France – Jour 18 – Part 2

Dinner at La Chanceliére – Olivier Arlot

Tonight we were having dinner at the one Michelin starred La Chanceliére.  Olivier Arlot is the chef, and he has had lots of experience, including working in the 3 Michelin starred Taillevant.  He is quite a celebrated chef in the Touraine region.

This evening we were up to a little bit of mischief – Maureen had come up with the brilliant idea that all of us should wear grey jumpers to dinner in honour of Padraic’s missing luggage.  He had valiantly worn his grey pullover throughout the trip – because his luggage never did arrive, and he didn’t have any other outer gear to wear when cycling.  Lucky for Andrew and me, we already had grey sweaters with us.  But about 4 of the group actually purchased new ones in order to stage this little stunt!

The funny thing was – Padraic picked us all up in the van, having already dropped Adam off at the restaurant.  We all filed into the bus – and he didn’t even twig to the stunt – even after one by one, the grey sweaters passed him.  Granted – they were different shades, and it was the evening – but really!!?!

We all took our places in the restaurant – and as Padraic went out to discuss some aspect of the meal with the restaurant staff – we all agreed on making a toast to the grey sweater!   So, he returned to his seat – the wine was poured.  I raised my glass and proposed a toast…  Le pull gris!   That’s “the grey pullover” in French.   Padraic toasted with us… and looked rather bemused… and then… all of a sudden the penny dropped and he looked around the room!

The penny dropping!

Padraic then said that he thought we were all looking a bit boring!! But really – the joke (an affectionate one) was on him!   But onto the food….

Les Amuses Bouches

We were first spoiled with a selection of amuses bouches – a cream cheese gougére, some salmon tartare with beurre blanc, and a potato crisp with anchovy.  An absolutely delicious way to start the evening.

Now… I have a confession to make.  I diligently took notes throughout this dinner – but do you think I can find them now??  The only reason my description of the amuses bouches was detailed is that originally I had started on a different piece of paper and then swapped over to another one.  So, apologies – that second piece of paper has gone AWOL, so now we are from henceforth on relying on my memory!  Although, my food memory can be quite good….

Appetiser – Mushroom soup with Foie gras

The first course was a beautiful mushroom veloute with a small slice of foie gras floating in the top.  The soup was smooth and redolent with the sweet earthiness of mushrooms, and the foie gras softened delectably by the heat of the liquid.

Entrée – Crousillant cigar with red pepper sauce

The second course was a crisp pastry cigar – inside a creamy goat’s cheese filling that was complemented by the red pepper coulis.  It was beautifully foiled by a light herb salad dressed with a little olive oil.

Andrew’s Entrée – Consommé with vegetables

Andrew was provided with a special entrée – the consomme was beautiful, rich and full of flavour.

Fish course – white fish with cauliflower

Our next dish was a beautifully pan seared piece of white fish – which was served with a cauliflower cream, as well as roasted cauliflower.  The creaminess of the dish was balanced by some white grapes, and harmonised with a beautiful and gently flavoured foam.

Lamb loin with green vegetables

Our main dish was stuffed lamb loin served with some green vegetables and a pea puree. It was delicious and moist, and generously swathed in richly flavoured jus.

Andrew was thrilled to get a version with potatoes instead of greens!  I think there might have been a bit of plate envy by some of the other guys at the table!

The wine came from the local region – Chinon and was a delicious red!

Chocolate mousse, praline and macaron

The dessert was a trio of chocolate mousse – white, milk and dark. Served on a macaron base, it was adorned with chocolate and praline shards.  There’s nothing bad you can ever say about chocolate – and this dish was brilliant.  A lovely way to end our meal.

Les Petits fours

But wait… there’s more. Some petits fours.  This time – some lemon madelines and mini tarte tatins. Lovely.

Overall, La Chanceliére is a beautiful restaurant – the ambience was discreet, and the food beautiful.  Despite being a one Michelin star restaurant – the food was still very simple and not over the top. It is fully deserving of the glowing reviews on sites such as Tripadvisor.

The staff were very obliging and took a photo of us for posterity… they were quite amused that we blended in with their decor!

The Brotherhood of the Grey Pullover

Deb, John, Helen, Andrew, Padraic, Adam, Maureen, Ron, Marg & Art

We had our final day of cycling tomorrow… so it was off to bed to sleep and dream of grey sheep….