It has been nine years since I first met Sylvie and Claude Clapiers. At the time, they had only just opened their restaurant, L’Auberge Vigneronne, in the tiny hamlet of La Bosque near Combejean. Claude had retired from the police force, and Sylvie had always wanted to run a restaurant. Claude’s parents were from La Bosque – they had vineyards there, and when it came to setting up the restaurant, they were very supportive. An old farm building was converted to house the kitchen and dining room.
A former vineyard was turned into a car park. A plot of land was cleared to house the bird enclosures. Sylvie and Claude decided that they would raise all their own poultry: chickens, geese, guinea fowl, turkeys and ducks.
They have made a name for themselves for roasting their poultry on a spit over an open fire. In the winter, this is done in the big fireplace in the dining room, and it’s wonderful to watch. For the summer months, Claude has a second fireplace outside, and it was there that I took the following picture:
The drive to La Bosque is along a sinuous road, winding up and up. From a number of places along the way you have beautiful views! When you get out of the car at La Bosque, you might notice the quiet calm all around you – only the sound of birds is usually heard!
My brother is visiting right now, and he badly wanted to go back to L’Auberge Vigneronne! I was more than happy to oblige 🙂 It had been a little while since I’d been to eat there myself. So on a balmy evening we sat outside on the terrace at La Bosque, with the sun setting behind us, enjoying a glass of delicious, chilled rose, whilst waiting for our starters to be prepared.
The food at L’Auberge Vigneronne is very unpretentious and down-to-earth. Sylvie wanted to serve Cuisine de Grandmere in her restaurant, updated versions of her grandmother’s cooking, and she’s been doing just that with great success since she opened the restaurant!
The menu is very straightforward: four courses for 22 Euros or five courses for 27 Euros, with a choice of dishes for each course (excepting the dessert). There were four of us, and we decided to have two menus with four courses and two menus with five courses, so we could all have a taste of the fish course.
These were the starters:
A salad with smoked trout, both hot and cold smoked.
A crispy parcel filled with goat’s cheese and leeks.
Gizzards, bougnette (a kind of large dumpling, made from stale bread, pork, eggs and seasonings) and melsat (a kind of sausage made with the same ingredients as the bougnette), all regional specialities.
For the fish course we ordered the scallops in wild mushroom sauce. They were perfectly cooked and utterly delicious!!
My sister-in-law opted for osso bucco for her main course. She loved every mouthful of it!
The rest of us ordered the spit-roasted chicken! 🙂 The chicken arrived on a large platter, already cut into pieces, along with some more mushroom sauce. On our plates were creamy courgettes, a toast with chicken liver pate, sauteed potatoes and green beans.
We did manage to eat all but one of the chicken pieces – it was very delicious, but we were getting full!!
As night started to fall, we attacked the cheese board! Claude had prepared a great selection of cheeses. I had vowed to skip the cheese course, but my resolve weakened the moment the platter was placed on the table! 🙂
Once we’d done justice to the cheese board, Sylvie served the dessert, which was a selection of three mini-desserts: cherry clafoutis, chocolate mousse and pannacotta with blackcurrant sauce.
What a wonderful evening we had, and what delicious food we ate! I’m so glad my brother suggested it!
L’Auberge Vigneronne is one of the few restaurants which is totally off the beaten track; most of its patrons live locally. The restaurant is open on Fridays for dinner, on Saturdays for lunch and dinner, and on Sundays and bank holidays for lunch only. Groups of 10 and more can be accommodated during the week. Be sure to telephone to book your table on +33 467 893 411 or +33 670 704 513.