Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hélène Darroze

On Friday evening I enjoyed one of the most delicious, luxurious and expensive meals I have ever had. Perhaps simply the best.

Hélène Darroze is a young chef who recently received her second Michelin star. I may be wrong, but I think Pic in Valence is the only other woman who has received this accolade. OK, she is now a trendy name in the gastronomical world, and she has prices to match, but I really believe it is worth it.

We decided to go for the tasting menu with a delectable selection of 7 courses. After our scrumptious pink champagne apéritif, we started with small lobster slices and vegetables, drizzled with almond gazpacho. The second starter was foie gras with asparagus and crispy artichoke. This was followed by an aubergine caviar ravioli with sheep's cheese, with tomato and basil. Then came the fish course, which was a fantastic tuna fillet which melted in the mouth, surrounded with a duet of piperade and balsamic vinegar sauces. The meat came in the form of a stuffed tomato, but here the stuffing was duck confit and foie gras. The cheese trolley came next with a selection from the south west and then the grand finale began with a panna cotta with strawberry sorbet and strawberries and a final chocolate grenache with raspberries. Coffee and delicious truffles followed, as well as macaroons and nougat of all kinds.

The experience of this dining extravaganza will stay with me for a long, long time. I did wonder if it would be worth the price tag, and of course there is an argument which says that a month's rent should be spent on housing and not splashing out, but it was such a pleasure to treat my parents to this experience that I think it's worth the pasta and butter meals I'll be eating for the next two months...

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