Bistrot Découverte Charming Restaurant in Saint Remy South of France


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 Posts
Truffle 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

51 comments:

A Canadian Foodie said...

Real fat is the difference. Love this post and all of my visits to the south of France... but, I have never taken a cooking class there. This is definitely on my bucket list. I am fascinated by your experiences, as always. They amaze me!
:)
Valerie

Angie's Recipes said...

What a fascinating experience! Too much truffle? hehe....maybe you were just saving the space for the dessert? ;-)

sweetlife said...

I don't think you can have too many truffles, glad you changed your mind.

chuls@sweeetlifebake

Meena said...

Ooh, I love the entire post on this lovely restaurant but that molten choc cupcake really sent me over the edge:))

lostpastremembered said...

Christine, I must have that ceiling!!!! Those walls... what texture! Great post and you make it seem impossible to miss visiting... the wine list must have been amazing. Great photos too...especially love that caramel colored soup.

sophia said...

lol, when in doubt, add more butter! So true. ;-)

I'm so envious of your belly. Oh, the treats it gets! I've never even tried truffles before, but I don't think one can get too much of truffles.

TKW said...

I'm so confused about the French. They aren't, in general, fat. They claim to eat everything in moderation, and yet I remember reading a post by David Leibovitz stating that hardly any French women actually drink wine.

Whaa? Sacre bleu! No wine in France? That's just not right? So what is it, you suppose?

Had to laugh at the American outrage at the "fat drizzle." If they only knew what was in their Olive Garden pasta!

Simply Life said...

wow, what a great place to be able to visit!

Belinda @zomppa said...

When time passes and your memories are THIS good...you KNOW it was the real deal! I agree with Canadian Foodie - real fat is the way to go!

Mari's Cakes said...

Love the wine cellar photos. I'll stay with the chocolate molton cupcake!

Have a great day : 0

tasteofbeirut said...

Saint Rémy would be a must stop for me as I missed it and I was living in Aix!
I love that bistrot and their cave! We had a cve similar to that one, albeit smaller, when we lived in France; the floor was made of "terre battue" , beaten earth or dirt!
Anyway, love the idea of adding more butter, I love butter! especially good butter from Normandie.
I think the reason these folks do well is the fact that they live more outdoors than is done in urban USA and they do more things manually so exercise more, walk more for sure!

Pam said...

What a great, run experience. You are so lucky! Truffles are the best!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Wouldn't I love to have such a wine cellar!

Yasmeen said...

A totally enjoyable meal.The soup part cracked me up :D

Kim said...

This restaurant looks so charming and full of character. I enjoyed the part about the soup, so funny how cultures have different outlooks on things such as butter.

alison said...

wonderful places,thanks for sharing!

5 Star Foodie said...

What a lovely place! Right now I would love that molten chocolate cupcake, yum!

Joanne said...

The French DEFINITELY know how to eat! I would love to have tasted some of the food at that restaurant.

I firmly believe that if you eat REAL food, it's just really hard to gain weight. It's not olive oil that makes people fat...it's McDonald's. Seriously.

nancy at goodfoodmatters said...

Beautiful lunch---and it's true, Christine, the real fat is not the problem....it's all the processed stuff, ersatz foods,modified this-and-that that is contributing to the obesity of Americans.

Lori said...

Could not agree more about fat? Funny how we think cultures which eat real, satisfying food are strange. We are the strange ones with all the processed, diet junk. Glad you brought this up.

Now, I need a set of those bowls. How cool with that sloping edge. I love your shots of the wine cellar as well.

Lori said...

Ha! Didn't mean that question mark in my first sentence. I meant I couldn't agree more about the fat. Period. :)

Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog said...

Really a charming restaurant with a lovely wine collection....I want the chocolate molton cupcake :)

Cheers,

Gera

OysterCulture said...

Alright this bistrot is on my list of must see too. What a gorgeous place we went to one similar to this, don't ask me where in France, it was driving through Burgundy (pre food blogging days so I did not keep track) but oh the food. Our food was not the same but the exposed brick just brought back the memories.

What a trip your visit to France was - hopefully I get to hear about it in detail when you come to SF in July.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Christine, what a fabulous review of Bistro Decouverte. You captured it beautifully. I smiled as I saw Claude's small bookshelf with the cookbooks beside the plat de jour board - I had forgotten all about the bookshelf. I'm always curious about what books are on other people's shelves, especially chefs.

It's amazing how the French aren't afraid of what to us looks like large amounts of butter and olive oil. Maybe someday someone will figure out the French paradox. Shame on you for even thinking of leaving a truffle. May West said, "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."

Your pictures are fantastic and make me want to hop the next jet to Marseilles and drive up to Saint Remy. Thanks for the shout out on my review of it, or the French would say, "Merci beaucoup."
Sam

Barbara said...

Lovely review, Christine! And how lovely that Sam gave you the hint about what a marvelous restaurant this is.
And your photos are charming. I'd love to go here on my next trip to France.
I've always thought it was the walking that kept French women slim. Certainly Parisian women. I think they do much more of that than we do..and I also think we eat more processed foods.

Cathy said...

Oh, how I long to go back to France. Your post brings back many wonderful experiences and memories of amazing meals.

www.dhaleb.com said...

Isn't it amazing how much butter is used in French cuisine yet they don't have pressing issues with obesity?!

We're off to France in August and it can't come any sooner. Looking at your photos isn't helping time fly any faster either!

Sook said...

What a lovely post. I enjoy reading about your trip and also the beautiful photos. :)

Stella said...

Hey Christine, Bistro Decouverte sounds so enchanting, especially to me since there is no food scene in my hollow.
I agree with the comment about good fat too. There is certainly no harm in moderate amounts of things like virgin olive oil and organic, local butter!

El said...

Oh my! What I wouldn't give for this vacation and this food right now. I think the chefs enjoy throwing butter in just to freak out the Americans. All in all--amazing!!

Danielle said...

I wonder what percentage of the french population are obese. With all the good food, pastries, wine, cheese....cuz if it's not an issue there, then I think that's where I need to go to lose weight:D

Sybil Hebert, RD said...

Such a well written post, Christine! Feels like I was there! :)

Trissa said...

Thank you for sharing Christine! When I read this, I also thought - wow - what was she thinking to leave a truffle on her plate!? Does she know how many starving foodies there are in this world who would die for that? Like me! :)

Cinnamon-Girl said...

I think Pierre had the right idea! Certain cream soups really benefit from a good glug of oil. The lunch looks wonderful from start to finish!

John Dryzga said...

This is the place I have been searching for. I am going to purposely book a flight to France to dine here sometime next year.

Chow and Chatter said...

oh wow that risotto looks amazing and I want the molton choc cake have a great weekend

tigerfish said...

I was looking at the soup with oil too! But it's ok...it's good oil :) I wonder how it affects the taste of the soup?

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Christine, I had to come back for another peak into one of my favorite bistros in the world. Did they plan the meal with truffles especially for your group? I'm really impressed. Thanks again for sharing this.
Sam

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thanks so much for everyone's kind comments.

Sam - This meal was customized by Bistrot Découverte to fit in the Truffle Week theme. You've inspired me, someday I'll return for a two month stay, and really get to know the region!

Tigerfish - As you can imagine, adding more oil makes the soup that much richer, which isn't such a bad thing. :)

Danielle said...

What a cute, gorgeous bistro, it's going on my 'must visit' list for sure. This post reminded me of the places we visited in Burgundy last Winter - exposed brick walls, faded window shutters, chalkboard menus...ahhhh!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I remember Sam's post about this restaurant. what a treat for you to have lunch there and you left a slice of truffle...you naughty girl. Your review almost makes me feel like i was there.

Gloria said...

I love this, the wines all, love your pictures too Christine, beauty review, have a nice day, gloria

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Now I have heard it all! "Too much truffle"??? Lovely post and pics as usual!

Debinhawaii said...

What a fun and gorgeous little place and that food looks incredible. I think the soup needs more butter though! ;-)

Penny said...

I too remember Sam's post. Loved your pictures and the meal looks perfect even with the added oil. I am going to Provence next year for sure.

Trix said...

Oh poor you, too many truffles!! Well, I think it's definitely all the walking - I lost weight in Vienna despite the mountains of dumplings and cheese I consumed! I would never say no to some lovely butter. ; )

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

Oh what a glorious dining experience. It all looks wonderful. I would love that squash soup....not to mention those chocolate cupcakes!
xo

Claudia said...

Oh Christine, Oh Christine, I am lapping up the photos, wishing you brought back all the extra truffles for me and thinking how sweet some days and meals can be. You brought me there. Thank-you.

Mimi said...

Great photos of a lovely looking meal.
Mimi

My Little Space said...

France! My dream place to visit! The photos look stunning. Thank you so much for the tour, the place is gorgeous.
Have a nice day!
Cheers, Kristy

Daniela said...

I have to say that I love all your posts, and you take really nice pictures! I'm lovin' it! ;)