Last week Me:Mo Interactive was lucky enough to accompany the Galvin at Windows team, which consisted of executive chef Chris Galvin and GM Fred Sirieix, to Bordeaux along with journalists from The Daily Mail and Brummell magazine for a culinary adventure. We set off from Stansted in the early hours on Tuesday morning, with our flight scheduled to land in Bergerac airport. However, due to heavy fog we were redirected to Limoges – only problem being that our taxis were in Bergerac! Luckily Fred’s father, Claude, came to the rescue as he rather handily lived close by. Woken up from his nap by phone call from a rather frazzled Fred, he kindly drove us the three hours to our destination (do not fear he was thanked in wine and lots of it).
Our hosts were Chateau La Lagune, a stunning vineyard just outside of Bordeaux – who kindly let us all stay in some of the most opulent rooms we have ever seen. The first night saw us visiting one of the stalwarts of the Bordeaux dining scene, La Tupina and we were fortunate enough to have the restaurant owner Jean-Pierre Xiradakis join us for supper. He provided a veritable feast of dishes including foie gras, scallops, caviar, lamb and beef alongside probably the best ‘frites’ ever tasted – most likely due to the fact they were cooked in duck fat in a cauldron in an chimney (honestly). After much wine, stories and food we set off back to the chateau for a well-deserved sleep.
The next day saw us up bright and early to head off to an oyster farm to meet famed oyster man, Joel Dupuch. Joel is the sixth generation of oyster farmers in this area and he was kind enough to show us around his warehouse and invited us to his house (or beach shack) just around the corner to feed us oysters and wine on his deck overlooking the Arcachon Bay – which really did beat a day in the office. After guzzling probably one too many oysters we set off for a quick lunch and then headed back to the Chateau for a tour of the wine barrels with owner Caroline Frey, who is a bit of a wine rock queen in France. After tasting the wines, including their new 2013 vintage we had a quick shower and change of clothes ready for the main event of the trip, Chris Galvin cooking a Bordeaux feast with the chateau’s head chef Catherine Negre. Catherine has been at the Chateau for two years and was previously at Joel Robuchon in London and what she doesn’t know about Bordeaux food isn’t worth knowing.
As well as Daily Mail and Brummell, we were also joined by some of the leading French wine writers including writers from Le Figaro, Radio France and Decanter – all of which made for a very interesting evening. The five course meal consisted of oysters from Joel, foie gras, delicious lamb with carrots prepared by Fred (see picture below) local cheeses and desserts from Catherine’s patisserie in Bordeaux, all washed down with some of the Chateau’s most special vintages. Belly’s full we rolled into bed to prapre ourselves for yet another early start.
Final day and after sleeping through the alarm (!) we left the Chateau to visit Sturia Caviar farm with the delightful Geraldine. Dressed in probably the most glamorous outfit possible (see Chris Galvin below) we learnt about all the different processes that go into making Caviar – from the killing of the sturgeon, which was reassuringly not at all as gruesome as we had imagined, to the measuring of the single caviar eggs, to the experts tasting each different batch, it really is no wonder caviar is called the ‘Food of Kings’.
After the tour we set off for the airport, with plenty of time following our first flying encounter, only to find out that we had been delivered to the wrong airport! Sadly this time Fred’s father was not on hand so we hopped into another taxi and drove the two hours to Bergerac – thankfully we made it in time, which was probably due to the taxi drivers thinking they were in ‘The Fast and The Furious’. Quick coffee at the airport and onto the plane we went – all feeling a little jaded, about two stone heavier and sad that we would be leaving this food adventure behind.
Huge thanks to Chris, Fred, Fred’s father Claude, and the Chateau La Lagune team for making the trip one of the most memorable press trips Me:Mo has ever been on.