Toques et Clochers
Because S's big birthday (and our wedding anniversary) was somewhat swamped by travelling and funeral, I decided to have an unbirthday feast. Yes, I know fish and chips at the Magpie in Whitby should have been enough of a treat, but still ...
Aperitif: home-made cheese straws and local Lucques olives with a glass of Toques et Clochers, a local white wine made in Limoux from Chardonnay grapes. But more than that it's an annual festival which is sponsored by a different famous chef each year. The proceeds from a wine auction (the second largest in France after les Hospices de Beaune) are used to restore the belltower of the village hosting the festival (also different each year). The one unchanging thing is the quality of the wine, which is superb.
I had asked S what he wanted to eat, and the answer was "Foie gras and lobster". So the next course was simply foie gras with toast and green tomato jam (confession: the most spoilt cat in the universe got a tiny bit of this). Served with a small glass of Muscat de St Jean de Minervois (also local).
Then lobster with killer Café de Paris butter, which is like beurre maître d'hôtel on steroids. I could only get frozen lobster, and the butter definitely lifted it above what you would expect (confession:the most spoilt cat in the universe got some of this too). Happily there's some butter left -- I'm seeing it on grilled mussels as a tapa.
Then cheese, of course. Followed by salted caramel panna cotta with roasted, caramelised hazelnuts, which were yummy (the most spoilt cat in the universe wasn't interested in these). And to top it all off, we listened to Cécile McLorin Salvant singing John Henry.