Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cafe Bras at the Musee Soulages in Rodez

I have a confession to make.  When the friends of Espace Point de Vue gallery proposed a visit to the Musee Soulages in Rodez, I was as much interested in lunch as I was the art.  The cafe at the museum, cafe Bras, is an outpost of the sublime 3-star Michelin restaurant Michel Bras up the road in Laguiole. I was curious to see what he could for the "masses".

The cafe setting was metal, wood, and  glass, mirroring the design of the museum; the pebbled pond was a nice touch.

Inside the cafe,  we sat down in eager anticipation...

...while listening to the server present the menu

The menu had been preselected for us and consisted of a vegetable terrine (beautifully presented whose flavor was enhanced by - few drops of walnut syrup)

Grilled tuna  (some thought a little overlooked) with a sublime side of cauliflower custard and bulgar.

And a nice but not extraordinary chocolate tarte with strawberry sorbet

The meal was accompanied by two white wines, a Marcillac and a Languedoc, both of which I enjoyed immensely (although some thought the Languedoc overpowered the favors of the fish and custard).

I very much enjoyed the meal and felt it provided tasty and affordable dining within the museum complex.  But if you really want to be wowed by Michel Bras' cooking you need to proceed up to Laguiole (where you will pay 4 times the price of the meal we had at the cafe).  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bridging Cahors

What better way to end this professional part of the International Malbec Days than a sound and light performance (with Cahors tasting of course) on Pont Valentre.

It was an opportunity to taste Cahors in another majestic setting while hopefully bridging an understanding of Cahors' past and future, developing an appreciation of the characteristics and pleasures of French Malbec, and cultivating relationships among wine professionals of the world.  I think Cahors succeeded on all counts this week.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Tale of two Chateaux

Why one gala dinner at a chateau when you can have two?  That was probably the thinking when the organizers of the International Malbec Days booked back to back events at Chateau Lagrezette on Tuesday evening and Chateau Mercues on Wednesday.  If they were trying to impress their visitors, they certainly succeeded.

Chateau Lagrezette is a private residence but we were able to enjoy the gardens for our Cahors tasting. 

And the grange was a perfect place for the dinner prepared by the chef from Le Gindreau restaurant.

We tasted Malbecs from both France and the northern hemisphere but I was particularly impressed by this 2011 Chateau de Cayx at a whopping 16.5%,

The next evening a tasting of French and Southern Hemisphere Malbecs  preceded our dinner at Chateau Mercues.

The dinner was prepared by the chateau 's renowned chef  and served in the glorious dining room...

We tasted many wines that evening icluding a South African Malbec whose name translates as "don't drink me "!

Both evenings concluded a bit later than we would have liked but one could not deny the beauty of both.

Cahors in the Cloisters

It apparently took Jeremy Arnaud several months (and perhaps as many bottles of wine) to convince the diocese to allow him to use the cloisters at the Saint Etienne Cathedral as a tasting venue during the International Malbec Days.  And he certainly took advantage of the setting to create a feast both for the eyes ....


...and palate.

The evening was capped by a spectacular initiation ceremony into the Confrerie du Cahors.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fete de la Musique

Every year in many countries of the world, June 21st is the time for celebrating the summer solstice with music and camaraderie.  In cities, towns, and villages of France, music is performed in squares, street corners, even churches by professional and amateur alike.   And music lovers join together to listen to them while picnicking.  We were fortunate to be invited to Claire et Francois Chesneau's lovely home outside of Cazes Modenard for this years fete where we had a pot luck meal 

and listened to our friends perform.

Some in attendance were even inspired to dance