Sometimes Simple is Best (December Reflections 20)

An interesting prompt today: Memorable Meal in 2019.

Regular readers will know that we nowadays we make something of a habit of seeking out fine dining. We do love our food. How do I choose one meal that was memorable? Well, it was easy, actually.

This year we travelled to Italy for a very special meal to celebrate having spent 20 years together. We went to Modena, to lunch at Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, twice listed as the world’s best restaurant. Obviously it was memorable but it’s not my pick for this post.

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On our journey to Modena we stayed overnight at a vineyard in Lombardy. It has a restaurant and hotel rooms but also it offers overnighting for motorhomes. The place was beautiful, utterly charming and the family who run the business were all stellar. The wines were good; we had a great tasting and bought a selection to take away with us. Later, we had an intriguing, quirky and highly unusual meal that was definitely memorable but it too is not my pick.

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This year’s winner was our first visit to a local hotel bistro, Le Lucullus, in Montmorillon, where we went for the cheap lunch time Menu du Jour (13.90 Euros for three courses) and were served a meal that I will remember for a very long time indeed. As always with the French Menu du Jour, the meal was simple and constructed to remain within a tight budget. Sometimes the outcome can be less than inspiring but on this occasion and at this establishment, the execution was faultless.

We ate a starter of Coleslaw. Freshly-made in-house, of course. Nothing unusual about it. Just plain and simple and perfect.

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The main course was listed as Roast Pork with a Thyme Jus. It turned up as a thick slice of slow-cooked pork, sitting on a bed of delicately sliced courgettes and potato purèe. The pork was as tender as it possibly could be and the jus was full of punchy flavour. A spectacular dish. I swear that I can still taste it.

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Dessert was a little Chocolate and Chestnut Cake, served with a simple Crème Anglais.

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There was nowhere to hide with this menu but there neither was there any need to. It was perfectly simple and simply perfect.

We have been back and we will return frequently and the best of it is that at this price we don’t need a reason, an excuse or a special occasion! When we get home from this trip we want to try the hotel restaurant and the tasting menu. I have high hopes of that.

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