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Le Stelvio  La Chataigneraie
La Levraudière,   Antigny      Tél : 02 51 51 62 62

Sud Vendee.. Haut Bocage.. Coastal Region.. Marais Poitevin.. Marais Breton.. Bas Bocage.. Plaine.. Marais Olonne..
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It was a Saturday evening and my friend Ron was coming towards the end of what had been a very wet holiday, some other friends of ours Stephen and Sally had mentioned that their French neighbours Roger and Christine had mentioned that Le Stelvio was good. I had eaten there before with my mother and other friends many years earlier and remembered it being good, however it had changed hands since then and so it was a new experience for us all. Le Stelvio is listed as being in Antigny but is in fact on the main road from Fontenay-le-Comte on the edge of La Chataigneraie.

The staff were thoughtful and accommodating and we were let into the conservatory in order to avoid the steps that I would have had to negotiate to get into the main body of the restaurant. The conservatory did have a single step but it was relatively small. The conservatory itself was light and airy with several tables being already occupied, and with more people arriving all the time the restaurant had a buzz to it that is unusual in an evening service here in the rural part of the South Vendée.

We had decided to go for the
27 menu which afforded us three courses although it was possible to have a bowl of pasta or a pizza on its own for 10. I already liked this place the restaurant was very busy with groups of young people and families and new people arriving all the time. Trevor and I both went for the Foie Gras which was served with two different types of onion confit, croutons and a small green salad with tomatoes and a crème fraiche dressing, it was delicious the Foie Gras was dense and had a strong taste, the onion confits were both tasty one being darker and more caramelised than the other and the salad dressing was light and a perfect accompaniment to the rest of the dish.  Ron’s Scandanavian salad had a good amount of smoked salmon and two quenelles of mozzarella cheese on a crispy green salad with tomatoes and a crème fraiche dressing. Ron was delighted with it but was thankfully not moved enough to give us a rendition of Norwegian Wood. We could have had a pitcher of house wine but went instead for a Bardolino which at 13 was I thought very reasonably priced for an Italian wine in France. It wasn’t the best Bardolino that I had ever drunk but it was strong and perfectly acceptable and a change from drinking Bordeaux.

Our main courses arrived, Trevor had opted for the Entrecôte Steak which was served on a wooden board with a foil parcel of frites, a pepper sauce and a small green salad. He said that the steak was tender and cooked to perfection and that the pepper sauce was to his taste not being too strong, the frites and the salad were also both excellent. Both Ron and I had chosen an Oriental Pizza which had chorizo, merguez sausages and peppers on, I’m a real pizza lover and this was good, the base was light and crispy without being tooth cracking and the topping was very tasty and quite spicy. As we finished our main courses the sun was beginning to set, but it hadn’t stopped the influx of people, the restaurant really was very busy but it was running like a well oiled machine. We had asked for a slight respite before serving dessert in order to finish the second bottle of Bardolino that Ron and I were drinking, and we were accommodated without a problem. When the desserts did arrive we weren’t disappointed, my Crème Brûlée was perfect the crispy caramelised topping covered a perfectly cooked Crème Anglaise, and it was made on site rather than bought in as so many deserts are today. Both Ron and Trevor had homemade Tiramisu and they were both delighted it was creamy and well flavoured and a perfect end to the meal.

We all agreed that it had been an excellent evening, the ambience had been exceptional, the staff were friendly and efficient and the food had been excellent. I particularly liked the fact that there were young people eating at the restaurant just eating a bowl of pasta or a pizza probably before going on to some other social engagement. There were families who were mixing and matching or having pizzas and then there were people like us who were having a full three course meal. It was a great mix and everyone was able to tailor their meal to their budget, so I can highly recommend the restaurant. Tate - 2011

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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