Thursday, June 9, 2011

Farm To Table, French Style

A recent Saturday morning found me browsing my favorite farmers market in the whole wide world: Beaune, Burgundy, France.  I love the seasonal changes, the perfection of the merchandise, the variation that is offered between a “covered” indoor market adjacent to a fresh outdoor market, next to a small open-air antique market, all set right in front of the magnificent 15th century Hotel Dieu and steps from our door.  Sweet!


As we move into summer, we found these “coeur de boeuf” tomatoes across France; they were spectacular, similar to an heirloom, but not a variety we find in the States. I used them later in a Boeuf Bourguigonon~


We hit asparagus season at its peak; thin green “wild,” purple (sweetest), and fat white as well as standard green~


This local farmer offered white, medium and large sizes; I chatted with the woman next to me in the long line; she buys the fattest ones as those are most tender; peel and then boil for about 15 minutes; the taste is slightly bitter but wonderful, not like the green we get in the U.S.~


But whatever you do, please don’t touch the asparagus!~


As always, artful display is everywhere; f r e s h~


We loaded up on cheese, a chicken, berries, crème fraiche, veggies, herbs, soaps, spices, gifts and other goodies, then around 11am took a scenic drive into the hills north of Beaune, where we found the beautiful mustard fields~


I had made lunch reservations at a small farm north of Beaune.  There is a single seating at around 12:30pm, and you arrive to a small pasture and compound of buildings, and on this day, a beautiful blue sky; that’s Laura on approach~


This farm & restaurant is called La Ruchotte, run by Frederic Menager and his wife Eva.  You must go by car, it is far from public transport; before arriving at the Auberge, you see the various rare-breed livestock for which the farm is known~


Baa baa little black sheep~


This is a working farm, but of course one that is full of charm~


Frederic is a well-trained chef, having worked in Paris and elsewhere in France before coming to own La Ruchotte.  All the produce we ate was raised at the farm, and as you see here, an explanation of how they make their own bread “au levain” which is the old way, make their patisserie with unrefined Madagascar sugar, and each product is chosen “with greatest rigor and without concessions of any kind”~


The menu is set, you get what is seasonal and perfect, prepared and assembled by Frederic in a creative way.  Our first plate was a most perfect poached egg, from the farm of course, topped with “wild” asparagus, and a broth that I can’t quite explain except to tell you it was delicious!!!


R chose a Monthelie to accompany the poached eggs~


The entire meal was accompanied by equally perfect home-made bread, which was used to sop up the egg yolk and broth, delish~


Our second second plate was lamb, and luckily we got the rib portion; this was the best lamb I have had in ages… was extra tender and tasty, cooked perfectly, accompanied by the spring vegetables, herbs and caramelized onions.  We had a bottle of Chambolle Musigny to go with this~


The poor lamb met its fate on Tuesday before, and I said a little prayer of thanks to the animal; there is such an awareness in France that a few days ago an animal gave its life so you can have a meal.  Kinda wants to make you go vegetarian, or at a minimum, eat little meat~


For dessert, we had a composed plate of rhubarb compote, fresh strawberries, strawberry ice cream and a rolled “tuile,” again all home made.  Perfection~


I don’t remember but I think we declined the cheese plate; we had eaten well, our big meal of the day.  We emerged several hours later into the sunshine and the rustic beauty of this farm.  The basic meal is 35 euros, by the way~IMG_6431[1]

R was driving but I made him stop along the route home to take a series of photos here; the beauty of the hidden corners of France; the beauty of a lovely Saturday in Burgundy…when we are unscheduled and guests often nap after lunch~


Laura and I went for a walk to the park after lunch, and we enjoyed our time of calm.  Next I will tell you about our fantastic Sunday meal~


  1. ~Sigh~ I would love to go with you! You captured it so beautifully!

  2. WOW... what stunning photos... and the food yummy thanks for sharing with us Have a lovely weekend


  3. Andrea, I agree with Hollace breathtaking photos!! It made me want to hop a plane right now and fly there!! Have a lovely weekend!

  4. I am now going to drown my sorrows in a glass of French wine........I am so jealous! Great Pictures looks like you had an awesome trip... Love the goat!!!!Maryanne ;)

  5. Better than any travel magazine!
    And now I want my own sheep.

  6. Such a lovely post and photographs. You have flung petrol on the fire of my need to get away; my trip to Budapest cannot come quickly enough! Dave and I were headed to Paris, Basque, Breton, Lyon and many more when he became sick last August. God willing, that trip has merely been put on the back burner; in the meantime...or should that be goodtime?...your delightful blog takes me there.

  7. Wish I was strolling there once more...

  8. Thank you so much for this post i'm discovering only now!
    Hope to see you back at home...your pictures are wonderful!

    Eva et Fred Ménager- La Ruchotte