Mar 21, 2014

Goose, Goose, Duck: Rondin du Lot

Goose, Goose, Duck. It's not a children's game. Or even the caption of this photo. It's what's on the menu in the Dordogne.

None of this California-foie-gras-is-illegal politically-correct namby-pamby. For example, one of Anthony's appetizers: pâté de foie gras four ways, including in an eggroll (so very French).

Just take a gander (yes, pun intended) at our favorite restaurant, Au Coup de Silex, right across from the Prehistory Museum in Les Eyzies (a.k.a. the town whose name sounds like the French word for "the penises"). Our dinner here is one of the best deals we've had in France. That's partly because we're out of Paris, and for the 22 prix fixe menu (nearly always the way to go here and just $30), we get a lovely view, and good food, including some excellent foie gras, the specialty of the area. There is even a vegetable on the plate. One lone baby carrot, candied within an inch of its life. But still, a vegetable....


The children's menu here does not disappoint either. Unless you are Gigi and trying to avoid eating the cute ducks and geese.

For those that don't speak French, here's a translation: For 9€ (about $12), children can order the three-course Cro'mignon Menu (a play on the word cromagnon, as "mignon" means "cute"):

Tourain blanchi périgourdin                                -- a local garlic and bread soup
Rillettes de canard et cornichons                         -- shredded duck with pickles
Foie gras de canard mi-cuit                                 -- half-cooked duck foie gras with toast
           a la fleur de sel, duo de toasts
Main dishes: All plates accompagnied by pommes sarladaises, which are garlicky fried potatoes.
Petit magret de canard                                         -- small slice of duck breast
Manchons de canard confits                                 -- leg of duck confit
Petite omelette aux cèpes                                      -- mushroom omelet
Saumon grillé au thym, crème                              -- grilled salmon with thyme,
      d'echalotes au vinaigre doux                                            shallot cream sweet vinegar sauce
Petit gateau aux noix, chocolat fondant,              -- small walnut cake, chocolate sauce,
       petite boule de glace à la vanille                                     scoop of vanilla ice cream
Glace 1 boule parfum au choix                            -- scoop of ice cream, choice of flavor

The only place on the menu you can avoid duck and goose is at desserts. This is a good thing if you are a) sick of goose and duck b) my daughter Gigi or c) yourself a duck, duck, or goose.
THE CHEESE: Rondin du Lot
A Rondin du Lot means, simply, a log from Lot. And it is, a delicious log of a raw goat's milk cheese, produced in small batches and sold through high-end cheese stores.

It's a sliceable cheese whose edges get oozy as it warms up. The center remains a thick, pasty cream, and the crust is yet a different texture -- a little chewy and smooth. So it's three textures in one bite.

It's a medium-strength cheese, with a wonderfully balanced earthy flavor. The kids cannot eat this cheese fast enough. At our dinner party, they keep running in from the other room to slice some off, then run away and play with their friends.

Though Lot is technically right next to Périgord, it's basically the same region. It's not only a local cheese but also an elegant, fabulous cheese that would go well with any gourmet goose or duck meal. And it's very much the shape of that most French appetizer of all: a foie gras egg roll.


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