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Restaurants & Bars

Two days and dinners in the northern Beaujolais (Saint-Amour-Bellevue) — and a lunch in Macon

Jake Dear | Nov 22, 201503:39 PM     3

Following up on this post (http://www.chowhound.com/post/good-fo...), we drove to: Auberge du Paradis, http://www.aubergeduparadis.fr/index.ph p?lang=en- (Saint-Amour-Bellevue). This stylish small inn, located on the “square” (basically a municipal parking lot) of a sleepy but as its name promises lovely village in northern Beaujolais, has an even more stylish — and almost outlandish — one-star restaurant downstairs on the ground floor. Each bedroom (we stayed in Gingembre, which we also learned to pronounce) is named after a spice; and each dish listed on the 69 euro no-choice tasting menu identifies a predominant spice. Standouts: Puree of aubergines with pistachio, melon, “sorbet au lait chevre sale poivre” with basil and tandoori spices; tempura of shrimps with cardamone verte. Very nice.

Right across the central square/parking lot around which the village is centered is, of all things, another one-star restaurant — one of three branches, all staffed by Japanese chefs, presenting French cooking (I think the mothership is in Lyon): Au 14 Fevrier, www.au14fevrier.com. We had the 75 euro tasting menu (passing on the even longer 92 offering), and the wine tasting as well. It was all a bit cute and overly fussy, but still it was fun. Standouts, among the exceptionally complex plates: “Poelee de foie gras de canard du Perigord cuit” in a crusty manner with a puree of potatoes perfumed with wild mushrooms; and rolled porc iberico “enrobe dans une crepinette et longuement roti” on a risotto of mussels with espelette and paprika, and even more things we can’t recall now . . . . And among the wide range of wines (including a tokaji furmint), there was a ringer: a 1997(!) Aligote from Pierre Morey was surprisingly distinctive, fresh and earthy at once.

Breakfast at the auberge looks fantastic, for those who want such a thing, but we don’t. And so we drove about 30 minutes by back roads down and over to the even more sleepy village of Chiroubles, in an attempt to have an espresso and such at the “bar/restaurant” Le Chiroublon, where we’ve had some nice lunches in past years at the restaurant in back. But tant pis, the bar was closed that morning, as were most other places in nearby villages. So, no breakfast at all that day. But the next day we drove a couple kilometers to the pretty village of Chaintre (which boasts yet another one star table of that same name, http://www.latabledechaintre.com/uk/i... and it looks good), to the village café / restaturant, Fleurs de Vigne. This little place was simple, fresh, and inviting, and we’d be happy to return for a simple lunch or dinner.

Lunch in Macon: We asked the very pleasant Paradis proprietors for a lunch recommendation in Macon, and they sent us to Le Carafe, http://www.lecarafe.fr, a bistro-cave-restaurant, in the center of town, just 4 minutes walking from the Saone river. Here we did not exactly go light. Standouts: Andouillette veau (super!) and langue de boeuf (same), accompanied by a nice Domaine Valette Macon-Chaintre blanc, in a “natural” (cloudy and a bit oxidative) style — wow, lovely. We had a lot of walking off to do after this lunch, and so we ended up seeing quite a bit of Macon.

Next stop, a 10 minute drive north: Fuissé and environs.

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