Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Mediterranean lunch

2003 -The Festival International des Jardins at Chaumont-sur-Loire offers excellent catering facilities for hungry visitors. Like many others we found our way to the restaurant area. There are numerous possibilities.
If you simply want a drink or an ice cream, there is ‘Le Palais des Glaces’. At the ‘Estimanet’ you’ll find sandwiches, cakes, salads and hot and cold drinks.
There is a gastronomic restaurant as well, called ‘Le Grand Velum’. The menu card offers inventive and refined French cuisine.
We went for ‘Le Comptoir Méditérranéen’. Here you’ll enjoy an all-in formula (drinks excluded) for a fixed price. When you arrive you buy a ticket per person. This ticket includes an aperitif of fresh bio vegetable juice. There are three flavours. We both chose the carrot and poppy juice, which as absolutely delicious. Once you’ve chosen your aperitif and your wine or other beverage to accompany your meal, a waiter will lead you to your table. There you’ll find a large jar of tomatoes and onions marinated in olive oil flavoured with garden herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc. and a packet of bread sticks. You just eat as much as you can; you are even allowed to eat the whole content of the jar … which we didn’t!
After this spicy ‘antipasti’ you walk to the buffet were three cooks with woks will prepare your meal from the ingredients you have chosen yourself. There’s pasta, bio vegetables, meat, different kinds of olive oil and homemade sauces, herbs, edible flowers, etc. Once again … everything is ‘à volonté’ (eat as much as you can). For dessert there’s Italian ice cream and cake.

We really enjoyed our meal, as it was light and refreshing. The tables are set under a large open tent facing a pond with water lilies and a flowering baobab tree. Closer inspection of the baobab after lunch taught us that the trunk was made of cement and the flowers of plastic. This was a bit of a disappointment as from a distance it had looked very real and alive.


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