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Auberge Poupet  Review By Tate

Sud Vendee.. Haut Bocage.. Coastal Region.. Marais Poitevin.. Marais Breton.. Bas Bocage.. Plaine.. Marais Olonne..
“Never say Never”! It’s a very good adage and one I’d do well to follow in future. In 2010 Trevor and I visited the Auberge de Poupet and having had a poor meal at what I considered a highly inflated price, I vowed never to eat there again in spite of the fact that I absolutely adore the Vallée du Poupet (Valley of the Dolls) and love the situation of the Auberge which looks out at the old water mill and the weir on the this beautiful meandering section of the river Sèvre Nantaise . While visiting the Haut Boccage with Trevor and my good friend Ron who was over on holiday a few weeks ago we stopped off to show Ron the Vallée du Poupet and afterwards we went to the Auberge de Poupet for a glass of wine. While we were there we got talking to Valerie and Yves the young couple who had taken over the Auberge in February. They were a charming couple and it was obvious that they were putting everything into making the Auberge work, and for that reason and in the interests of giving the readers of the Guide the most current information available we decided that for the first time ever we would review a restaurant for a second time.

It was a Wednesday in early October and Trevor and I along with good friends Stephen and Sally and their dog Moss had decided to spend the day in the Haut Boccage and have lunch at the Auberge. Having spent a pleasant morning looking around the area we arrived at the Auberge at about 12.45 we hadn’t booked but were nonetheless warmly welcomed by Valerie and seated on the covered terrace which was quickly filling up with diners. Trevor Stephen and I decided to go for the Formule du Jour which was entrée, plat and dessert all for
9.70, there was no choice but the hors d’oeuvre table looked good and the main course of duck leg in an orange sauce with mushrooms and dauphinoise potatoes sounded good to me. Sally who eats like a bird didn’t want to actually eat one and so she decided on a small fresh goat’s cheese salad without a starter. We also ordered her a small glass of white wine, tonic water for Trevor and a 50cl pitcher of house red for Stephen and me. With Trevor’s hunger mounting there was no time to lose, and while Sally powdered her nose Stephen and Trevor attacked the hors d’oeuvre table, I had a slice of pâte à la forestière, a slice of salami, coleslaw, grated carrot, piedmont salad and a tuna pasta salad. It was all fresh and delicious, and the pâte à la forestière was coarser than normal, which for me was a bonus. The starter had gone down well with everyone but not as well as the pitcher of house red wine had with Stephen and I, Sally and Trevor had also had a taste and we all agreed that it was absolutely excellent.

The Auberge was very busy especially for a dull Wednesday in October, but they were coping well and nobody was waiting for their food, we found out that along with the other diners, most of who were local, were the Mayors of St Malo du Bois, the local commune and the commune of Trieze Vents. Our main courses arrived along with a second pitcher of the house red, the duck wasn’t greasy or dry it was perfectly cooked succulent and tasty. I’m not generally a fan of fruit sauces however the orange sauce was not only a perfect balance to the duck, but a great compliment to the taste of the mushrooms making them at the same time both sweet and tangy. Dauphinoise potatoes are one of my all time favourites and these were fantastic, the portion size was good, they were well cooked, creamy, unctuous and perfectly seasoned, in truth I was extremely impressed with the whole dish. Sally’s salad was she said delightful the fresh goat’s cheese came on a couple of slices of toast and the green salad was crisp making the whole dish very tasty and very fresh.

We chose our desserts, Sally and I both opted for the tarte framboise, which was layers of sponge with raspberries, and a raspberry cream between them topped with raspberry syrup and served with Chantilly cream, it was homemade the sponge was light and the filling was sweet, fruity and delicious, both Stephen and Trevor had a spoonful and agreed that it was exceptional. When selecting my dessert I had mentioned that it was a bit of a dilemma for me as I adored isles flottante, and as a little treat Valerie delivered a small glass with a taste of the same, it was as delicious as the raspberry cake, the crème Anglais was perfect and the meringue was sweet and cooked to perfection. Stephen’s had tarte tatin, which is an upside down apple tart with the apples being caramelised in butter and sugar before being cooked in pastry in the oven, cooked well this is a great dessert and by the look on Stephen’s face this one was a triumph. Trevor had a caramel which appeared to be like a caramel flavoured oeuf au lait, unfortunately I was left guessing as the only coherent thing I managed to get out of Trevor was that it was very good and had a strong caramel flavour.

We finished with three large milky coffees which were good and strong, it was a lovely way to finish the meal and when the bill arrived it came to a very reasonable
60.30. The last time I reviewed this restaurant I was extremely disappointed, I loved the setting, which is peaceful and charming but I was very unhappy with both the quality of the food and the lack of value for money. There is no doubt in my mind that under Yves’ and Valerie’s stewardship the Auberge has been transformed, the food was all homemade and the quality was exemplary, Yves is without doubt a talented chef, and the fact that we were able to get food of this quality in a lunchtime menu du jour was extraordinary. Valerie has a friendly and appealing manner, and even though the Auberge was busy the service was efficient, nothing was too much trouble and nobody was kept waiting. She is also an excellent sommelier having chosen the house wine, which at 6 for 50cl works out at 9 per bottle which for wine of the quality we drank is truly exceptional value for wine served at table.

I was enormously pleased not only that we had returned to the Auberge but that we had all so much enjoyed ourselves. The whole experience had been tremendous, great food, great wine, great service and extraordinary value for money. I am so glad that we re-visited the Auberge and unlike the first time I would not hesitate in recommending this restaurant. Tate - 2011.

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About the author: Tate spends the summers in the Vendee and is passionate about good wine and good food,he writes exclusively for the
The coping of this article is permitted as long as the complete article along with these credits are published.

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