Talvern is no secret find. It is the celebrated chambre d'hote of Christine and Patrick Gillot in Landevant, some 20km east of Lorient. Patrick was earlier the head chef at Laperouse and at Bofinger and it shows in his meticulous technique and spot-on taste. Christine and Patrick tend an extensive garden, and fruits and vegetables are a matter of minutes old; guests eat what is at its peak on any particular day.
We enjoyed a huge and comfortable room at the top of the house overlooking the garden. The kitchen was closed for dinner on our first night, so we ate in Lorient, subject of another post. The next night, we joined 10 other guests for dinner at which we were served a starter of pristine greens with mackerel rillette toasts, the world's largest pot of mussels with buttery white rice to soak up the juice and an ethereally light panna cotta with rhubarb.
We have had hundreds of mussel feasts, but these were revelatory: briny, savory, not a second overcooked. I asked how many he cooked for the 12 of us and Patrick said that it was 8 kilos, certainly enough to go around...and around and around. Lots of sighs around the table.
Patrick gives cooking lessons from November through March, specializing in scallops and other peak of season local products. Catherine and Patrick are most generous with their property and themselves, delightful hosts. This is an extraordinary address.