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Two days in and around the Maconnaise (Fuisse, etc.), a day trip up to Chapaize, and a stop in Albigny sur Saone, right before entering Lyon

Jake Dear | Dec 6, 201503:46 PM

Following up on this post (, we drove only a few kilometers north, to La Source des Fees (in Fuissé), At this small and ancient inn on the edge of the village we stayed two nights and enjoyed simple table d’hote dinners prepared with love and care by chef Boris. We were the only ones at dinner each night, and although we usually prefer to have at least a few others in the room, here we enjoyed not only a nice respite from restaurant food, but also some casual and genuine chats with the chef and after dinner, with one of the proprietors. (The place is also a working winery.)

It was cuisine de familie. First night: Lovely fresh garden salad with chevre; rare (and of course a bit chewy) roast beef in a red wine sauce with fried potatoes and carrots; fromage blanc; and sautéed pears with ice cream. Second night: house-made zucchini soup garnished with fried zucchini bits; leg/thighs of chicken roasted in and served with three whole cloves of garlic (each plate), with sautéed green beans, not overcooked; a very fresh eppoise; and chocolate mousse. All, each night, with different local wines from the domaine, and from a few other producers, at reasonable prices.

Lunch nearby, a three minute walk into the center of the village was at the stylish L’O de Vignes, (It’s also an auberge with rooms.) There’s a casual local bistro in the front room, and a gastro restaurant in the back. We picked the restaurant, and enjoyed fine fish dishes, barbue “ventreche de noir de bigorre, fenouil en compression,” with gnocchi parmesan; and lotte with smoked aubergines and a gel of some kind, along with “brown beer” juice. Nice place, and very nice staff.

Lunch farther afield: We drove about 20-30 minutes above Cluny to the village of Chapaize for our third visit in 10 years. Along the way a family of sangrlier, including at least nine babies, crossed in front of our car. Our target was lunch at the St Martin, right across the road from the incredible roman church. Tant pis, it was closed that day “exceptionally,” with a note on the door explaining a reason we could not make out. Maybe it had to do with downed power — there were gusts up to 125 kpm that day.

Pas de problem, this allowed us to walk/sail down the street to discover La Table de Chapaize,, a surprisingly elegant place run by two delightful women — one is the chef, the other takes perfect care of the front of the house. We had a great time talking with them after the table of 5 Dutch folks left. We each took different dishes from the 20,50 formule (two choices for each course). This is clearly fresh and market-driven cooking. Standouts: A totally light and fresh version of crab cake; a perfectly poached white fish with a root vegetable puree; fricassee of chicken with tarragon and wild mushrooms in very light cream over white rice; all with a nice bottle, Rully 1er, made by a woman winemaker, Domaine Ninot. Oh! And strawberry soup for dessert.

By the way: The friendly former proprietors of the St. Martin, the two Swiss fellows, Jose Gruber and Markus Held, sold to one of their staff, and have opened a furniture studio, “Art + Objects,” right down the main street of. We think that makes for at least four commercial enterprises in this little berg.

From Fuissé, we drove through the most dramatic rainstorm we’ve ever encountered (complete with repeated emergency warnings coming over the car radio) to Lyon, to spend three nights. On our way, right as the storm was waning, we stopped for lunch at La Table d’Albigny,, in Albigny sur Saone. Yet another market-driven place, in a nice little town. Memorable: Roasted bar (sea bass) with tarte fine and tomatoes confites; and a huge slab of almost perfectly cooked calf’s liver with hot potato soup. And then of course we had a nice 1 hour hike and stroll around town, down to the river, and up into the surrounding hills. Then, off to Lyon, and the often challenging task, in a city of any size, of finding the car rental return location . . . . -- Jake

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