We were concerned that five days in the French Wilderness would be too long. As is always the case, after days of hiking when it is time to leave we never want to go. This was no exception. But, the good news is our next stop is Chagny-en-Bourgogne (Southern Burgundy). We know the area, love the hotel and can’t wait to eat in Chagny. The ride would normally take about five hours, we extended it a bit by dropping Angelique and Dominique off in Alès. They needed to pickup one of their cars from the repair shop and do some shopping. We left Dominque at the garage and Angelique at the “Bio” shop. This goodbye wasn’t too bad as we are sure we’ll be back. Why wouldn’t we? Good friends, good hiking, good food and good wine…
On the road to Chagny, we discussed where we would eat. We had reservations for Saturday night, my birthday, at the restaurant at the hotel. A Michelin 3 star restaurant that we just adore. This was the first starred restaurant we ever ate in years ago. We’ve been back a few times since and two things are important to note. One: This place set the bar for all fine dining for us and Two: It has never disappointed us and it continues to be the bar! The question was the other two nights. Phil and I are so in tune with this area that not only did we agree on which restaurants to eat in the other two nights but we were totally in synch as to which one which night.
Maison Lameloise – The Hotel
We arrived at the hotel. The gentleman who met us is the same man who greeted us the last two times and possibly the first time we had dinner there many years ago. We splurged on the room this time. Not necessarily because we wanted to, but because when Phil emailed for reservations all the “standard” rooms were booked. Yes, we could have moved things around on the trip, but I really wanted to spend my birthday here.
Our room is big, beautiful and comfortable. There are cookies and pastries on the coffee table you arrive and they are replaced daily. The frig is stocked with 1664 Beer, Perrier, Aqua Panna, and Pellegrino. Drink as much as you want, they’ll refill it free of charge. Well actually nothing is free, but at least it is included in the price of the room. The Wi-Fi is very good. We’ve survived the transition from remote luxury to Burgundian luxury. The hotel made reservations for us for dinner at two restaurants right in town for the nights we wanted at more or less the times we wanted.
We walked around a town that is so familiar to us. It was sad to see that the yarn shop is closing, but we were encouraged to see new restaurants open where others had been closed. With only had a few nights here, we were sticking with our favorites. We had a cocktail in the square right across the from the hotel. We missed Pierre and Angelique and Dominique for cocktails but felt obligated to keep up the tradition. It was a bit chilly. We were happy.
Walking in Burgundy
When we stay in Chagny our goal is to give the car to the valet and not see it again until we are packing it to leave. We think this is a bit unusual for the folks who stay at this hotel. They always seem surprised that we are just going to enjoy what we can get to by foot or bicycle. We love to walk through the vineyards and explore the towns along the canal (Canal du Centre) – no car for us.
Our first order of business was to go to the Tourist office and get a walking map. Practically every other tourist office that we visit in France shoves pamphlets, guides, and maps at you all for free. Not in Burgundy, here you have to pay 3 Euros for the Carte Rando – 31 Walking Trails for pedestrians. This isn’t one of the fancy IGN French Walking Maps that tells you every rock and vine on your route. No this is a map developed by the Office de Tourisme in Beaune. Why do they do this, I guess the answer is simple, “Because they can”. I’m going to try to remember to keep it for next time. While in the tourist office we asked the tourist lady the best way to walk to St. Aubin? She looked at us as if we were crazy. No, no, no you should drive there. We thanked her for her advice and set out for St. Aubin. The destination in St. Aubin was a wine shop that we had visited 3 years earlier. It had just opened up and represented a number of St. Aubin wineries. We love the crisp, minerally, citrusy whites from this area.
There was only one problem. We don’t have the name of the shop. I was pretty sure if we got to St. Aubin we could find it. But we figured technology could help us. We googled wine shops in St. Aubin, Phil looked at the pictures and said, “It’s this one”. Off we went, the walk started out a little hairy on the side of a pretty major road, but that didn’t last too long. Before we knew it we were walking among the vines and through small villages. As we were approaching our GPS destination I had a sinking feeling, nothing about this felt right. Perhaps we were entering the town from a different direction. But once we heard, you have reached your destination, I was certain, we weren’t in the right place. It was a lovely place and I’m sure this shop which focused on confiture was deserving of its positive google rating, but it wasn’t our wine shop. In fact, we weren’t in St. Aubin. We were in Chassagne-Montrachet. Home of really good white wines, “royalty in the wine world” and many times more expensive than the St. Aubin wines we were in search of.
At this point, we put the town of St. Aubin into Google Maps and hoped for the best. The walk was beautiful. The weather had turned hot and the rain had stopped, there were a lot of workers tending to the vines as we walked. As we approached a busy road, I was certain I knew where we were. I said to Phil look we are here; I think he thought I was crazy. But as we approached the road, he saw what I saw, the sign for St. Aubin. Problem now was to find the shop. I remembered it as being high on a hill; Phil did not recall this at all.
Apparently there are two areas of St. Aubin. Initially we were in Gamay, Commune of St. Aubin. I know this is how we entered St. Aubin the last time, but what I couldn’t clearly remember was how we ascended the hill. We didn’t find the shop. We were resigned to asking at the hotel if they knew where we wanted to go. A waiter had recommended this shop the last time. We were in a beautiful place and decided to just enjoy the walk. Then we saw trail markers to St. Aubin in a different direction and decided to follow them.
We approached a church that neither of us recalled; we were disappointed that we couldn’t find the shop. Just as we turned the corner by the church, I knew we had found it. But it was closed. There was a sign on the door that said, if we’re not here just call us we are no more than 10 minutes away by car. I thought that odd, as the shop was connected to their home. We decided to eat our lunch and call after we finished.
It took a couple of tries with the French phone to dial properly, but we explained we were at the door and they said they’d come meet us straight away. We were perplexed but within 10 minutes a woman in an SUV pulled up and told us they had moved the store. They now have a bigger space; they still live in this location. Sèverine asked us where our car was to follow her and we explained we had walked. We hopped in her car and she drove us 10 minutes back to exactly where we had started in Gamay, Commune of St. Aubin. We stood in front of their store 2 hours earlier noting that they take American Express (so few places do – “Don’t leave home without it AND make sure you also bring your VISA”). We tasted the 2016 wines and they were delicious. We bought some 2014s because we heard they were amazing. She only had a few bottles left. We also bought some 2016s to cellar for a little while. Sèverine asked us if we wanted a ride back to Chagny. I feel bad we didn’t take her up on the offer. I really wanted to do some more walking and with Phil’s knees I should have insisted but I didn’t….
We asked her if we could avoid that major road, she said yes just go through the vineyards. Not right through the grapes but alongside of the plantings. Seemed simple enough, we knew the general direction had the GPS and headed back to town. Once again, a beautiful walk. We went back through Chassagne-Montachet, GPS confirmed a waking route through the vineyards that avoided the busy road, perfect, what could go wrong? Well what went wrong was the fact that we had to cross train tracks. Normally not a problem, we came to the first pedestrian crossing and it was closed but a sign pointed to another crossing a ways further on. When we got to that one it was closed too. Phil kept his cool, but he was tired and his knee was bothering him. There was no way around, we looked. I read the notice and they were temporarily closed – beginning one week ago through the middle of September.
The next problem was no matter where we tried to reset the GPS it kept wanting to reroute us back through these crossings. We switched the GPS?from walk to drive and it added 3.5 kilometers to the return journey. Not a good situation at all. The road it wanted us to turn on was far too busy to walk on. We noticed a dirt road that ran alongside of the paved road and decided to take it. How bad could it be? We passed through an area that looked like a graveyard for rusted out motorhomes and doublewides. Both Phil and I had the same thought, this is where when you get kidnapped they bring you, torture you, kill you, cut up your body and bury the pieces. We did ultimately have to cross those railroad tracks on the large road we were trying to avoid. We were exhausted, filthy and hungry when we got back to the hotel.
The next day to my surprise and with the help of ice and ibuprofen Phil was ready to walk again. This time we decided to go along the Voie Verte a protected bicycle path that goes along the canal. I run along this in the mornings. I just love it there are barges and boats docked along side, people riding bicycles, walking, and running along the way. You can leave the Voie Vert and venture into towns along the way. We decided to go to the closet town Santenay and do one of the walks on our map. The walk was named “The Windmill Circuit” and promised premier cru vineyards and an old restored windmill. The woman at the tourist office assured us these walks were very well marked. What could go wrong? We couldn’t find the starting point. Once again it was the train tracks we had to deal with. This time we were looking for the train station/tourist office. We went back and forth twice and had we just turned around the first time we would have seen the train station/tourist office. The walk was worth it. It was beautiful, we ate our lunch sitting on a stone wall behind the restored windmill.
A great day, capped off with refreshments back in the Santenay square along with hikers, bikers and drinkers.
Restaurant Scene: Chagny, France
We are returning to all three of these restaurants. We have eaten in them multiple times over a number of years and have never been disappointed. This trip was no exception.
This restaurant is right around the corner from the hotel and it is the hotel’s “little brother”. The current chef and owner of Lameloise is not from the original family. This more casual restaurant is an homage to the father who started Lameloise and the son who gained the first Michelin star.
We started with the House Aperitif. I love sparkling wine. For me, it’s like a party in a bottle. I like cava, prosecco, champagne, crémant de bourgogne …you get the picture. I also have developed a fancy for gin. And who doesn’t like cherries. The Apéritif Maison was crémant & crème de griotte & trait de gin). It’s definitely a keeper – will need to keep my eyes open for crème de griotte. The amuse bouche was a pea purée and a cheese stick. If spring had a taste, it would be peas.
For a starter, Phil had traditional paté in pastry. I had the wining dish of the evening. At least from my perspective the marinated salmon was the winner.
I could have had seconds on the salmon and been very happy. The salmon and avocado paired perfectly well. I love the different ways radishes were used. Both pickled for sweetness and raw for heat. The savory shortbread cracker just put it over the top.
Phil had veal as his main course. It was served with mushrooms, celery root (a favorite on my list), and chard.
I went for the chicken. Pintade or guinea fowl to be precise with creamy polenta, spring onions and radishes (once again pickled and fresh). The chicken was super moist, the polenta was rich and cheesy and the spring onions and radishes added some tang and heat. I loved it!
We were stuffed but it was a menu and there was dessert coming. Phil actually passed up the chocolate dessert and had the Millefeuille caramel beurre salé. I was surprised but the server told him this was the dessert to have. It’s like a Napoleon with caramel mouse. I had something a bit lighter, but certainly delicious. Roasted pineapple, with mango sorbet and a tuille. It was heavenly.
A great meal, in a place we love. Oh, the wine, I almost forgot. 2016 Mercurey 1er Cru – Les Byots – Domaine Brintet. Reasonably priced and terrific!
Le Grenier á Sel is literally the salt attic. The place where salt was stored. Today it is a cozy, restaurant in the heart of Chagny that serves grilled dishes. Everything seems to be grilled except the salads and desserts. Every time we have been here there are tons of locals in the restaurant along with the tourists. This is not the place for vegans. Vegetarians could get by with salads and the sides but there’s lots of cheese and cream.
When you sit at your table they bring everyone a complimentary aperitif. For adults it is a Kir and for the kids some kind of fruit juice with a little sparkling water. That a long with a few olives is a nice way to start the evening. I had a salad with warm goat cheese to start and Phil had the locally cured ham. Both were terrific.
We were complete carnivores tonight. Rumpsteak with all the sides. They charge you and extra 3 Euros for the sides, we each ordered two and expected the sides to cost 12 Euros when the bill came it was 3 Euros each no matter how many sides you ordered. We ordered the frites, backed potato, green beans and carrot gratin. When all the food came to the table, I didn’t think there was a chance we’d finish it all. We did, this was the day we walked to St. Aubin and we were starving.
Everything was wonderful. To end this eating frenzy, Phil had his favorite profiteroles; they were filled with chocolate ice cream and swimming in warm chocolate sauce. I had a delicious apple tart.
Lameloise is a three star Michelin restaurant. We’ve been looking forward to this meal and it did not disappoint. We had our aperitif and amuse bouches in the lounge. The aperitif was delicious, it had crème de casis, aperol, cremant and some lemon flavored simple syrup. Did I mention it was delicious.
The first bites included popcorn with snail butter, it was like light escargot, a bowl of house cured green olives and some parsley lamb mustard jellied things. The mustard undertone was intense.
The next bite is my absolute favorite, I think it’s a classic. It’s a foie gras lollipop with coco powder mango jelly. Each time I have this, I think I really wish they’d bring me another.
I’m not going to take you through the whole meal. You’ll be too hungry when I’m done. Here’s the menu.
I’ll point out a few things that I just loved.
Crème anglaise au parfum de meurette | oeuf de caille
Petits Pois & Omble Chevalier
veloute de petits pois | omble mi-cuit arrose de ses sucs radis & fleurs | givre d’agrume
Saint-Pierre & Verveine
blanc de Saint-Pierre cuit en vapeur douce & laque | asperges vertes & rhubarbe sabayon moutarde & verveine
Celeri & Ormeaux
compression de celery | foie gras & ormeaux | cresson de fontaine | morilles bouillon parfume a la cazette
Agneau de Lait
cote & selle roties au pralin d’ail | feuille de pomme de terre & persil | fricassee de rattes fumes aux saments de vigne & onions rouge | jus perle
Fromages Frais & Affines
Citron & Jasmin
mousse citronnee | tuile croustillante a l’amande | sorbet citron & granite au jasmin
5 Mai 2018 – Chagny
Breakfast is pretty spectacular here too. It’s served in your room or in the dining room. Room service is so much fun.
We’re off to Lorraine to see our good friend Regis and Marie. More on that soon.
Here’s a couple more pictures of Burgundy to enjoy.