Thursday, June 7, 2007

Lunch in Cap Ferret

While many of my friends are enjoying Memorial Day Weekend on the East Coast of the U.S., Jay and I are on the opposite side of the Altantic in Cap Ferret, a wonderfully unspoiled region along the ocean about 1 1/2 hours east of Bordeaux. We’ve come to visit our good friend Bruno Borie who has a small fishing shack in the charming village of l’Herbe.

Bruno has invited us for a simple lunch at his place, and later we will have dinner at a fish restaurant which he knows I will love. I’ve been coming here for about 10 years and not much has changed except that a fabulous boulangere has opened up to make Bruno very happy.

Lunch starts with a glass of a simple, lovely rose, Le Rosé De Floridene. We are eating on the deck and the table is filled with an array of amazing choices. Bruno has been to several fishmongers and bought spider crabs, Tourteau, a crab I’ve never heard of, local oysters, local scallops in the shell, and eel. We are also having white asparagus, baby potatoes, and cheeses from Jean d’Alos, the great cheese shop in Bordeaux---and, of course, breads from the superb bakery down the road.

I can’t decide what to start with but when Bruno produces a bottle of 2002 Chablis-Les Clos, I naturally go for the oysters. If you have never had oysters and Chablis together you have missed out on one of the greatest pleasures in the world of food and wine. The wine is flinty and earthy with gorgeous fruit, and the oysters are incredibly sweet. A magical combination. Next up, the sweetest scallops I’ve ever tasted grilled with a sauce of butter, garlic and parsley. After that, both kinds of crabs with an aioli. I love the spider crab, the other is a little too tough for my taste though the flavor is good.

Finally the eel, fried in small pieces. Earlier I had seen the creatures squirming in a bag and swore I would not eat them. Once cooked with parsely, garlic, and piment d’espelette ( a ground chili powder from the Basque region of Spain), they look so good that I am ready to enjoy several. The meat is deliciously tender yet firm like very tender chicken.

Now, totally full, I face the cheeses and a salad. The comté, one of my favorites, is great-- firm with an amazing nutty flavor.

I’m ready for a nap but first we are off to meet the surfing fisherman and after that to our rooms at a house right on the ocean. And dinner? See my next blog!


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