Anniversary Dinner at La Vielle Auberge

Today was our 31st wedding anniversary, and 32 years to the day since we first clapped eyes on each other!!!! I don’t know where those decades have gone but we have 2 amazing daughters to show for it and we have been lucky enough to grow happier with each year, so I can say, we have no regrets or complaints…..

It was really warm today so we spent our time at the pool. Tonight however we went out for a celebration dinner. Our first dinner out since we were in Dubai in March. We’ve been out for lunches, but covid has pretty much put paid to our dining out at night – up till now. There are a lot of really good restaurants of all types around here, some even with Michelin stars. It took quite a lot of choosing…. we wanted to eat at a French restaurant…. we didn’t want to spend an absolute fortune…. we wanted it to be an attractive place…… oh yes… it had to be open… some weren’t for whatever reason on a Wednesday night. We fixed on La Vielle Auberge in Villeneuve du Comte, a small village – A Village de Caractere – about 5 miles from our place.

The village was indeed mega quaint. It had a village green, a nice looking 19th C. Mairie, a church, a lot of restaurants, some gentrified houses, some definite projects…… We’d booked for 730. They had quite a few diners for a Wednesday night (take that, you closed people!!!!) and the atmosphere was good – welcoming and friendly. We spoke a bit of French. They spoke a bit of English. We all appreciated each other’s efforts. It is run by a husband and wife team and everyone was very professional.

The menu is small. They offer two set menus: one at 59 euro for 4 courses with 3 or 4 choices per course. One at 78 euro but that included lobster. We liked the look of the 59 euro one. They gave us some savoury pastries while we chose. Little melt in the mouth delicacies…. The menu proper started with an amuse bouche of a little cup of liver cream with mushroom and truffle. A great start. Very rich, very yum. Then we both chose the duck pate de fois gras which was a massive slice of the whole liver, and came with a piece of fruit brioche and some fig compote. I’m not always a massive fois gras lover, but this was very nice. So smooth. Like velvet.

We both chose the same main course too: a fillet of beef, in my case served blue, with girolle mushrooms, boiled potatoes and a fabulous sauce. Really good beef, great char, totally blue in the middle but warm all the way through. The portions weren’t enormous, thank God, because you’d never make it through otherwise. The bread basket was amazing. Not normal French bread. More like a chewy sourdough loaf. Manna to these carb starved lips.

The cheese trolley came, groaning under the weight of the cheeses. Cheese trolleys have gone off a bit in some places over the last years. Gone a bit…. meagre….. not this one. OMG – just an enormous selection and all in peak condition. The Brie de Meaux was escaping over the edge of the marble top it was so perfect…. I had some of that – well… it would be rude not to around here – and a blue cheese and something else which escapes me….. all amazing… Bob had the Brie de Melun just to try the difference (it had more ammonia about it), a very ashy one and something else. We sampled each others of course…

Pudding…. oh lord….. I had the chocolate . It was just called Le Chocolat. A deep, dark garnache with a nutty rice crispy brittle sunk into the middle, an amaretto almond ice cream and some other delights – you can look it up. Bob had FIG, which turned out to be a fig, a fig tart, fig and honey ice cream and some sort of biscuit…..

We couldn’t face coffee but they brought us two petit fours anyway. I thought they were coconut biscuits but in fact they had a cold milk chocolate centre surrounded by a coconut crusted biscuit…. absolutely melt in the mouth yumminess, the cold cream centre was such a surprise…….

It took us over 2 hours to enjoy all of this. Never felt rushed…. the table was ours for the night. We washed it all down with a large bottle of sparkling water and a fabulous bottle of French red burgundy. It all came to about £130 for the two of us. Not cheap but actually not expensive either for the amount of food and the fantastic quality of the cooking.

We would highly recommend it and we wouldn’t hesitate to come back if we were here again. It was a warm night… we tottered off to the village green and then home. I daren’t go on the scales tomorrow but what the hell! It was a great dinner, one to remember and a lovely evening. Well worth the splurge in both money and weight 🙂

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