By: Salli

We are pleased to have good friends and fellow Francophiles Salli and Jerome, who live in Southwest France, reporting on some of their recent notable meals in the area.

On our way to the Gers, going west on A 61, Jerome announced that he was hungry. I pulled out our trusty red Michelin, did a little research, and found a one star restaurant not too far from the autoroute. In the tiny town of La Pomarade, in the Aude, about 15 km north of Castelnaudary, is the Hostellerie du Chateau de la Pomarade. It is in a beautiful chateau, perched on a hill, with the lovely Lauragais countryside spread out below. There is a terrace, but it was a bit cool, and so we ate in the dining room. The decor is elegant, a successful mix of old and contemporary, and the restaurant boasts excellent service.

We chose chef Gerald Garcia’s menu du march, with wines, at 26 euros each (18 euros without wine). For l’aparo, Jerome had tomato juice and I had a coupe of Champagne Billecart Salmon to accompany our amuses bouches of crispy cheese straws, fried pork balls with a red pepper puree, mini frittatas, and olives.

Then a server arrived with a choice of rolls and a cart with three kinds of butter (sweet, salty, and flavored with seaweed) and the fantastic local olive oil.

For the first course, Jerome ordered a pata de canard with pistachios and salad, and I opted for a tartare of tuna, also with greens. Each was excellently seasoned. I would even venture to say the tuna tartare was probably the best I have ever had in France. The wine was a Gaillac Blanc, Domaine Rotier.




Then, for our main course, we each had rabbit leg seasoned with rosemary and served with a delicate

mushroom sauce and a little casserole of fresh white beans in a wonderful broth. The red wine was a St. Chinian, Chateau Villepassan. The desserts were passion fruit souffles with vanilla ice cream, served with a Chateaux du Layon, Bommard. Needless to say, we were very impressed with our impromptu lunch and with the wine pairings, which married perfectly with each course. (Perhaps the only thing we would complain about was the cost of the coffee: 9 euros for 2 coffees!) Nevertheless, we will return to this lovely spot, planning a pit stop into our next appropriate itinerary.