We arrived at Chateau Courban shortly before 6pm still buzzing with the excitement of our serendipitous visit to Champagne Louise Brison . As the evening sun bathed the exquisite gardens in warm light we planned to take a cooling dip in the pool as soon as we checked in.
Check in was smooth and efficient but they kept from us the best surprise of all…. An upgraded room which was straight out of a scene from the new BBC drama Versailles. A master bedroom with stunning views across the Côte d’Or countryside leading to a bathroom whose central feature was a beautiful roll top enamel bath, with shower room and toilet in separate rooms off of the bathing area so as not to spoil the Feng Shui!
We wasted no time in heading to the pool area for a refreshing pre dinner swim. Decadently we enjoyed a half bottle of the 2010 vintage Louise Brison champagne as an aperitif while getting ready for dinner and luxuriating in our sumptuous surroundings. (See previous posting for tasting notes)
This was our second visit to Courban after discovering this stunning oasis last year. We weren’t the least bit surprised to learn that many guests return again and again in what is a case of once discovered never forgotten.
It’s a great stopover at anytime of year especially if you’re heading south to the French Alps, Switzerland or Italy. It was also incredibly great value at a pre Brexit booking price of around £200 for half board which included a four course Discovery menu from their legendary Head Chef, Takashi Kinoshita. The restaurant is also deservedly included In the Michelin selection 2016.
Whilst perusing the Discovery menu we enjoyed a glass of the house champagne, Champagne Robert Barbichon, a Blanc de Blanc with 15% Pinot Noir, made to biodynamic standards in the Côte des Bars. This was the first time I had tasted a Champagne made in this style and the 15% Pinot certainly added to the taste making it arguably a more suitable companion for the amuse bouche.
Amuse Bouches No1
Mustard macaroon with toasted pecans.
I loved the sweet and savoury juxtaposition of this mouthful, a perfect balance of light sugary meringue and tangy mustard. It also looked incredible.
Deep fried epoisse parcels presented on a bed of dried lentils. I think this dish would work better with a more over ripe epoisse when its power would balance with the Tempura. Tasty though the same.
Amuse Bouches No 2
Gazpacho with Celery Foam.
Like a lightly textured fresh and slightly spicy Bloody Mary.
Prawns with baby aubergine.
Prawns in a light tempura with daikon salad, wakame with a yuzu and toasted sesame oil vinaigrette.
Lemon foam and sweet soy sauce binding all the ingredients together.
Duck Foie Gras with petits pois mousseline.
A fusion of spicy flavours including coriander seeds and chorizo offset by perfect soft and silky textured foie gras. Garnished with lemon foam and egg yolk confit.
Roasted supreme of Bourg en Bresse chicken with duxelles of girolles mushrooms new potato soufflé and courgette ribbons, veal jus, spinach with red basil. Garnished with whole sautéed girolles.
This breed of chicken in my opinion deserves its place as the best in the world. Melt in the mouth breast, moist and flavoursome. The devil sauce carrying loads of Unami flavour from its base veal jus.
Courban countryside dessert.
A soft cream cheese set in a light green meringue wrap with white chocolate batons and ice cream.
A Summer Swim
Segments of Pink grapefruit and red shizo sorbet, peach and toasted sesame meringue with red shizo garnished with rose wine jelly and green spun sugar.
Light, fresh and sharp the perfect palette cleansing dessert in stunning summery like technicolour.
We chose a stunning local wine from nearby Chablis…..with the main course in mind.
Chablis Grand Cru Grenouilles Regnard 2011. A great nose expressing both minerality and fruit. On the palette, further minerality, augmented with notes of plump ripe quinces, a fat wine with a long finish and one that I believe will continue to improve with age.
We had just enough room for coffee and petit fours. These provided the perfect finale to this discovery menu. Light and chewy meringues and rich lavender flavoured chocolate truffles.
We strolled back to our room having thoroughly enjoyed our Gastronomic experience wondering what the next day would bring as we drifted off into a deep sleep.