Apologies for having accidentally posted this before it was finished. Here is the full version.
We’ve come back from Catalunya to find our apricot tree covered with tiny fruits for the first time for a couple of years. Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that there won’t be any very strong winds to blow them all off!
Following l’amuse bouche…..
Well, starting before it, with Banyuls grand cru in the hotel bar. I posted photos and more information about this speciality of the area, a naturally sweet wine made from grapes grown on steeply terraced ground in vineyards with UNESCO world heritage status, two years ago.
Another glance at l’amuse bouche:
Marinated local anchovies with olive oil:
(I won’t post photos of all the dishes eaten by the whole table, but I must mention Lo Jardinièr’s saddle of rabbit stuffed with pine nuts, tomato confit and spinach – almost a main dish, so plenty for him to offer tastings to the rest of us!)
This is now primarily a fish restaurant, which is appropriate given its position just metres from the sea, and the set menus feature at least two fish courses, but I was pleased to see there were good meat dishes on the carte. It was hard to choose: the gambas risotto was very special, as well as the duck roasted with bitter orange, and for my main course I had lamb roasted rare with thyme and garlic – tender, pink and delicious.
There was an impressive choice of cheeses (which I forgot to photograph), which included local Pyrenean sheep’s cheese, goats’ cheese, mountain cows’ milk cheese and, of course, Roquefort. My choice of dessert was sablé à la figue, réduction de muscat
We drank excellent local red and rosé wines from the Domaine de l’Étoile in Banyuls-sur-mer and coffee came with a piece of candied citrus peel dipped in chocolate. The service was friendly and very attentive, but not formal. As Lo Jardinièr said, it was three hours of pure pleasure. We’ll be back again for our third visit to the Hotel des Elmes and its restaurant as soon as we can!