EAT OUT IN DORDOGNE

Paola West­beek found Miche­lin stars aplenty scat­tered around the town of Berg­erac, where mouth­wa­ter­ing meals are best en­joyed while over­look­ing spec­tac­u­lar scenery

France - - Contents -

Great places to en­joy a meal with a view around the at­trac­tive town of Berg­erac.

1 LA TOUR DES VENTS, MONBAZILLAC

Glo­ri­ously sit­u­ated at the sum­mit of Monbazillac’s rolling vine­yards is La Tour des Vents, a restau­rant that has right­fully earned it­self a Miche­lin star with its ex­quis­ite culi­nary reper­toire – and one where the views will lit­er­ally make you gasp in amaze­ment.

The lo­ca­tion alone is spec­tac­u­lar and while sip­ping a chilled glass of vou­vray, I sit back and take it all in; the majestic set­ting with panora­mas that ex­tend 80 kilo­me­tres into the dis­tance, the tran­quil­ity of the French coun­try­side and the de­li­cious an­tic­i­pa­tion of the meal ahead. A re­fresh­ing water­melon gaz­pa­cho crowned with a sor­bet of rasp­ber­ries and sweet pep­pers sets the stage for our three-course ‘ Re­tour du Marché’ menu.

The first course is a méli-mélo of toma­toes bright­ened with a hint of lemon ver­bena. Sweet-and-salty Iberico ham and tiny dol­lops of fro­mage frais pro­vide a vel­vety con­trast in taste and tex­ture. It is a match made in heaven paired with the 2015 Do­maine l’an­ci­enne Cure Jour de Fruits, a bal­anced blend of sauvi­gnon blanc and sémil­lon with cit­rusy notes and flo­ral aro­mas. What fol­lows is noth­ing short of an epi­cure’s gourmet dream; ten­der lamb ribs served beau­ti­fully rosé and in­fused with just the right amount of can­died gar­lic. An al­mond dac­quoise topped with ripe apri­cots and bour­bon vanilla ice cream rounds off a culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence that went well be­yond be­ing purely gus­ta­tory. The art­ful pre­sen­ta­tions and ex­tra­or­di­nary set­ting made it a visual feast to remember. Open lunchtime and evenings. Closed Mon-tues. In July and Au­gust, closed only Mon­day. À la carte and set menus rang­ing from €39 (week­day lunch) - €129. Moulin de Mal­fourat, 24240 Monbazillac Tel: (Fr) 5 53 58 30 10 la­tour­desvents.com

2 LA TERRASSE, DURAS The charm­ing Me­dieval vil­lage of Duras, lo­cated ap­prox­i­mately 30 kilo­me­tres south-west of Berg­erac, is known for its im­pos­ing 12th-cen­tury château and fan­tas­tic wines; not very dif­fer­ent from those of Berg­erac. In fact, the Côtes de Duras ap­pel­la­tion has been part of the Berg­erac wine re­gion since 2014.

If you want to sam­ple Duras’s wines with lo­cal dishes, head to La Terrasse, sit­u­ated di­rectly in front of the château and run by friendly cou­ple Mathias and Eléonore Bil­laud. The menu fea­tures re­gional clas­sics such as con­fit de ca­nard and foie gras as well as juicy steaks, a few seafood op­tions (their briny Ar­ca­chon oys­ters are silky-smooth and pair beau­ti­fully with the house sauvi­gnon blanc) and even ex­cel­lent fish ‘n’ chips, en­joyed by the vil­lage’s large English ex­pat pop­u­la­tion.

For lunch, our three-course set menu starts with a salad of av­o­cado and prawns. The greens are per­fectly dressed and scat­tered with ripe cherry toma­toes while pine nuts pro­vide a crisp con­trast.

3 LES FRESQUES, MONESTIER

There are restau­rant ex­pe­ri­ences that amuse the palate and vis­ually im­press with their clever ar­range­ment of top-notch in­gre­di­ents into culi­nary mas­ter­pieces. Les Fresques (part of a ho­tel housed in the ex­quis­ite 16th­cen­tury Château des Vigiers) is such a restau­rant. The el­e­gant decor boasts en­chant­ing wall fres­coes (hence the name), while the ter­race af­fords sprawl­ing views over the es­tab­lish­ment’s renowned 27-hole golf course. And that’s only part of what makes it so spe­cial.

Our lunch opens with a glass of Lau­rent Per­rier and a se­lec­tion of amuse-bouches, in­clud­ing a mem­o­rable cre­ation of smoked sal­mon with beet­root jelly and tar­ragon. The first course is a re­fresh­ing sea bream tartare with a bright green ap­ple dress­ing that tick­les the taste buds, tempt­ingly pre­par­ing them for the won­ders to come. And the next dish is cer­tainly ex­em­plary of Chef Di­dier Casaguana’s culi­nary ge­nius and deep love of qual­ity, lo­cally sourced in­gre­di­ents – he crowns a fresh The main is a rus­tic dish of filet mignon de porc en croûte served with ten­der French beans. For dessert, the gâteau au choco­lat ac­com­pa­nied by a scoop of pra­line ice cream is the ul­ti­mate sweet cul­mi­na­tion to a truly sat­is­fy­ing meal.

In the evenings, end­ing din­ner al fresco while sip­ping an ar­magnac and watch­ing the sun­set bathe the pretty ter­race in golden hues is one of the many rea­sons we keep com­ing back. Open lunchtime and evenings. Closed Tues-wed. In July and Au­gust, closed only Wed­nes­day. À la carte; lunchtime set menu on week­days €16. 4 Place Jean Bous­quet, 47120 Duras Tel: (Fr) 5 53 84 29 62 straw­berry tartare with suc­cu­lent lob­ster and vel­vety duck liver esca­lope to cre­ate an al­lur­ing med­ley of tex­tures and flavours. The sea bass fil­let that fol­lows is per­fectly roasted and paired with a rich com­pote of green­gage plums. A two-part dessert, in­clud­ing a sablé topped with black­cur­rant jelly and lime mousse is the start of the meal’s taste­ful fi­nale. Add to that an ex­ten­sive wine list and im­pec­ca­ble ser­vice and it isn’t any won­der that such a level of gourmet re­fine­ment was ac­knowl­edged with a Miche­lin star. Open Tues-sat for lunch and din­ner, Sun­day for lunch & Mon­day for din­ner. Closed Wed­nes­day. À la carte and set menus rang­ing from €45 - €110. Lieu Dit Le Vigier, 24240 Monestier Tel: (Fr) 5 53 61 50 00 vigiers.com

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