The arrival of Olive magazine each month is like water for a thirsty man. I have drunk greedily from the latest issue – not least because in it, there are five ideas for foodie weekends in France.
Choosing one over another is now the hardest decision I face.
Cook, eat, explore – that’s what Olive is all about. Each month, there are recipes, restaurant recommendations and gastronomic getaway ideas. My mother-in-law buys me a subscription every year for Christmas – and I’m not complaining.
In the issue that has just landed on the doormat, writer and editor Rhiannon Batten has come up with ideas for five weekends away in France.
First up is Burgundy. She extols the virtue of Restaurant Greuze in Tournus. There, poached egg yolk with whipped whites topped with snails and mushrooms is followed by garlic frog’s legs and, to finish, a Grand Marnier soufflé.
She had me at snails. Yum!
Then she moves on to Normandy, where bistro Les Saisons in Cambremer serves gooey Pont l’Evêque cheese with peppered pears.
In Provence, Jerome Blanchet’s fine-dining restaurant in Crillon le Brave offers a seven-course tasting menu and a themed menu of the month.
Up in Paris, Rhiannon is captivated by the newly renovated STAY at Sofitel Le Faubourg. The menu by chef Yannick Alléno looks fantastic, though the room rates, which start at €355, are beyond my pocket right now.
Finally, she alights in Beaujolais country, at Château de Bagnols (pictured), north of Lyon. The signature dish of chef Jean Alexandre Ouaratta is artichoke with a pepper sauce, snails – again! – and mushrooms. It sounds delicious.
“There are recipes, restaurant recommendations and gastronomic getaway ideas. My mother-in-law buys me a subscription every year”
Perhaps the only places Rhiannon has overlooked are Bordeaux and the Loire valley. I was last in Bordeaux at New Year and loved it, as always. The Loire is somewhere I’ve stopped in on my way to or from the south west, but never properly visited.
I’m about to right that injustice, though. Damon and I have booked a week in Saumur at the end of August. Rhiannon, I’ll let you know what I think!