Monday, July 23, 2012

Auberge Abbaye Saint Louis

My friend Alcide once told me that we had an exceptional talent for finding good restaurants.  I do believe he's right!

After a long day in Montmorillon, we were on our way back to Thouars thinking that all the restaurants would probably be closed by the time we got home.  So we started scouting the area and stopped in Chauvigny for a quick look.  Lovely town on a steep promontory overlooking the broad river Vienne and boasting the ruins of no fewer than four fortified medieval castles.  Stone from the local quarry was so plentiful that nobody ever bothered to demolish earlier castles for building material.  But aside from crêperies that didn't appeal to us, or the suburban hotel hosting the national cycle team which had seen better days, (the hotel, not the cyclists), we thought we'd just keep driving.

We arrived in Le Breuil l'Abesse, just outside of Poitiers, and saw a sign to l'Abbaye Saint Louis, specializing in medieval fare.  Off we went to check it out.  The place was tucked away in a quiet area and a gentleman was sweeping the walk.  Always a good sign to see cleanliness as a priority.  The menu on the outside of the building seemed appealing and we decided to try it out.

We were the only ones there!  This could spell trouble if the locals know something we don't...  But the place was colourful, attractive with its tablecloths, and smelled really good.  The owner, Jacques Emeriault, came to greet us and we chatted a bit over my Kir and Karl's beer.  Turns out that most of the locals are on holidays in July, especially now that the weather has improved.  Lunch had brought in a crowd just the same.

Jacques bakes all his bread in a wood-burning oven - the old-fashioned way.  Delicious!

Karl ordered a Caesar salad which we shared, then we both ordered the "lapin".  The rabbit was in papillotte with potatoes and veggies, and those baked tomatoes were especially tasty.  The rabbit was perhaps slightly too salty for my taste, but it did bring back memories of when Mom made rabbit at home.

Jacques has a map behind his front desk where he pins the location from where  his guests come.  Although he's had visitors from Canada before (mostly Quebec), we were his first visitors from Vancouver, so we warranted a pin!

We finally got our act together and managed to photograph the dessert: a delicious crème brulée.

The most amazing outcome of this encounter is that we mentioned that we really loved the background music during dinner.  No sooner said that Jacques was burning us a copy of a CD that he has been building for a long time.  Can you imagine how generous this man is!  We have made a friend for life.

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