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The surprise discovery of a new place is always a delight, particularly when it is a combination of good food and convivial company.
Last week I was invited to an evening meal with a few of my French colleagues to Chateau d’Origny, situated just outside Roanne, in the Roannais. I had never been before, and barely new of its existence.
It was a pleasant surprise.
There are many châteaux in the Roannais region (like most of France) of all shapes, sizes, ages, and historical significance. Château d’Origny is smaller than most, but impressive enough and much more than just a grand maison bourgeois.
Probably originally established, in part, as a hunting château, providing a base for ‘les chasseurs’ (the hunters) near the Cote Roannais forests and mountains full of game.
The Chateau is now a Chambre d’hôte and restaurant, and was recently renovated after years of considerable delapidation by a Belgian chef, Monsieur Werner, and his wife, and brought back to full working life and former glory.
The interior renovation work, in particular, has been finished to a very high standard. It is obvious that care and detailed attention has been taken to ensure all original features were maintained.
Our group dining experience took place in the Château’s huge original kitchen area.
The evening menu choices suggested by the chef were:
La salade folle du Dodin Bouffant ( juliennne de legumes légerment blanchi queus d’ecrevisse et foi gras)
Foie gras pôelé aux epinards et pommes fruits caramélisé (warm)
Soufflé de saumon et son coulis d’ecrevisses (warm)
Saumon d’Ecosse mariné au poivre vet at ciboulette (cold)
Chartreuse de faisen aux choux vert a l’ancienne
Blanc de faisen aux champignons des bois sauce creme
Noisette de Cerf sauce poivrade et sa garniture d’hiver.
Blanqeutte de veau aux petite legumes et champignons des bois
Plateau de fromages affinée par Mons
Délices de chocolat noir sauce anglaise .
Eagerly and hungrily I chose the Foie Gras pôelé and then followed with the Noisette de Cerf (venison)
Eugéne, our wine specialist who has spent years in the trade, and often takes charge on these occasions, chose a sweet medium dry wine for all the starters (particularly good with foie gras, which he especially considered)
Coteaux du Layon – Single grape variety: chenin
And, for the main course we had a full-bodied Côtes du Rhone, Chateau d’Ampuis, 2009
All food and wine was excellent, and the conviviality of the service was perfect for our friendly pre-Christmas soirée.
I can certainly recommend Château d’Origny, and will no doubt be visiting it again very soon!