Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Les Florets Restaurant, Gigondas

We think we are incredibly lucky to have a house in Sablet and live there part of the year. We love the location at the base of the Dentelles de Montmirail with vineyards all around as far as you can see. Nearby are small villages, some of them renown for their beauty and others for the wine produced by the local vintners.

The nearest village to the south of Sablet in the direction of Carpentras is Gigondas, a small village well known for the robust red wines that are produced there.

We first came to Gigondas to taste wines with our friends from our Bistro Des Copains several years before we ever thought about buying a home in Provence.

That first time was on a cold day in late January and much of the village except for the Caveau du Gigondas - the wine growers cooperative at Place Gabriel Andéol and tasting rooms were closed for the season. When we asked about a place to eat lunch, we were directed to a forgettable café in nearby Vacqueyras.

We have since found there are several very good restaurants in Gigondas including Les Florets. Les Florets is a small hotel with a wonderful restaurant located on Route des Dentelles above Gigondas. The hotel and restaurant are owned by the Bernard family who also own Domaine La Garrrigue winery in Vacqueyras.

I was in Sablet a few weeks ago with friends Steven and Susan and after we wandered all around Crestet we decided to go eat lunch at Les Florets. Les Florets has a large dining room and terrace for dining on nice days. Although it was early spring, the day was sunny and warm and we were happy to be seated under the trees on the terrace.

The waiter brought us the menu and wine list, actually a book, as thick as a telephone directory for a good size city. There were many selections from Gigondas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and elsewhere in the Côtes du Rhône as well as other notable wine regions of France.

At the waiter's suggestion, we chose a bottle of Domaine du Cayron Gigondas from the great 2007 vintage, a perfect blend of Grenache (70%), Cinsault (15%), Syrah (14%), and Mourvèdre (1%).

Friends Steven and Susan enjoying the Les Florets terrace.

For an amuse-bouche, the waiter brought a platter with a selection of small appetisers to prepare us for our meal and give us a taste of the chef's cooking style. They included: a cold zucchini cumin soup, olive tapenade on toasts and grilled shrimp.

For entrées - starters, we chose soft poached egg over bone marrow on toasts with a red wine reduction

and a crumble of cod topped with toasty bread crumbs accompanied by creamy garlic soup and a bread stick.

For plats - main courses, we chose perfectly grilled duck breast with polenta and what tasted like a berry reduction sauce

and a white fish roulade stuffed with herbs topped by pesto. The fish roll sat on a bed of finely diced carrots and fennel. It was delicious.

To finish on a sweet note, we thoroughly enjoyed a strawberry cake and a white chocolate mousse with a spoonful of candied fennel.

Another part of the terrace at Les Florets, this one covered with a leafy arbor.

We have had a number of meals at Les Florets, some in the dining room when the weather was not so nice, at night and others on the patio, all very good. If you are near Gigondas, especially when the weather is conducive to dining on the terrace, I suggest you try Les Florets.

Bon appétit mes amis. À bientôt.

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