Le Chassagne – Chassagne Montrachet
The town of Chassagne Montrachet sits on about 6.5 sq km and has a population just shy of 400 people, but you’d never know it from the empty streets and shuttered windows. The only signs of actual inhabitants are the cars parked in the town center across from its one star Michelin restaurant, Le Chassagne.
It is a hot and sweltering Saturday evening. We have just driven five hours from the airport and are in no mood to venture far for dinner. Thank goodness Le Chassagne is only a two minute drive from the Chateau. After freshening up, we get right down to the business of wining and dining.
Since we’re staying in this town, how could we go with anything other than a Chassagne Montrachet?
Amuse bouche (L-R): smoked salmon croustillant, sweet macaron with a thin layer of minced sardine, tomato gazpacho sipped with a straw, beet foam hiding a strip of smoked lard at the bottom.
Another pre-appetizer: one perfectly sweet cherry tomato stuffed with mozarella whipped cream and topped with a dehydrated basil leaf. The slight moistness on the plate is a drizzle of tomato flavored water.
A starter with a recurring theme of melons: foie gras creme brûlée topped with melon puree; Jamon Serrano resting on a slice of grilled melon; foie gras stuffed with candied melon and caramel flavored with ratafia, a local liqueur made with Marc de Bourgogne (similar to cognac) and grape must (unfermented grape juice).
Pan fried rouget with summer squash and translucent sheets of pulverized and reconstituted olives.
Cod with a light and lemony beurre blanc. For some reason, I’m really enjoying the side dish of chewy fregola with bits of artichokes and cherry tomatoes.
Bresse chicken with baby vegetables. I have read so much about the Poulet de Bresse, the prized free-range breed grown in the Bresse area of the Rhone-Alps. There is supposed to be some gaminess to the meat. While I can’t discern that so much, I can tell a slight spring to the meat.
This is our first taste of Citeaux, one of Burgundy’s famous local cheese. The soft and not too pungent cow’s milk cheese is made at the Abbaye de Citeaux by modern day Cistercian monks. It’s served with very finely minced onions and a mesclun salad. Paired with our remaining Chassagne Montrachet, it takes on a much sweeter flavor with honey-like undertones.
Raspberry champagne jelly topped with a raspberry purée. A jaunty verbena leaf sticks out of the concoction.
Apricot from Provence, rosemary confit, almond ice cream and fresh raw almond, all sitting on top of a slice of genoise. This is the first time I’ve eaten an almond where the pliable nut meat is still nestled in its pod. As I bite into it, there’s a soft crunch followed by a burst of almond flavor then a slightly bitter aftertaste.
We leave well-fed and satisfied. If this is only a preview of meals to come, this will be one terrific trip.
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