Food Wine Burgundy update


This year the food-wine scene in southern Burgundy is full of surprises—though none would prompt me to alter my entries, other than to report a change in address. Read on.
Food Wine Burgundy came out in February and since then a new, non-terroir restaurant has opened in Chapaize, site of one of southern Burgundy’s loveliest Romanesque churches. La Table de Chapaize is the kind of French restaurant you’d expect to find in a city like Paris or Syndey, not in a village in deep rural Burgundy. The style of food—global, vertical, with no references to the traditions of the region—and the trendy table settings and décor would have kept La Table de Chapaize out of Food Wine Burgundy in any case. If you enjoy tiny servings on vast plates, and a dinner time-span from start to finish of many hours, and you don’t mind spending serious money, and eating whatever it is the chef prepares—there is no choice—then this may be the place you’ve been dreaming of. Maybe.
Le Relais d’Oznay, between Chapaize and Tournus, is coming into its own, with real food and comfortable surroundings. It merges tradition with contemporary cooking, and the setting reflects this. For a full review, see the southern Burgundy section of Food Wine Burgundy.
In Tournus proper, Les Terrasses continues in the same vein, with good-value, updated cooking, sometimes with a regional anchor. This is a Michelin-starred property. Though the presentation is at times fussy and vertical, and the chef’s passion for complication clearly ranges far beyond France’s borders, Les Terrasses nonetheless provides pleasant dining, especially at lunch, and there are frequent nods to Burgundian traditions. The wine list is remarkable. A full review is in Food Wine Burgundy, and is as accurate now as it was six months ago.
Small, independent businesses continue to fail (thanks to the new shopping mall near the highway, and the recession), but Tournus’ great chocolate and pasty shop, its fine wine shop, bakery and charcuterie survive.
Nearby, the one-star Michelin property Amarylis has moved from its dreary location at Sennecey-le-Grand to much more comfortable though fuddy duddy premises in a handsome millhouse near Saint-Rémy, on the outskirts of Chalon-sur-Saone (a fifteen-minute drive north of its former digs). In so doing, has Amarylis morphed into Le Moulin de Martoray, the former occupant of the millhouse (also a Michelin-star property)? Not so far. The food is unchanged: minimalist, trendy, well prepared from mostly local ingredients, and the object of a cult following. This is new cooking with regional roots. Don’t expect to leave the grounds feeling full. As with La Table de Chapaize and most of the other new wave restaurants in the region, partir sur sa faim—leaving while still hungry—seems to be the chef’s mantra.
I’m glad to report that Food Wine Burgundy is proving to be popular in the region. It’s available at many bookstores—yes, there are a few left in France—notably L’Atheneum in Beaune. Other gourmet or wine shops are also stocking it: our favorite is Le Cellier de l’Abbaye in Cluny (where you’ll find scores of Burgundy’s best wines and, a recent addition, many of its best cheeses).
In the next installment on southern Burgundy: Cluny, Igé, Bourgvillain, and a fabulous Viré-Clessé.
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