During Truffle Week in February, following a lovely tour of the farm fresh foods at Saint Remy outdoor market, our hungry group headed to Bistrot Découverte. I was quite excited about visiting this cute bistro after reading My Carolina Kitchen's review of this restaurant. Sam, who writes a food column for her local newspaper in North Carolina, considers the experiences at Bistrot Découverte among her favorite memories of her two month long trip.
Bistrot Découverte was started by two chefs, Claude and Dana, whose backgrounds included working with Alain Senderens and Joel Robuchon in Paris and Marco Pierre White in London.
When you enter the restaurant, you'll immediately notice the glass floor at the front entrance, which gives you a peek into the impressive wine collection in the cellar below.
Perusing the wine list, it is to no surprise that Claude was voted ‘best sommelier’ in London, 1999.
Before taking our seats for lunch, I walked downstairs to view the wine cellar.
In addition to storing racks of dusty valuable bottles, the cellar is also used as a dining room to host dinner parties. The cave appears to be carved out of soft limestone, which is a common mineral of this region, a legacy of the last Ice Age. The soft white calciferous walls were illuminated by candles and soft lighting to create a warm and cozy ambiance. I imagined all of the romantic and special occasions that must have taken place in the rustic and intimate room.
Back upstairs, we sat down for lunch, and ordered the daily special. The menu at Bistrot Découverte changes frequently, offering seasonal dishes created from ingredients sourced from the local market. Our first course was a warm bowl of squash soup. As soon as it reached the table, I watched our friend Pierre pour 3-5 rounds of olive oil into it without hesitation. And then with as much ease, he cut a chunk of butter and dropped it into his bowl. I still chuckle about the ensuing shocked faces around the table, 4 tiny American women who were simply not accustomed to such excess, balking at it as if a crime had been commited. This lunch was preceded by a French cooking class, where the biggest takeaway lesson was: when in doubt, add more butter!
I had a bit of a reflective moment. I imagine that the French must be perplexed by America's fascination with the fat-free / low-fat diet. Seeing how happy and healthy the people are in the South of France, I know there is no reason to be afraid of some fat, especially if it is real fat.
Our second course was a white truffle risotto, made from Italian white truffle oil and topped with shaved black truffles. It was comforting, creamy and satisfying. Accompanying the fare were sweet, succulent, seared scallops with more slices of fresh black winter truffles on the side. I think it was at this point, about halfway through the Culinary Getaways tour, I began to wonder whether it was possible to get sick and tired of black truffles. I thought about leaving a truffle slice on the plate just in case I had too many, it was getting to be a bit much, and then changed my mind.
Months have passed since this lunch, and I can tell you that I must have had a moment of insanity to consider letting a perfectly good slice of fresh black truffle go to waste. What was I thinking?!
We rounded out lunch with a chocolate molton cupcake, served with French vanilla ice cream. Imagine the rich, creamy decadent dark sauce that oozed from the center as I sent my fork through the cake. It was warm, luscious and a sweet way to celebrate our visit to one of the most well-loved villages in Provence.
Related PostsTruffle Hunting in Provence
Chez Bruno - The Ultimate Truffle Dining Experience in Provence
Saint Rémy de Provence
Bistrot Découverte in Saint Rémy de Provence
Château Beaucastel Winery of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Châteauneuf-du-Pape - One of the World's Premier Wine Region