The day of our move from Beaune to Dijon was May the 1st, May Day, also Labour Day and therefore a public holiday in France. After breakfast, we headed north, leaving the main highway at Clos de Vougeot to rejoin the Grand Cru route. Approaching Gevrey-Chembertin, we passed a group of vineyards renowned for their Pinot Noir grapes, the fruit used to make some of the best red wines in the world.
We already knew that the town’s leading restaurant would be closed for the holiday; for now, we were content to find a Salon du the and share a pot of Darjeeling, made from leaves that were spooned into a sachet after we placed our order. It was very refreshing.
We resumed driving towards Dijon, resigned to the fact that we would have to look there for some place that was open for lunch. Then, from my vantage point in the passenger seat, I caught a glimpse of parked cars in a side street as we drove through the village of Fixin. Parked cars meant activity and that activity could involve food! After some moments of hesitation, Maggie was persuaded to turn the car around; we were soon seated for lunch at Chez Jeannette.
The maitre’d was a gentleman in his 60s, with mannerisms and clothing that were somewhat formal and traditional, right down to professing an inability to speak English. I never did find out what the entree special was! However, when I indicated in my broken French the two wines I was considering, he was very quick to recommend one over the other; it was everything we could have wished for.
Of our two entrees, Maggie’s was a high quality rendition of the ham and parsley terrine that is one of Burgundy’s numerous menu standards. My entree was quite edible but the lesser of the two and I am still filthy that I didn’t know the entree special!
My main course was a delicious and generous plate of boeuf bourguignon, another dish that we make at home. At Chez Jeannette it was served with a thin jus, flavoursome but a novelty to us and something we will explore further. Maggie had rabbit in a mustard sauce; not the best looking dish on the plate but expertly cooked.
For dessert, we both chose a dish of apple cooked inside a pastry case, not overly heavy, attractively plated and very tasty. I am almost embarrassed to admit that we followed this with a selection from the cheese trolley and, for the navigator, a glass of dessert wine.
This dining experience was the perfect, if sinful, way to end our three days of engorgement on the foods and the wines that give Burgundy its exalted status. We departed the Cote d’Or with great palate memories to savour for many years to come!