L’Orée des Bois located in La Breille-les-Pins is the restaurant of celebrated chef Eric Bichon. I recently had the opportunity to try a menu of his creation, alongside thoughtfully paired wines inside one of the dining rooms at Chateau de Jalesnes in the Loire Valley.
The dining area was laid out in a grand manner, with candelabras and foliage down the long tables. As the sun set over the gardens and pool area visible through the windows, it became a very atmospheric environment to dine in.
Around 20 people were dining together, with still gave off an intimate feel, and guests mingled and chatted together throughout the meal.
Before every course, Chef Eric, softly spoken and humble in his mannerisms, came to the table to talk us through the dishes. The menu was unapologetically French, with fois gras and veal served, divisive socially but rather delicious. He regularly talked of getting certain items from his own personal garden, and his combination of the particularly sweet items on savoury dishes worked very well, such as the fresh figs served with the veal. The dishes also looked towards slightly more unusual textures such as the goat’s cheese mousse.
Aperitif – Cremont de Loire – Ackerman Brut
Foie gras and braised beef cheek set in jelly, fresh mint flavoured broad bean puree and pickled red onions.
Served with Coteaux de Saumur – Domaine Lavigne 2015
Slow cooked veal, butternut squash cream, glazed shallots, fresh figs and orange sauce – Served with Traditional Saumur Champigny – Chateau de Targé 2015
Ste Maure de Touraine goat’s cheese and chive mousse, assorted salads and chive & rosemary flavoured oil.
Served with St Nicholas de Bourgueil – Vieilles Vignes 2015
Soft lemon flavoured biscuit, rich lime flavoured cream, lemon verbena and cottage cheese flavoured sorbet.
Served with Saumur Rosé Ackerman
The local wines served with each course complimented the dishes excellently. A particular favourite of the guests was the Saumur Rosé Ackerman, a popular sparkling rosé that not only went well with the lemon flavours in the dessert but also proved a popular option as a stand alone wine.
Guests also seemed to thrive on the social aspect of the evening, with the chance to chat with other guests at Chateau de Jalesnes whilst enjoying the food. Many of the table had specifically chosen to visit that weekend to time it with the gastronomy evening, which is understandable as for many the chance to eat such fine French cooking in a picturesque environment is definitely worth the trip and rather better value than similar opportunities back in the UK.