We knew that we were in for a unique experience when a billy goat greeted us upon our arrival at the stone gate of La Ruchotte.
We had left our charming Bed and Breakfast in Chaudenay after just one night. The transient nature of our vacation in France was causing us to question our judgment as we searched for the farm through the drizzling rain and increasing darkness of the sunset.
There was no Internet access whatsoever, and we were hesitant to call the farm due to the anticipated language barrier.
Bligny Sur Ouche, the village listed on La Ruchotte’s masthead, was simple enough to find and, once we arrived in the center of town, we even managed to locate a small sign that pointed to the farm. But, by the third wrong turn, we felt ready to give up. We finally figured out the error in our direction and managed to arrive just before dinner
Our hosts, Frédéric and Eva Ménager, warmly welcomed us. They showed us to our well-appointed accommodations and then led us to the kitchen where Chef Frederic was preparing an extraordinary meal.
The distinctive 13th-century farmhouse contains only one guest room. At first glance, we could tell that the room oozed with character, not to mention a flat screen tv, comfortable bed and a big bathtub. That all being said, the experience was all about the food.
Frederic, a successful chef in Paris and Burgundy, worked with famed chefs Alain Chapel, Philipe Jousse and Pierre Gagnaire. He and Eva bought the farm ten years ago, where they now raise two sons and various chickens, goats and pigs.
They also grow fruits and run a part-time restaurant, primarily serving weekend lunches. Additionally, they serve weeknight dinners for large groups. However, we were the only diners this night.
Although we are quite lucky to have friends in Philadelphia who are amazing chefs, it was a special treat to have a chef of this caliber prepare a four-course dinner just for us. And what a dinner it was!
As we watched Frederic skillfully prepare our dinner, we perused the small yet unique wine list featuring wines of the region. We selected a 2001 Saint Romain Meursault from Domaine Rougeot to compliment the meal. It was a great choice.
Food at La Ruchotte
First course was poached eggs over girolle mushrooms and a savory broth. And bread – crusty, homemade, delicious bread.
Since Frederic is famous for raising heirloom chickens, we were initially disappointed to have rabbit for the second course – until we tasted the rabbit, which Frederic had skillfully deboned and pan roasted, served with caramelized shallots and squash.
And, of course, more bread.
Next, we enjoyed fresh goat cheese (chevre) from a neighboring farm. (And more bread.)
Dessert at La Ruchotte
Finally, the final course was a Mirabelle (little plum) tart. As an extra treat, Frederic poured us each a tasty digestif with Marc de Bourgogne.
Although the dinner was the highlight of the visit, we slept like babies in our attic suite. The decor was super tasteful, the bed was comfortable and the aforementioned bathtub rocked.
We were sad to wake up to a steady rain that would last the entire day, as it meant that we were unable to explore the farm and see the animals up close. Our disappointment was alleviated when Frederic served us a simple yet hearty breakfast of fried eggs, homemade bread, jams, butter, fresh goat cheese, coffee and courant juice. The bread, butter and goat cheese were welcome repeats from dinner.
We chatted with our gracious host before we left for our drive to Beaujolais. We talked about the farm, restaurants, travel and more. As we drove away, we agreed to return within the next five years and to stay for several nights.
Hopefully, we’ll get to taste the chicken next time.
La Ferme de La Ruchotte is located at La Ruchotte, 21360 Bligny-sur-Ouche, France.
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