The thing about being away from home for Christmas is that it is such a risk, you could completely ruin the one chance at Xmas you have for that year. So if you’re going to do it then you gotta do it properly right? So we decided on Raymond Blanc’s 2 michelin starred flagship hotel “Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons”. Sounds tasty already doesn’t it!
However, Raymond did his utmost to spoil the event by the incredibly bad result of “The Restaurant” TV programme where the two winners couldn’t cook and only seemed to have one discernible talent which was being able to high five each other every 5minutes. Tits!
So, Xmas eve and we arrive at the incredibly beautiful restaurant, me in a scruffy top and ripped jeans. Yes, I know, a lout. We asked if it was possible to have lunch – expecting this to be a snack in a bar or something…. unfortunately it meant being shown through to a posh lounge and plied with free champagne whilst the staff tried to fit us in to the restaurant. So there is me in my ripped jeans surrounded by people in suits, diamonds and posh frocks. doh! They managed to find a table and I just hid myself under the table cloth (-:
The lunch was superb, three delicious courses with wine. This was followed soon after by a three course cookery demonstration with more wine (the cookery was wasted on me but the experience was great, imagine being able to cook all those different things at the same time!). We checked into our amazing room – we had our own two story dovecote and just collapsed feeling very fat and kind of dreading dinner, which is a strange thing to say at Raymond Blanc’s place!
Dinner involved more free champagne (in fact it was free all over the time we were there) followed by amuse bouche… followed by 5 courses of amazing food… followed by chocolates.
The courses were as follows…
- Spiced velouté of cauliflower, plancha-seared scallop
- Confit of ‘Landais’ foié gras, vanilla, quince, aged balsamic vinegar, toasted sour dough
- Agnolotti of pumpkin and Roquefort, sage, toasted walnuts (that’s a sort of ravioli thingie)
- Pan-seared red mullet, salt cod brandade, artichoke, bouillabaisse jus
- Chestnut Brittany shortbread like a ‘Mont Blanc’ with passion fruit and old rum from La Martinique
So you can imagine how I felt after 12 courses of food at 11pm! Yep, peckish hehe.
Oooh, I forgot to mention the bread. Now I’m sure you know that bread in restaurants is the curse of all weak willed people. You try all day to keep your appetite by starving yourself silly, then before you’ve eaten any of the meal they ply you with bread and you get stuffed! This was a million times worse at Le Manoir as the breads were ridiculously nice…. they had mashed potato and beer bread!!!! And bacon bread!!! OMG.
So Xmas day started with a beautiful blue sky and a gorgeous breakfast of Eggs Benedict, of course I shouldn’t have eaten anything because at 1pm (I was smart this time) we sat down to the most amazing meal. It took 4hours to eat! Here is the menu for you foody types…
- Warm blinis of oak-smoked salmon, créme fraíche, osietra caviar
- Terrine of winter game, salad of baby beetroot (god this was gorgeous, instead of paté it was a jelly that tasted of gravy)
- Ravioli of lobster and pan-seared scallops, cumin and ginger scented jus
- Poached fillet of brill, cancale oyster, cucumber and wasabi (oysters still suck, they really do)
- Little pallet cleansing thingie
- Traditional roasted bronze turkey, braised chestnuts, cranberry sauce (trust me there was nothing traditional about this)
- (The alternative to this course was… wait for it…. piglet!!! OMG, Piglet?!?! From winnie the pooh?!?!!?!?
- Vacharin Mont D’Or heather honeycomb winter truffle
- Grand Marnier soufflé with an orange salad and warm ‘Madeline’ (I have no idea who she was but she never turned up)
- More chocolates
So you can see how this took four hours to eat right? I think the most perfect summary of the food I can provide is that it’s just like the name says… seasonal. Everything on your plate had its own individual flavour and tasted wintery, you never wanted to put more than one thing on your fork as each taste was just so nice. Of course that didn’t stop me from making a sammich out of stuff on my plate and some bacon bread hehe.
I managed to pinch one of Raymond’s business cards – oooh and we got a hand written Christmas card from him along with a huge hamper full of gifts. But my god was it expensive, but, worth every penny and will be impossible to top.
You’ll be pleased to know though that it’s New Years Day today and I went for a 4mile run at 10am.
Oooo, I forgot to mention another thing about the food… some of the puddings and chocolates had real gold leaf on them! How decadent