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Äponem

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The story behind chef Amélie Darvas and sommelier Gaby Benicio reads like a wonderful fairytale. It all began in the 2010s at their superb Parisian bistro Haï Kaï, before continuing at this splendid 17th-century presbytery in the Hérault department, with incredible panoramic views of the Gorges de la Peyne. In a space combining blonde hardwood floors and velvet chairs, the other day at lunch Amélie’s locavore menu sent us into ecstasies: striking amuse-bouches to kick things off – fried zucchini blossoms from the garden, mini puffed pizzas with goat cheese and piquillo peppers, beetroot-redcurrant maki, boudin noir with Banka trout roe…; followed by magical brioche French toast cooked in an eel-infused milk; a braised lettuce heart doused in a sublime fresh almond milk, with a goat cheese gratin top and a dash of fig leaf oil; an intriguing fried egg and diced zucchini casserole electrified with a carrot/turmeric jus; a goat cheese and artichoke ravioli plunged into a monastic vin jaune broth; leerfish fillet smoked over lavender, which might have been a bit too intense; a dry-aged steak served with an incredibly full-bodied jus de viande and cinnamon-spiced spinach; before a marigold and almond milk floating island, then some cheeky cotton candy sprinkled with lime zest and grated Timut pepper to end the meal! // G.LeP.

FEELING THIRSTY? Gaby has a 700-strong selection of wines: an Aude Carignan from the Domaine Balansa (€9 a glass), a Beaujolais-Villages red from Jean-Claude Lapalu (€38 a bottle), a Jura Poulsard from the Domaine de la Pinte (€50)…

PRICE: Menus €55 (lunch) and €89 (dinner).

Le Fooding’s 2022 Guide is fresh out of the oven!

What’s on the menu this year? A brand-new selection of 200 restaurants, bars and bedrooms across France, articles sprinkled throughout the magazine, the taste of the times distilled down to its purest form in our highly anticipated award’s list and, for the very first time, two new guides to the country’s best stand-out shops and spirited cellars!

2021 Le Fooding guide frontcover
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Le Fooding is a print and digital guide to all the restaurants, chefs, bars, stylish hotels and B&Bs that make up the “taste of the times,” plus an annual awards list for new establishments across France, a series of gastronomic events, a tool that allow you to make reservations at some fantastic bistros, and an agency specialized in event planning, content production and consulting… In short, something to keep you on your toes at all times!

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