Following an fascinating and fun-filled truffle hunt, which I will be posting soon, we headed to Chef Daniel Hébet's restaurant, Le Jardin du Quai.
Enter into the restaurant's lush garden court in the quaint village of Isle Sur La Sorgue, and you will find the charming rustic and modest veneer of this restaurant.
As soon as you walk through the doors, your eyes will be immediately be captivated by several beautiful time-treasured pieces that adorn the bar room, many of which I am sure were collected from antique shops throughout L'Isle Sur La Sorgue.
Gold against gold, gold against wood, gold moldings, there was definitely a theme. Perhaps influence of Louis XIV? Or maybe these treasures were the very glimmer of inspiration that drove the Sun King to such excess.
The ornate detail on this antique torch chandelier is simply magnificent.
Not so antique, but every bit as awesome, was the prosciutto and jamon slicer. I just love the red hot Harley Davidson polish of this magnificent machine.
Chef Daniel Hébet, who gets invited to cook across the globe, including once in New York by the James Beard Foundation, was summoned to away Paris on the day we visited. But Sherry Page, assured us that Chef Hébet knew we were visiting and made sure we were in good hands.
As everyone took their seat, orders of champagne and apéritifs went around the table. I asked for a kir, which is made with crème de cassis and white wine, the best kir I've ever had. Of course, this was before I knew we were also having a local white and red wine from Côtes du Luberon to pair with our lunch, so I got stuck with three glasses.
While altogether excessive, I do have to say if the welcome truffle dinner didn't teach me to pace myself, this lunch would certainly do so.
Bread is generally offered with olive oil in France, however butter is available per request, I just didn't expect that it would arrive on such a beautiful black slate. I think the butter should be customary, just so guests can have a little extra to admire on the table.
Our first course was poached eggs, topped with thinly shredded black truffles (tuber melanosporum), wrapped in prosciutto, ladled with crème fraîche and topped with tender onion chives.
I can't begin to express the magnificence of this combination with the richness of the egg yolk blending together with cream, delicate green chives and earthy truffles. I still can't get over the deep reddish-orange hue of the egg yolk, it must have ascended from a happy chicken roaming freely in grassy French pastures to be so beautiful.
This spectacular appetizer was followed by a dover sole, a mild white fish, that was gloriously dripping in butter, topped with overt whispers of truffles and accompanied by fresh tender mâche leaves.
And if you didn't think you received enough truffles, there was an extra truffle set on the table for your helping.
It was just asking for trouble. If I wasn't so dignified, I would have popped the entire thing in my mouth. Dignity is overrated.
Before we got too full, we were presented with a fillet of bœuf, medium rare over shaved truffles, diced celery root and mushrooms. Delicious in every way, and at this point I was stuffed.
Until Hilary asked about the colorful candy in the jar. At this point everyone's curiosity peaked. Did I tell you that everyone who signed up for this trip is a Leo? We were all born in August, and much like a cat, are intensely curious creatures. Can you guess what is in that jar?
Sherry Page asked us all not to tell anyone that type of candies they were, for fear that people would think Culinary Getaways was feeding us junk food. But does it really count if we asked for it? After all, it was very good candy, soft, spongy with sugar crystals, a stiff crumbly crust and sweet lemon accents, and they were hand crafted by Chef Daniel Hébet, himself.
Sherry was joking of course. These candies were as gourmet as they get, and they were none other than the humble marshmallow. A pleasant experience and a sweet ending.
LE JARDIN DU QUAI
91 avenue Julien Guigue
Isle-sur-la-Sorgue - 84800 Vaucluse - France