During our travels in the south of France while visiting my college friend Beth Thrasher-Broidy and her husband Marc, we stopped in the small town Eugenie-les-Bains for an incredible lunch at La Ferme aux Grives, one of the restaurants at the hotel Les Pres d’Eugenie. Not only was the meal one of the top three I’ve ever eaten IN MY LIFE (and as a foodie, that’s saying a lot!), the setting was beautiful, and, best of all, I had the special opportunity to meet the owners, the infamous Chef Michel Guerard and his wife Christine. He is a very inspiring man who has been awarded three Michelin stars every year for over 35 years – one of only two chefs to achieve this honor! An amazing afternoon that I want to share with you as best I can.
As I mentioned, the hotel and grounds are beautiful. Here are a few photos to give you an idea of what it is like:
Check out these cool sterling silver martini sets that were in the bar – shaker and glasses to match! I want one please!!
That was the main hotel. From there we walked over to the farm house where we were to have lunch:
Here I am with my husband Robert on the patio in front of La Ferme aux Grives:
Inside, in the main dining room was an incredible display of fresh fruits and vegetables . . .
. . . with hams hanging from the chandeliers above!
But it was too nice outside to sit inside, so we enjoyed our fabulous lunch under one of these umbrellas:
On to the food! So amazingly wonderful – every single dish was scrumptious, with beautiful presentations. For the first course, Robert had Chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup with Mustard Ice Cream (yes, mustard ice cream!) – full of flavor, not too rich, sooo fab:
Beth and I both had the duck foie gras with a sort of mushroom mousse on the side. Truly the BEST foie gras I have ever had, and trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of it! So smooth, no harshness, and the mushroom mousse was a perfect complement to the duck flavor:
Marc had the tartare of seafood with chopped prawns and other shellfish along with smoked anchovies – lots of well-balanced flavors, and a wonderful presentation.
For the main course, Marc, Beth and Robert all ordered the grilled steak with sauce Bernaise. The steak was perfectly prepared on the rare side (but not too rare), and I loved the presentation of the bernaise sauce on the side of the steak, in a small white dish with a demitasse spoon!
I ordered the grilled veal chop that was coated with a mustard-Parmesan cheese sauce, and served with a light barbeque sauce on the side – again, in the darling white dish ( I scooped some out onto the plate). I can’t tell you how fabulous this veal was – like the steak, perfectly prepared, juicy, and the combination of the mustard, cheese and barbeque sauce was over the top.
For dessert, we ordered two dishes to share, which we all loved. First, the profiteroles with Tahitian vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce:
Then La Charlotte with fresh local strawberries and sauce. YUM!
So, after all that, here we are in a food coma!
Shortly after this photo was taken, we saw Chef Guerard, his wife, children and grand children all exit the inside dining room. I was so excited that he was there – he is an icon in the food world! I casually wandered over to see if I could talk to him, but he had slipped into the men’s bathroom. I waited around, trying not to look too conspicuous, then he came out and immediately took off for another part of the grounds on the property. Bummed, I went back to our table, where Robert, Beth and Marc all told me to go after him. So, I grabbed my camera and off I went!
Quickly walking across the grounds of the hotel complex gave me a few minutes to come up with the words – in French – that I wanted to say to him. Fearful I was going to lose him, I started to sort of walk-run along the path. As I came into the courtyard of the main hotel, there he was, talking to the gardener! I wasn’t too late! With my limited French, I said excuse me, hello, introduced myself, told him I was a big fan and asked if I could have a photo with him. He smiled and said yes! But who would take the photo? I started to hand my camera to the gardener, but he was holding a hose watering the flowers. What now? Fortunately, Chef’s son saw what was happening, came to the rescue and offered to take the photo. Chef’s wife Christine also came over and joined the photo too. Here we are:
SO exciting! One of those special days that Robert and I will remember – and talk about – for years to come. Many many thanks to Beth and Marc for taking us to this wonderful place!