/* Variable definitions

Tasty Side to Life Tours Website

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Les Crayeres, Reims- The perfect hotel for a night in Champagne

This hotel is well.... kind of, sort of just plain out I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. http://www.lescrayeres.com/uk.html. I just went on a tour of the rooms so I could be certain of the quality when referring this property to clients who come to the region and I was definitely blown away. I understand now why the hotel Les Crayeres has won a plethora of awards over the last 10 yrs. These awards include: Number one Hotel in the World in 2002, Best Dining Experience by Zagat in 2004, Highest Ranking Hotel in the Europe for Service in 2005 by Travel and Leisure, Best Hotel in France in 2007 and Best Hotel Restaurant in Europe by VilleGiature.

The hotel was built in 1885 by Mrs Pommery of Pommery Champagne http://www.pommery.com/, inhabited by her and her family and then partially destroyed by the German forces in WWI. The park in front was transformed into an artillery ground. In the 1920's the castle was restored. In the 1940's the Royal Air Force occupied the castle and a German aerial bomb attack was attempted but the bomb was unsuccessful and landed in nearby vineyards. In 1945 the American army arrived at the Castle and used it as a relaxation point and the terrace as a dance floor. In the following years the castle was inhabited by a count (Charles of Colignac) and by a prince (Guy of Polignac) who was the CEO of Pommery at the time.

La Rotonde Bar. It is an absolute must to have a drink here whether you decide to stay at the hotel or not. It will leave you speechless.

Finally, In 1980 the Castle was purchased by the Gardinier family and renovated again. Then in 1983 the Castle was opened to the public as a restaurant/hotel with head chef Gerad Boyer who soon received 3 Michelin stars. Since 2010 Phillipe Mille who is the winner of the 2009 Boucuse de Bronze has take over both the kitchens at Le Parc and Les Crayeres. Unfortunately along with a departed chef naturally comes departed stars :( Yet, I believe they are soon to come as the food is still delightful and hopefully they will be listed in the Michelin guide this year. Hotel prices range from 320-over 600 euro. The basic room has not been renovated but is still quite large and has a beautiful ambience. Check out the pics below!

The first room was a beatiful suite with a large entry, beautiful renovated bathroom and even a booze music system by the bath. How gorgeous is the red wallpapered entry?

The Entry to the 2nd floor and with a gorgeous flower vase and a beautiful tapestry on the wall

The basic room which is 330 euro a night- Not renovated but still large and beautiful

Another suite is shown below. This suite actually has a nice luxurious couch that makes into a bed and actually can sleep 4. This room is between 500 and 600 euro a night. It has the most amazing French, crisp, fine and luxurious feel to it. Wouldn't you love to come back to this comfy room after a day of Champagne tasting?

And a similar beautiful suite below with historic french paintings, beautiful toile wall paper, thick tapestries, plasma tv and renovated bath fitted with hermes products

The property a few weeks before Christmas

When people ask me to take them out for a day of private tasting this is one of the incredible Chateaus I refer them to stay the night at! A trip fit with this chateau, the food inside, the Champagne at private producers + escargot and foie gras farms visits really creates a surreal experience.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gourmet Market in Reims in December

For two weekends during December “Hotel de Ville” or "Reims town hall" in the heart of Champagne will open for the first time during the Christmas festivities for a true gourmet gastronomic market! Yummmmmm. Local craftsmen and producers will offer their specialities from Friday to Sunday, the 10th,11th,12th and 17th,18th and 19th of December from 10 to 7 p.m.

We’re talking escargots, foie gras, jams and poultry which equals well, deliciousness. I love when all the local producers get together because instead of driving around the region on a mad chase to meet these guys at their little farms they are all coming to town! New farms to add to the exclusive private producer trips for Dec :)

Reims Cathedral where the kings of France were crowned at night

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Creative Touch to the American Gastronomy of Thanksgiving

So I know it's a tid bit late to just start brainstorming for Thanksgiving but my sis and I are throwing a small American gastronomic Thanksgiving soiree and I'm drooling over menu planning....

Here are some ideas I just researched for a creative and tasty touch to spice up Thanksgiving a bit. Of course I fully believe in the staples ie Turkey (maybe roasted, smoked and deep fried), Stuffing with sausage, sage and cornbread, Cranberries, Mashed potatoes or Gratin dauphinois but I think you very well could throw in some of the ideas below as well as accompaniments.

What do you think? Too creative?

Oven Hot Homemade Popovers with homemade strawberry butter to start

Organic Soup Shots: Pumpkin and pear soup shots with saffron and chervil, Mushroom with parmesean and white truffle oil and onion soup with a touch of cream and thyme

Glazed mixed greens with toasted hazelnut, julieened apples and pomegranate

Herb crusted courgette slices with parmesan, chilli and lemon

Apple mini tarte tatin- traditional just b/c it's that good

Pumpkin-Gingersnap Tiramisu to add a touch of pumpkin to the meal

Chocolate Pot de Creme with a touch of Mexican chocolate, topped with whipped cream and a pecan

Mini cakes filled with a dollop of carmel topped with blackberries, vanilla bean whipped cream and homemade butterscotch sauce.

Market Restaurant-A little California and Asian Inspired Twist To Paris

Photo courtesy of Les Restos.com

Despite the conventional thinking that in France eat French food, mixing it up a bit with a restaurant that has a definite California twist can be pretty uber delicious as well and is a must if your in Paris.

Market is a restaurant by superchef Jean-Georges Vongerichten http://www.jean-georges.com/who is recognized througout of the world and has a pretty great background. Ok so with a name like that the guy has to be french and can't be American, right? Ok, he is french but he's lived in the US for the past 28 years and his food is Asian/ nouvelle French inspired and the cuisine is fresh, bright and delicious reminding me of what you would find in a Globe http://www.yelp.com/biz/globe-san-francisco or a great spot in San Francisco.

Photo coutesy of NY Grubstreet

I love Jean-Georges story of growing up in France and helping his mamma and grandma prepare lunch daily for their 50 employees. I mean it's pretty impressive that for his 16th birthday Jean didn't get a shiny new red bmw or throw a MTV style sweet 16 bash but this guy at the age of 16 was gifted from his family a 3 star Michelin rated auberge for his birthday. Jesus, when do birthdays at 16 get that good? Acclaimed with 4 star restaurants in NY, having taken Food critic Ruth Reichl's "breath away" and essentially single handedly invented America's answer to nouvelle cuisine I am going to go ahead and say this guy is the real deal.

His space, Market, is big, wide and open with dark wood, raw materials, lots of natural light and huge windows (designed by Christian Liagre who does a beautiful job with wood http://www.christian-liaigre.fr/?lang=en_US). The neighborhood around Market is chic and right next to Chrisites auction house so if you feel like looking at some incredible paintings and sculptures that you can't afford but want to dream about after a truffled pizza and a few glasses of bubbly it could be a good idea. Apparently the Chef's table is often reserved by celebrities (I know Gwyneth Paltrow loves it from her blog).

Overall the place is cute, trendy and a bit expensive but not overly. The dishes are original, the plating is vibrant and the dessert is delicious. The menu changes daily and the service is pretty good. I'd order a few table appetizers to start: the pizza with shaved black truffle and fontina, the watermelon soup with fried shrimp if they have it and the tuna tartare. Then maybe the oven cooked Cabillaud fish with basil oil marinated veggies, the market burger with brie and truffle vinegareete or the farm raised chicken crusted in parmesean and dusted with lemongrass butter. For desserts the cheese cake or passionfruit sorbet is killer.

My sis and I getting ready for the super meal

Watermelon Gazpacho with Tempura Shrimp, Cucumber cream fraiche and lychees- Flavor combination blew my mind. Already re-created this one and I left my guests a bit confused as most of them being from Asian countries had never heard of gazpacho. Watermelon gazpacho really threw them off.

Tuna sushi with 3 sauces (the various sauces were a sweet and sour combination and the rolls were soft, light and tasty)

Coconut Milk and Chicken soup with Galangal, mushrooms, lemongrass and asian herbs served alongside thai rice

Fontina Pizza with Mushrooms, White truffle oil and Field greens

Cabillaud Fish Oven Roasted served with Gnocchi, Pesto oil, Parmesan and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Farm Raised Chicken Crusted in Parmesan, Lemon Butter and Basil served with Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Vanilla and Carmel Ice Cream with Toffee Popcorn and a Sugar Crisp

Creme Fraiche Cheesecake with Raspberry coulis

Grand Mariner Souffle with Passion Fruit Sorbet- This one was incredible

Molten Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Icecream
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...