Lucy Self, Editor at Large has a spiritual awakening in the Drome, France
Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is essential to the morale. In a modern world where there is an increasing lack of community, we search to replace this lack of social spiritual poverty, this essential need for social company, the desire for participating in a ‘communal’ companionable experience, in one way… eating together, and where better than at a gastronomic restaurant!
‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.’
So I found myself invited to try the restaurant L’ Escalin and ended up dining with two charming French men in the Drome. Although tribally different, our mutual delight in enjoying one of the most delicious meals found us opening up about life, religion and experiences ( good food, great wine can do this!) Like so many simple, almost religious in experience, sharing a meal together is the most humanistic gesture left to society and can lead to great friendships.
The brilliant chef Serge Fricaud puts forward a modern reinterpretation of French gastronomic cuisine at the Logis de L’Escalin that surprises and delights. He creates a neoclassical and sometimes mischievous menu where seasonal products always take centre stage, textures are played with and our senses are thrilled. Since 1993, this family run gastronomic restaurant Le Logis de l’Escalin, ideally placed below the stunning village of la Garde Adhémar in the Drôme Provence provides a haven of gastronomic bliss. Chef Fricaud is not just an expert but he is also a purist. Everything that comes out of his kitchen is made by hand, there are no compromises with his artistic creations ; from home baked bread to even curring his own ham.
Petite Assiette de patience
La declinaison de fois gras de canard en chaud et froid et son escalopine sur pomme cannelle
Terrine de ris de veau et artichaut gelee a la Truffe et blanc manage aux herbes fines
Rouget de Roche, legumes de provence fineent tailles, jus de pistil de safran
Noix de St Jacques sur compote de choux au lard, reduction d’un bouillon de pot au feu vigneron
Bar cuit sur la peau, creme a la Truffe
Croustillant de filet de lievre, marinade reduite facon grand veneur
Noisette d’agneau de sisteron euskadi et son aiguillette d’Encornet Grillee
Chariot de fromage affines
Faiselle de fromage blanc
Dessert au choix a choisir en debut de repas
I started with Foie Gras and what a delight ! Different textures, inspirations and surprises awaited me with even a foie gras irish coffee ! Heaven ! I followed this with the Noix de St Jacques with a surprising puree of cabbage, slivers of seasonal vegetables and splash of essence with the sauce. Finishing with a soufflé that was light and airy, I was transported.
As we meditated on the secular descendant of Eucharist (being an atheist I learnt that the origins of this tradition is in the notion that once a week Christian communities put aside work and gathered around a table in order to commemorate the last supper) I began to realize that the Christians understood that when we satiate our bodily hunger that we are often readiest to direct our minds to our spiritual needs.
This is what Serge Fricaud stupendously induces ; spiritual well –being through the art of food.