May 7, 2010

Festival of Chefs 2010: Auberge du Pommier

Jason Bangerter
Auberge du Pommier
At the Festival May 8th

There is probably several pages worth of praise I could gush forth over my first meal at Auberge, if they would let me. I will have to show a little restraint-- suffice it to say that it's a good thing the chairs were uber-comfortable, because we were eating and enjoying for nearly 4 hours. The time flew by, not only because of the amazing quality of the food, but the sincere attendance of the staff making the entire evening quite memorable.

First of all, the bread. An assortment of O&B signature breads, with a petite pot of sweet French butter (I hear they get it from CheeseB ;) and an assortment of olives.
O&B Signature breads

Barely had we begun to bite buttery bread when the massive plank of charcuterie arrived. Arranged for two, this was an assemblage of drool-worthy items such as seared duck heart, foie gras, spruce tips, bacon-wrapped chicken liver mousse (ohhh man that was good),  wee mushrooms, spruce jelly, brioche, and all was paired with a flute of no-alcohol Quebec Spruce Beer (think ginger beer).

Charcuterie

So began this light-show of tastes, aromas and textures. Awestruck, we sat back for that last drop of spruce beer, giddily anticipating the next adventure.

 One of many possible combinations of the charcuterie: brioche, mushroom and prosciutto

Fricassée d’Escargots
"Escargots and wild mushrooms perfumed with brandy and thyme on Jerusalem artichoke velouté"

Cut into these neatly contained little bombs, and a tidal wave of herbs, garlic and butter ride out, carrying succulent escargots with it. Then, the magic really begins-- when you take that first bite.
Fricassée d’Escargots

Steak Tartare
"hand cut beef tenderloin, slightly spicy, with classic garni et petit baguette"

With a fresh anchovy filet, perfect quail egg, a milkweed pod (very interesting, astringent taste) and petite radish. This paired beautifully with a rich "black wine" from Cahors.

The Steak Tartare

St. Jacques et Joue de Boeuf
"Caramelized sea scallop and braised beef cheek with sweet peas, morels and summer truffle Champagne cream."

This dish springs to life in the mouth with essences of mushroom, and the beef cheeks were oh-so-delicate and juicy -- seared scallop played as sweet counterpoint-- the cherry on the parfait of all these heady flavours.

 Scallops, Beef Cheeks, Morels: St. Jacques et Joue de Boeuf

For dessert-- a Cheese plate! served with raw organic orange blossom honey, thinly sliced house-baked breads. and a few celery leaves to effectively clean the palate.

Arranged from mildest to strongest, with a bonus cheese recently acquired for the restaurant:
Fromage Calvados du Matin. Fifth Town’s Calvados made exclusively for Auberge du Pommier; washed morning milk cheese.

Also on the plate was the wonderful 1608 raw cow's milk cheese from Quebec, Prestige unpasteurized ash-covered chevre, and Carles Roquefort. It's crazy-- an insanely pungent cave-aged sheep's milk blue.


 La Carte des Fromages

To our great pleasure, Chef Bangerter himself came to the table between courses. He makes a mean terrine. Experienced in many top European restaurants, still he believes that Auberge is an exceptionally unique place, from the decore, to the staff, to the customers, allowing a freedom to test an innovative fusion of classical French culinary art and kicking it up with contemporary (and local/seasonal) flair.

My take? This is an establishment of true artistry.

Flavour notes, just like music, when used in the right combination are keys with an ability to reach the soul. I guess I'm just the newest convert of the Church of Auberge.

~Oreagano 

Just a quick reminder that bidding is closing this Sunday for the following Silent Auction items:

Lunch for 4 set with Cheese Boutique’s linen, porcelain and silverware on May 15th, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. Tasting menu to be prepared and served by Chef Mike Steh of reds bistro.
Wine from 13th Street Winery served by Peter Bodner Rod.
Biding ends May 9, 2010 at 7:00 P.M. 

Lunch for 4 set with Cheese Boutique’s linen, porcelain and silverware on May 16th, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. Tasting menu to be prepared and served by Chef Anthony Rose of the Drake Hotel.
Wine from 13th Street Winery served by Peter Bodner Rod.
Biding ends May 9, 2010 at 7:00 P.M. 

Hope to see you at the Festival and wishing all a great weekend!

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