Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
It is dusk when we arrive in Rocamadour, a beautiful, ancient French village that clings tenaciously to the edge of a sheer, rocky cliff. We spend some time wandering through the tiny, one-street village before hiking up to the church of Notre Dame, an icon on the pilgrimage route, known for its black Madonna. By the time we reach the chateau on top of the cliff, it is closed for the day but we are not too disappointed. After all, the view of the village is far better than the view from it.
We peak at a few menus on the way down the mountain but nothing really catches our fancy until we arrive at the Hotel Restaurant du Lion d’Or near the village’s main gate. The four-course menu that features truffles, foie gras, the local goat’s cheese and a dessert for a mere 38 Euros is the star of the show and we are immediately hooked.
Our starters – foie gras pate and scrambled eggs with truffles – arrive promptly and we are not disappointed. The eggs are wonderfully creamy and perfumed with the delicious scent of truffles. There is a generous shaving of truffle on top of the eggs, and more bits of the black gold mixed into the eggs. The foie gras pate is also delicious, especially when paired with the sweet chutney and crusty bread.
For mains, the three of us order all the regional specialities – omelette with cepes, cassoulet with confit of duck, and steak with foie gras. The foie gras is exceptional and done just the way I like it – lightly seared with plenty of salt. It is the perfect accompaniment to the wonderful, tender French beef.
The omelette was huge and stuffed with plenty of cepes. I’ve never had cepes before, and these were a great first introduction. They are nice and meaty, and taste great with the eggs and the scattering of parsley on top.
The duck cassoulet was the heaviest of the three dishes. We had never sampled a cassoulet before, so we weren’t sure what to expect. The duck was fall-off-the-bone tender and really delicious. The dish came with three drumsticks, which was more than enough for one person, especially when paired with the heavy cassoulet or white bean stew. This dish would have been great during the cold winter months, but is much too heavy for the summer heat.
The 38 Euro, four-course meal comes with both cheese and dessert. My companions can’t stand goat cheese, so I have the slice of the local Rocamadour cheese all to myself. Like most goat cheeses, this one is incredibly creamy; it tastes pungent, and leaves a bitter after-taste, which is quickly dispelled with a bite of walnut. Rocamadour cheese is a little strong for my tastes, which is probably why it comes in such small portions!
We have a trio of desserts to finish our incredible meal. Ile flotant and tarte tatin are typical French desserts that are available anywhere, but the third, a walnut cake, is what I look forward to the most, since walnuts are a regional speciality. Unfortunately, it is soaked in far too much rum for my tastes, and the other desserts aren’t outstanding either.
After the meal, we waddle out of the restaurants, having eaten far too much. While the 28-Euro and 18-Euro menus were decent, the star of the show at the Hotel Restaurant du Lion d’Or was clearly the 38-Euro menu. It was great value for money and featured all the regional specialities. Featuring fresh, local ingredients, this meal was a masterpiece of French cooking.
We leave early in the morning the next day, but not before pausing for a last look at the incredible view.
This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece.
Hotel Restaurant du Lion d’OrMedieval city, 46500 Rocamadour, France
If you’re planning to eat at the restaurant, do book in advance to reserve a table by the window so you can admire the beautiful view of the gorge while you eat.
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