Beaujolais and Food
Gougères at Manoir du Carra
Beaujolais is a terrific food wine. Its abundance of fruit, high acidity, and low alcohol make it ideal for pairing with food. There are several styles of Beaujolais, ranging from fruity, light Beaujolais Nouveau to complex, age worthy single vineyard Crus, giving consumers a wide range of options for pairing Beaujolais with food.
The Beaujolais standard repertoire is rather similar to that of neighboring Burgundy. For example, Burgundy’s ethereal gougères—the original cheese puff—is found everywhere in Beaujolais where we enjoyed them at our tasting at Manoir du Cara. Favorite dishes include jambon persillé, which merges chunky cured ham and parsley in aspic; pan-fried frog’s legs; premium quality chicken from Bresse simply roasted or sautéed with cream; slowly stewed, grilled or pan-fried Charolais beef or lamb; fois gras; seafood and fresh water fish. As we note below, the better restaurants in Beaujolais are serving these and many other dishes in new and creative ways.
The Restaurants of Beaujolais
There are many fine restaurants in Beaujolais and others in Lyon, Paris and abroad that are recognized as “Bistrots Beaujolais.” The Bistrots Beaujolais is a network of restaurants (buchons, as they are known in Lyon), traditional French Brasseries, wine bars and Michelin-starred restaurants that share the values of traditional eating, drinking, and friendship. There are currently 298 restaurants in the network selected by a jury of members of the Inter-Beaujolais and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
During our visit to Beaujolais, we had the opportunity to dine in several of the Bistrots Beaujolais and to learn first hand about the food and wine of the region. What follows are the highlights of our meals and the wines we enjoyed at these establishments.
Belooga is a superb restaurant located in the hotel Içi & La in Villefranche-sur-Saône.The kitchen is under the creative direction of chef Raphanel from Mâcon, and his cuisine is first class. Two of our favorite dishes are pictured below. We paired these dishes with a tasty 2014 Guy Breton Regnie and a 2013 Christophe Pacalet from Chenas.
Polenta fine cuisine comme una paella, copeaux de lomo, chorizo et gambas, ecume de safran
Auberge de Clochermele
The Auberge, located in Vaux-en-Beaujolais, is managed by Delphine and Romain Barthe. We visited the restaurant for lunch and were treated to several wonderful dishes prepared by Romain, including the two shown below. These beautifully prepared dishes were paired with a 2014 Beaujolais Villages Paul Janin Les Vignes de Jumeaux, a white wine showing crisp minerality, and a Paul Janin 2013 Moulin-à-Vent Clos de Trembley, a beautifully balanced red berry-fruited wine.
Homard Breton marineau viagre de kalamansi gazpacho de groseiles, crutons de pain noir voile de lard Colonnata et herbes du jardin
Agneau du Quercy, courgettes de monsieur Nesme, menthe fraîche, jus de veau reduit
Restaurant Le Beaujolais
Located in Belleville near the train station, this is an informal yet elegant restaurant offering first-class traditional and modern dishes, fresh and beautifully prepared. We paired the dishes below and others with selections from the portfolio of P. Ferraud & Fils.
Le Dos de Cabillaud cuite a la vapeur aux ausperges blanches et au beurre citronée
Cooking is a clear passion at this Michelin-starred restaurant owned by Carine and Fabrice Roche, one of the very finest dining establishments in Villefranche-sur-Saône. We paired the excellent dishes, including a bouef confit and petit pois sabayon, prepared by Fabrice with a 2013 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly Les Gaiottes de Brulhie.
Boeuf confit façon gravlaks, avocat, haddock et jaune d’ouef
Le Rouge & Blanc
Located in the Hôtel les Maritonnes in Romanèche-Thorins, this restaurant of the famed Bress Chef, Georges Blanc, features his specialty of Bress chicken with morels. You can find this dish in several restaurants, but Le Rouge & Blanc serves one of the better versions. This dish and others were paired with several wines from Château Bellevue and other fine wines from the portfolio of Maison Jean Loron. The recipe for this dish and a video cooking lesson on how to prepare it can be found on the International Wine Review channel of YouTube.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler