountain town of Gruyere, famous for its cheese and dairy farms.  If you’ve ever watched the movie Heidi, this area reminded me of that way of life.  There is an old Medieval castle which is now open to the public with a town square bustling with restaurants and tourists.  We stopped for a traditional Swiss lunch which started with Kir for an aperitif sitting at a table with a beautiful view of the countryside below.  I had a rosti with a fried egg and my son had a traditional quiche.  Our friend ordered a raclette which was a fun experience (video clip below). A glass of white wine accompanied our meal after which we walked around the little town.

From Gruyere we went to Moleson, which is a family ski area in the winter time but has a bob sled during the summers.  We watched the kids go up and down the bob sled while we rested and took in the beautiful mountain views before heading back on the two hour drive to Nyon stopping on the way to pick up fresh cherries, raspberries and apricots at the local farm stands; most of which were eaten on the short drive home.

Once back at our friends’ home, we sipped on Sauternes while preparing our dinner of salad, steak with onions and peppers, and rice.  A very nice red Burgundy accompanied the steak and was enjoyed the remainder of the evening until it was time to turn in.


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