On Saturday afternoon, we decided to go back to Cluny and try another restaurant. Sophie, the gite hostess, had recommended a place, but we had trouble finding it. We stopped at a different restaurant instead. Again, I chose it after following my nose.
Au Bon Point is obviously very much a local dive. The dining room was full when we got there and everyone looked like they knew the place and its owners.
The menu is on the wall. This time, I was the adventurous one and Bill had a steak and fries.
We meat to have a bigger bottle of wine than this. We did rectify the situation with a great bottle from the South of France.
Bill enjoys his “faux filet”. The frites on his dish were outstanding… probably the best out of the entire trip.
I had shrimp in creamy risotto, with peas, carrots, and tiny pieces of jambon blanc (boiled ham). This was a very tasty dish, but it was also super messy! Bill laughed at me as I peeled the shrimp and got creamy risotto everywhere.
This was a delightful red from southern France, with lots of berries. I hope we can find it in these parts.
Bill had the cake of the day for dessert. It was apple, of course.
And I had a chocolate macaron, which basically ended up being a glorified lava cake. I’m not a big fan of lava cakes, but I suppose I have to have one on every trip. I think the chocolate sauce might have been Hershey’s syrup!
Because of all the wine, we capped off lunch with espresso.
Again, no one spoke English and we got a fine meal at a good price. I think we spent about seventy euros on this lunch and left fairly satisfied. I would go back again, although it wasn’t my favorite of all the places we tried. I think that honor goes to Caveau Heuhaus.
After lunch, we stopped into a winestore because Bill wanted to buy a bottle of locally produced “grappa”. Au Plaisir Dit Vin was an interesting stop, if only because the guy working there was definitely a salesman. We picked up a couple of packs of beer from Burgundy and Bill asked about the digestive he wanted. The man spoke English and helped him pick a bottle. As we were paying with a credit card, I spotted a bottle of wine I wanted, so we bought that in a separate transaction in cash.
A good liquor store.
The guy then asked us if we had time for a cup of coffee. Bill seemed reluctant, but I said yes. So the sales dude brought out two glasses of white wine. He explained that in France, if it’s four o’clock, a host will sometimes offer coffee and bring out wine. That way, it’s more socially acceptable to drink before five o’clock, I guess.
As we were trying the wine, I said I tasted lime and, of all things, shortbread. The sales guy asked me if I was Scottish. I laughed and said, “No, I am American, but many of my ancestors were Scots.”
The salesman then asked what we were doing in the area. He guessed maybe we were skiers, but he clearly didn’t get a good look at my ample physique. I haven’t been on skis since I was a teenager. We told him we’d just decided to see the area on a lark. When we said we were staying in Saint Marcelin-de-Cray, he said, “Ah… that is the REAL France!” Having been to a lot of France’s best known cities, I have to agree.
I am sure that if we hadn’t been interrupted by the next customers, an enthusiastic Russian couple who spoke English, we probably would have left that store with a lot more booze. I could tell the sales guy was looking to make some money.
After walking around a bit more so Bill’s head could clear, we went back to the farm, where I took more pictures and drank more wine.
The sky was ever changing and ever beautiful.
We climbed up the tower one more time so Bill could take a look at the sunset.
Our very gracious hostess told us that she didn’t have any bookings yesterday, so we could stay as late as we wanted to. I would have liked to have stayed longer yesterday, but we knew we had a six hour drive ahead of us. So after a good breakfast, we packed up and cleared out by 10:00am. We left our gite in fine spirits, as Sophie told us we’d be welcome back any time. I promised her I’d spread the word about her lovely accommodations to all of my friends. So I am doing that with these posts and I hope I can convince a couple of readers to take a journey into rural Burgundy and see “the real France”.
Not only is Burgundy beautiful and brimming with wonderful wines, it’s also a place where there is great hospitality. Once again, as we said goodbye to Sophie yesterday, we felt like we’d made new friends. That is the best part of a good trip.