Les Jardins d’Eole, Fougueyrolles

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The 8th of August is a day of the year I like.  Per the Blood Orange Brûlée post, birthdays are days to be celebrated be that with family, friends, pets, your duvet or a bottle of gin.  This particular birthday day has always been an easy one for me to remember because two people share it – my dad and an old girlfriend, Karen.  Bizarrely, I’ve not seen Karen in person since some point in the mid-90’s after we finished university, but we have exchanged birthday cards every year since then.  We’re not even friends on Facebook…  What’s really lovely about these cards is that they allow us to share a little bit about our lives once a year and keeps the contact alive via old school snail mail.  Quite lovely.  If it ever stops, I can only assume one of us has died… 🙂

Now, given my dad lives in France, and today was his birthday, we went out for lunch to a restaurant situated on a small grass strip airfield.  This picture shows you were the place is located in relation to the runway; what it doesn’t show is that it has the word RESTAURANT written in huge white letter across it’s roof.  I guess this is handy if you are passing pilot looking for somewhere to land for lunch…

Les Jardins d'Eole - Fougueyrolles

When he suggested we try this place, I was somewhat surprised, thinking that if it’s anything like British airfield cafés, the best we could hope for was something fried in a bread roll.  Oh, how wrong I was…!  Head Chef Noël Raffin is clearly an artist.  And a good one at that.  Just look at the presentation of the dessert sharing plate – simply beautiful and certainly one to slow down the passage of spoon to plate whilst you admire the artistry before tucking in.  This particular dessert plate included a apricot panna cotta, chocolate mousse, coffee ice-cream and, of course, a petite raspberry crème brûlée.

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The photograph is a little deceptive in that this ramekin was around 7cm in diameter, however the warm raspberry pink custard was peculiarly pleasant reminding me of the fun to be had picking and eating in-season raspberries straight off the bush.  The caramelisation was relatively thick but easily breakable, and no sugar grains were visible on the surface demonstrating that Noël had been paying attention with his blow torch!  Overall, in amongst all the other flavours and textures on this plate, this was a good effort, especially considering the interesting raspberry influence.  We also learned that Noël also prepared his brûlées with liquorice, coffee and pistachio custards… Amazing!!  Sadly, none of these were on offer otherwise this lunch might have taken somewhat longer…!  8/10.

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