Domaine La Louviere, Malvies – August 2014

FWRR were granted the exclusivity of the the fine wines of Domaine La Louviere for Luxembourg earlier this year, shortly after we started up our own wine import business. The wines were among the first to be imported and among the first to be sold out. But do not worry – because there is still the great Le Galante on stock and maybe we can find a few of the reds too – even though our hearts cry every time a La Sedutrice or La Maitresse leaves the garage.

The outstanding artwork

The outstanding artwork

The outstanding art of work :-)

The outstanding art of work 🙂

That hit the spot

That hit the spot

But ever since the import started, Nicolas and Thore kindly invited us to come down down down south and have a look at the production and wineyards. And so we did. we stopped shortly before Barcelona it seems, and were amazed by the landscape,  which actually included more sunflowers than vines. I later told Nicolas, so this is the trick to wonderful herbal taste of the reds – you make them from sun flowers !!!!

Actually, wine maker and new on the team Jem (from Adelaide !!!) – showed us there were actually lots of wine grown on the land surrounding the Domaine.

Here´s some shots to get you an idea what awaited us.

The fountain and "market place" in front of the main building.

The fountain and “market place” in front of the main building.

The beauiful trademark fiirmly placed 4 times on the fountain

The beauiful trademark firmly placed 4 times on the fountain

The Pyrenees and attitude make room for a great wine growing climate

The Pyrenees and high attitude make room for a great wine growing climate

Suns everywhere.

Suns everywhere.

We were spoiled with good weather and Jem playing the perfect host, went shopping for us, right after arrival, and went to get us breakfast the next morning as well. That is great host playing. Good on ya.

First meal was cheese, charcuterie, fine La Louviere wines and …..more wines. What a nice arrival. Stefan made sure the beds were made and that all  of us were installed properly. A funny phone call from Nicolas set the tone of the stay, he was not to arrive until a few days later, but I could assure him we were well taken care of.

The next day we spend in beautiful Carcassonne, had a semi great lunch – and after returning to the domaine we relaxed with table tennis, rosé and ipads.

The big boys below Carcassonne

The big boys below Carcassonne

As always a Mr.Blue Sky when we are on a trip.

As always a Mr.Blue Sky when we are on a trip.

:-)

🙂

Hard to pick the shots to show you from the 200 I took.

Hard to pick the shots to show you from the 200 I took inside the old city.

one last one

one last one

and back the Domaine as I said time to rest before shower and dinner. The dinner I shall come back to in a review coming up shortly.

3 ages..

3 ages playing with rubber bands.

Returning after dinner most people called it a night and I opened a bottle of Rhum and were joined by the Bruxelles/Amsterdam connection in what turned out to be a longer drink – talk and night. I went to bed WAY over bed time but had a great evening. And mind you no hangover the next morning for reasons unexplained to man,

Next day was spend partly at the near by lake and for my part, shopping and cooking for our hosts and us. I had asked Stefan to find a “room with a view” – and the table and setting blew us away. Thank you most sincerely Stefan for arranging this, the evening was truly awesome. A pearler.

Before the dinner Jem showed us around and we were explained what makes La Louviere so special and what they aim for. Nicolas arrived – almost not late and joined us for my Coq au vin, which I think he liked 🙂

New mates - Oscar and Jem

New mates – Oscar and Jem

Dinner

Dinner

A proud wine maker.

A proud wine maker.

Table - and my humble sandwiches to get us going.

Table – and my humble sandwiches to get us going.

Waiting for the "coq" to arrive - Nicolas :-)

Waiting for the “coq” to arrive – Nicolas 🙂

Wine were plenty and good and I got a bit tipsy and called it a night. Judging from the look of some of the fellow diners the next day, that was a wise move.

Last day we spend exploring the area, and packing – sigh – I beat our host Nicolas in table tennis…and was both amazed and happy just doing that. Two things to be noted. One – I have a bad right wrist 🙂 and two  – I do think the score were adjusted a bit just around the 19-18 area, where I thought I was behind and then all of sudden was leading. Never mind. The victory was sweet. Oh so sweet.

Before leaving Nicolas told me some exciting and good news as for the product range of the domaine. Looking foward to that my friend.

We sincerely hope this will not be the last time we are visiting this great domaine. We thank you Nicolas, Jem and Stefan for taking good care of us. And we are looking forward to importing MANY more of your fine wines to the delight of our customers. I shall leave you with a few shots taken by my brother Heiko Schneider – one of the fans of the wines of Domaine La Louviere.

And to those of you who have not tried the wines yet. Feel free to pass by the garage sale of FWRR in Helmsange, Luxembourg or call me at +352661187904 – and let us arrange a tasting for you.

Style and taste

Style and taste

Herbal taste :-)

Herbal taste 🙂

and a final shot of the sun and the beautiful courtyard.

Bye Bye...

Bye Bye…

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Hotel and Restaurant Les Florets, Gigondas, France – September 2013

This one has been sitting in my mind for quite some time. I actually thought I shared the wonderful stay we experienced there – but it seems I only shared it with you in my head.

I was at Les Florets the year before, and swore I would be back with my family. As it turned out it had to be the year after. As things went, I got to decide on how to spend the last few days of the summer 2013 vaction – and my mind was so made up. Gigondas, Hotel and Restaurant Les Florets, with a stop-over in Beaune driving down.

We got to stay here 3 nights. We visited the area, we got on top of the world, we dazed by the pool, had lots of great wines, and stunning food and service in this little paradise on earth.

I shall break the photos of the tour up in three chapters, one for each day and leave you to indulge in the photos rather than repeating my sentiments of the first stay.

Day one – 31 August 2013 – arrival, lunch pool and dinner.

The quiet romantic hotel with the al fresco dning.

The quiet romantic hotel with the al fresco dining.

Big boy Oscar

Big boy Oscar

and hungry Emil

and hungry Emil

The view from the restaurant is simply breath-taking, the valley, the hills, the rocky mountains, the flowers – the perfectly set tables.

My lamb

Aubergine in some fashion

Tomato, Avocado and I think Salmon

Tomato, Avocado and I think Salmon

Fish for Emil - somebody remove that lemon foam :-)

Fish for Emil – somebody remove that lemon foam 🙂

And the smile was back

And the smile was back

After dinner rest and then the long awaited pool.

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Lets finish day one with some shots from the evening.

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*

Day two – 1st September – Breakfast – Mont Ventoux – Gigondas – rest – Dinner

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Breakfast is great here, great selection and as mostly in France, great Croissants

Before we left for the mountain – I took some of the nicest shots of the boys ever, the colours where amazing, you can feel that Provence is just down the road.

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After that we took the car up to the top of the world. Quite a ride – not as tough for us – as for the bikers, but all those curves get to you in the end. But the view from up there is worth the hassle. It was a windy day, still when we started the climb it was a nice 23 degrees celcius. On th top it dropped to 13 (!) No wonder, Mont Ventoux rises nearly 2.000 meter above sea level.

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After those crazy hights  – it was nice to hit the valley of Gigondas – only to find there was a local festival, which came handy because the boys could use some of their saved energy, the restaurant I chose was close to crap, the wine not as nice as it should be – or could be, but all in all, sun was out, the missus pretty as ever –

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After a rest and a shower I got to sit down – rest and endulge in a bottle of Condrieu from nearby Saint Cosme.

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And right there in the middle of the beauty of all this, while waiting for the missus to come and join me, sipping the wine – I saw this old man reading his book, ever so quietly – and I thought – could there be any more quiet and beautiful way to spend your autumn.

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Dinner was enjoyed inside, the mistral had arrived. I shall not bore you with too many details. We had open wines, they were all great. I had one of the best pieces of meat EVER.

What a piece ...

What a piece …

and it was good night.

Day 3 – 2nd September 2014 – Breakfast – Crocodile Park – Avignon – rest – Dinner

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The crocodiles came in all sizes, I think there was around 400 of them. Funny thing occured after 30-60 min. when Emil proclaimed. That one is alive !!! – He had not realized that apart from the wooden ones he sat on, – they were all maybe not moving alot – but most definetely alive and not to be taken lightly.

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Avignon is worth a visit, great local food at Lou Mistral, not so funny incident occured when I left to look at a shoe-shop across the street while the others was on the toilet. Emil chose a different toilet, and came out first and thought we all left. I rushed back feeling like the worst daddy in the world, as Astrid and Oscar just emerged from the other exit. It can easily go wrong.

Back at the hotel – freshening up, playing games, and our last supper at Les Floret for this time.

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Conclusion:

Like last time Thierry and Dominique and all the staff made sure we could concentrate on us and relaxe, endulge in the quietness and romance of the place and – just enjoy the good food and the great weather and the stunning views.

The kitchen even went the extra mile and cooked me the dish I had fallen in love wiht the year before, even though it was not on the menu. The chef came to the table, and I explained it to him in my poor poor French. And it was just as good 🙂

Just as we were all happy with Potsdam the week before, I think we were all quite happy here, focus was on relaxing and the good food, and that is of course more my idea of fun 🙂 So I thank you dear Astrid, Oscar and Emil – for coming with me on this long ride to the Southern Rhone and coping with all that food and romance.

I wish I could be back this year. Hotel and Restaurant Les Florets comes with my highest recommendation.

So with that wish I shall leave you with an oldie but goodie – One Summer Dream, written by Jeff Lynne a good 38 years ago.

Rock on dear Thierry and Dominique.

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg – 15th April 2014

My longest absence from Clairefontaine I think, since I discovered it way back when Restaurant Speltz went sour in what must be like 10-15 years ago – finally ended due to good friend Jörgen who invited us for dinner as a delayed birthday present. Klaus Erfort and Il Riccio was also on my wishing list, but it was Clairefontaine that go the “the honours” 🙂

Classic menu, my favourite colours anyway

Classic menu, my favourite colours anyway

Nice to see that most of the staff in the service and kitchen were still the same, and even the “ususal” warm welcome and lots of kisses.

We ordered a la carte – I got to choose the wines and opted for a white Saint Joseph and a red Nuits-Saint-Georges 1. Cru from Prieur Roch.

The amuses comes in two rounds, first a single one followed by a double.

Round 1

Round 1

Round 2 -

Round 2 –

and last but not least

and last but not least

All three tasters up to the usual nice standard of amuses in Claire fontaine. Nothing to complain about here but tasters that set the tone for the evening 8p

King Crab / Green Asparagus

King Crab / Green Asparagus

Or as it described in the menu – “Le meilleur du King crabe posé sur une royale d’asperges vertes Françaises, gelée de crustacés, copeaux d’asperges et tuile de tapioca au caramel de homard”. The best looking dish of the evening, and the choice of Jörgen and the missus. 9p

Carpaccio and Tartare of Wagyu with Caviar

Carpaccio and Tartare of Wagyu with Caviar

My choice – “Le carpaccio et le tartare de bœuf Wagyu de la ferme Nuestro Buey,
asperges blanches de Malines et rapée de vieux parmesan Reggiano,
une tuile de pain avec caviar Osciètre”.

I love wagyu. I do think the quality of the meat is more exposed when raw, but I do prefer the texture of the Wagyu when a nice cut of the famous meat gets the right treatmen in the pan 🙂 But delicate it was, and the presentation typical for Arnaud´s kitchen. 8.5p

 

Salmon

Salmon

Astrid´s choice for main dish was actually another starter “Le cœur d’un saumon d’Ecosse Label Rouge cuit par le froid, un tartare en tempura, une crème prise de poireaux et caviar citron”. Didier always in a good mood, did rightfully point out when ordering that this would be a cold main dish and another cold dish for Astrid. But nevertheless the salmon was ordered – and the quality of Salmon dishes at Clairefontaine is ALWAYS good. 8p

Didier making sure you have a good time

Didier making sure you have a good time

Lamb

Lamb

As it turned out – “L’agneau fermier Label Rouge du Bourbonnais en déclinaison, couscous de choux fleur et brocolis au cumin, navarin aux petits légumes et harissa verte” – was the only lamb on my plates this Easter. And I´m happy it was this lamb. Three different cuts of lamb, all great in their own way. Arnaud – I think it will be lamb next time we make a cooking class 🙂 It was great as always. 9p

Dessert :-)

Dessert 🙂

The selection just what you need and a nice way to say goodbye to our lovely bottle of red. Great cheeses 9p

Best wine I have had this year

Best wine I have had this year

You were right Julien, it was an excellent choice 🙂

Conclusion:

9 months of absence – there are only few words needed to describe the feeling of being back. It was great. Thanks for the invitation Jörgen. I treasure your friendship, wit and knowledge. It´s always great to share food and wine experiences with you, not only because you mostly pay 🙂 – but also because we share the same passion for god stuff, and react to stuff that are trying to be more than they are, like the one experience we had in Birmingham. But at Clairefontaine, well things are still as good as they get in Luxembourg. To all the staff at Clairefontaine, we salute you.

My rating for this visit : Service 5p (5), Ambience 5p (5), Food 8.5 – Total Score  18.5p (20)

La Fromagerie, Marylebone, London – 20 July 2013

On a visit to London in 2011 I think, I was happy to stay in the Marylebone area of London. And I loved it. So when the missus said to me, where are we going now, after havng showed Emil, Big Ben, I said – Marylebone !!!

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This one is for you my dear Emil

Bridge over troubled water.

Bridge over troubled water.

Marylebone is like a little hideaway, starting 50 meters off the end of Oxford Street, down – opposite of Marble Arch. The first part is STUFFED with all kinds of etnic restaurants, many of those offering water pipes. Emil was fast to claim that he wanted to try one of those. His mother was just as quick in rejecting that request. Later on it turns into a shopping area with shop that looks like shops should look . A book store that reminds one why it is nice to actually visit one instead of ordering via amazon.

I remembered where the cooking book section was...

I remembered where the cooking book section was…

And Emil had fun with this little book.

And Emil had fun with this little book.

As we came further up the road, I remembered having seen a funny little diner/shop last time. So we went down the corner and yup 20 meters of the high street was La Fromagerie.

THE shop !

THE shop !

It was closed last time I was here, but now the shop was full of life. Vegetables, pickled everything, freshly baked bread, cooking books, wines, a cheese department, charcuteri. Everything a man could hope for. And most of this stuff organic. Beside the shop part of the business, there are two rooms with tables and benches. Add to all that a large menu and even a small wine list

What to eat...

What to eat…

Green stuff

Green stuff

Open kitchen

Open kitchen

Cheese Department

Cheese Department

All kinds of stuff

All kinds of stuff

All kinds of people

All kinds of people

Well, we settled for a rillette of mackerel, a cheese plate with Italian cheeses and a fennel / red beet salad. The were 4-5 different cheese selections to choose from, there were all kinds of salads. In general I was releaved when I saw the menu. This was something for the missus. When that is said, we did not find any gluten-free bread, and Emil struggled to find something he wanted. Well blame that on the up-bringing of course, but it was not a child-friendly place anyway, with the small alleys and things to break. But Emil loved the “limonade” that was done on spot for him, and the chips.

Say cheese

Say cheese

Salad

Salad

Happy Emil !

Happy Emil !

Italian Chardonnay

Italian Chardonnay

The kind waitress actually warned us about the wine I chose. It is not your usual easy drinkable Chardonnay she claimed. Its a little full and rich for lunch maybe. Well actually it was nice, the colour very intense, seemed like they had a lot of sun in Piemonte that year. We liked it.

Conclusion:

As I said to the young couple at the table next to us. If I lived in Marylebone, I would be in this shop every second day. Great menu, great vibe, great quality and just about nothing to complain about. If I shall just mention that the salad as fresh and good as it looked could have used more acidity. The cheeses were wonderful so was the rilette. Great service and a smell of freshly baked bread in the air. This is where you wanna lunch in London.

I know my family sometimes have to bear with me – a lot – because of the focus I do seem to give to eating – but this shop, I think it even impressed the missus. I am sorry dear A for all those restaurants and food trips I have dragged you on. I thank you for mostly being a good sport about it. Well, If I had one dream left in my world, not related to my family, – it would be to own a shop like this. .

My rating for this visit: Food 6.5p (10), service 4p (5), ambience 4.5p (5), 15p (20)