Photo Tour: French Gourmet Trip Day 2

Posted in Europe, France, On the Ground

I never expected to love France this much. Everyone talks about how charming it is and I thought it was just hype, but it’s not. Wine, cheese, and truffles aren’t mere extravagances here. They’re part of everyday life. The people are relaxed and friendly, with a healthy dose of cynicism in almost every conversation. The land in the Rhone/Alps region is absolutely gorgeous with snow-capped mountains framing the edge of the horizon and gentle, rolling hills dotted with vineyards providing a living landscape painting out of nearly every window.

Yesterday, I shared with you my first day in Lyon, which was filled with cheese, tunnels, and traditional Lyonnaise food. On our second day, the #FrenchGourmetTrip group, put together by the Only Lyon, Tourisme Rhone Alpes, and Rendezvous en France tourism boards, headed out of Lyon and into the greater Rhone Alps region for truffles, truffles, and more truffles.

Join me on my journey as we indulge in the most coveted product of the region: the elusive French black truffle (aka truffe noir, Tuber melanosporum, or Périgord truffle).

IMG_9112We began our day in the DroÌ‚me Provençale region where the truffle market in Saint-Paul-Trois-ChaÌ‚teaux was in full effect. It’s a small market in the town square and vendors set up in a circle where hungry customers line up to buy freshly picked truffles for a fraction of the price they cost at specialty stores. The town is the only one in France to offer a guarantee that these are legit melanosporum and the regulations are tight (if they don’t sell their wares the day they arrive, they can’t return to try to sell them again next week), so if you want the absolute best quality, this is the market to hit.


After the truffle market and visit to the town’s small but sweet Truffle Museum, we ended up at Le Moulin Valaurie, a charming French chateau that looked like what you’d imagine a charming French chateau to look like. See for yourself in the image above. We dined on three courses of reimagined French cuisine that was hit-or-miss.

IMG_9154The merlan en mousseline above was fairly good. It’s a fish custard of sorts wrapped in a thin layer of pastry dough. Similar to the quenelle I experienced in the bouchon the previous night, it was quite light and almost bouncy in texture. Perhaps bouyant would be a better description. The sauce was a chive butter that ended up being a bit overpowering.

IMG_9160The main course was something we rarely see in the US: chicken oysters (that little fatty nub on the back of the chicken). They sat on top of pureed sunchokes and that green dap in the middle is a miso-cress ice cream. Very creative, but that doesn’t mean successful. I wasn’t very impressed.

IMG_9177After lunch, we drove to the gorgeous estate known as Ferme des Eybrachas, a truffle farm in ReÌauville. There, we hunted truffle with an adorable dog (seem in the bottom part of the photo above) and ate delicious truffle-y foods.

IMG_9170Yep. That’s a truffle. It’s probably worth more than Facebook and Apple combined. Okay, okay, I mean the phone you use to view Facebook and an actual Apple. Still pretty pricey! For the record, that isn’t my hand. It’s the hand of an old woman I’m traveling with.

IMG_9193Damnnnnnn. Those are the truffles we “hunted.” I put that in quotes because I’m pretty sure they were planted there before we came. Doesn’t change the fact that they were delicious.

IMG_9198The next stop on our tour was the last of the evening. Imagine a French chateau. Now imagine that it’s actually real. That’s the Le Clair de la Plume hotel, which turned out to be the epitome of French class and hospitality. I thought French maids were fake stereotypes until I stayed there. Now I know they actually exist. Above you’ll see the welcome note and cookies that greeted me in the room. #Baller.

IMG_9209Our truffle dinner by Chef Julien Allano was divine. Instead of boring you with elaborate descriptions of everything, I’ll just share the photos and a brief summary. The menu is above to guide you.

IMG_9206Amuse(s) bouche. Deviled quail eggs. Truffle puree. Grisini.

IMG_9215Sunchoke soup with truffles.

IMG_9220Pigeon two ways with thick shaved truffles.

IMG_9222Profiterole with truffle ice cream inside.

IMG_9223Chocolate/Whisky cream/Truffle

IMG_9225Chamomile tea with ACTUAL CHAMOMILE FLOWERS!

What a day! More to come tomorrow!


  1. It would be interesting if you could share your experience with food/restaurants prices in France. I just came back from a 2 week trip to Italy and I was pleasantly surprised by the low prices in restaurants in the Milan, Bologna and Verona areas. Not sure if because of Euro’s devaluation but I found it way cheaper to eat in Italy than here in the US.

  2. Santastico! (Your name deserves an exclamation point, no?). I’ve found pretty much the same thing as you have. While I’ve been able to enjoy to several very special meals that were luckily paid for by someone else, I have found that everything from the local boulangerie to the high-end Michelin starred restaurants aren’t giving me sticker shock the way I expected them to. Freshly made baguette’s were only $1.50 and that great cheese plate I got was a little over $11. Set menus at high-end bistros have been in the mid-$20 range and that’s better than a lot of fancy schmancy LA restaurants where large salads alone run $15+.

    I can’t speak to the value of the Euro, since I’m not much of an economist, but I know that the market is set at what the market will bear and apparently the market is saying “lots of great food at affordable prices!”

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