Whilst the vineyards and the seemingly never ending supply of wine hold reign over Bordeaux and it’s surrounding villages, the food does hold its own and there are a few lovely eateries serving up good hearty grub.
In the magical village of St. Emilion, there is no dearth of restaurants, bistrots and cafes, but one that our wine guide took us to, L’huitrier Pie was outstanding. Apart from the a la carte, there is also a blackboard from which to choose and I just happened to be in luck as they had veal sweetbreads on that day! Beautiful – cut into small pieces and sauteed till crispy and served with wild mushrooms, market vegetables and parsnip puree, all washed down happily with a Chateau Milens, 2004.
At the end of our wine tour, whilst going for a coffee, I chanced upon this shop on top of the hill where the oldest church in Bordeaux stands – the only downside is that there is always a queue until everything runs out. I just so happened to grab the last box of the still warm caneles and I have to say that these really are some of the best to be had – soft, almost gooey with a slightly crisp and chewy outside. Heaven! Caneles are a speciality of Bordeaux. The story goes that wine originally used to be clarified using egg whites which the nuns used to supply the wine merchants, who in turn would give the nuns rum, vanilla and spices that was brought back from the new worlds. The nuns, then would use the egg yolks and these new ingredients and make little cakes.
In Bordeaux, a stones throw from the river in the old part of town is the lovely little brasserie, La Tupina, serving typical South West French food, including Lamprey – a local fish from the Gironde river. Other dishes include a cote de boeuf for 3-4 people to share, goose, rotisserie chicken and a hearty cassoulet with the quintessential dessert, pain perdu (French Toast) served with custard and berries. Great fresh food, full of locals, friendly service!
A couple of other places that have been highly recommended by our wine tour guide and various other people are Verretigo Restaurant and the Grand Theatre Cafe, both for their food and exceptional wine lists. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to these on this trip.