Some time ago, I had been told of a farm in the area serving Sunday lunch. Upon arrival yesterday,I realised that the Auberge is just across the main road, two kilometers away. We had made reservations yesterday, and were told to arrive at 12:30. Dave, I owe you.
Ferme-Aberge La Garande is in Jeux les Bard, a tiny crossroad. It's a working farm that also has a few rooms for bed-and-breakfast, and serves family-style Sunday lunch. There were several cars parked outside, and we followed the signs to a patio out back. A large group was sitting outside chatting, and we sat down nearby. More people arrived, all of whom seemed to know people in the group. Every now and then someone would come over, say bonjour, and shake our hands. Maybe they thought we were long-lost cousins?
We were all ushered into a stone-walled the dining room, and Larry and I were taken to the only table set for just two. The huge group (which probably had 30 people) were seated at a long table, and other large family groups had their tables. This seems to be the place to take grandma out for Sunday lunch. Wall decorations were cow and sheep posters from the France Meat Association or somesuch. I want a cow poster now.
The menu had a country salad, a choice of roast lamb or chicken with a lemon cream sauce, potato Dauphinois, and choice of dessert or cheese. Or both. The food started coming, and didn't stop for almost three hours. There's a very nice wine list, and we ordered a half bottle of Burgundy. Most people began with a kir (wine with a bit of cassis), and then went on to huge amounts of wine. The salad arrived in a big bowl for us to serve ourselves from. Greens topped with lardons (crisped strips of ham), garlicy croutons, and perfectly poached eggs. The runny yolks mixed with the dressing, and the whole thing was delicious.
After a breather, a platter of roast lamb slices arrived, with a bowl of Dauphinois. Rosy lamb, and the richest, most over the top Dauphinois I've ever had. Real heart attack on a plate, but you'll die happy. If you dared finish your serving, you were offered more. You're kidding, right? Another breather. I began flirting with the toddler at the next table, who was eating amazing quantities of potatoes when she wasn't sitting on the floor playing. The owners and their sons just stepped around her, carrying platters and bowls. These were just the warmest hosts, working hard and still joking and smiling with everyone. I felt like I'd been to Grand-mère and Grand-père's house.
Dessert or cheese? I chose dessert, Larry cheese. We noticed most people ordered dessert, and then somehow, managed to eat cheese. Dessert was a huge slice of apricot tart, and Larry was brought a daunting wedge of Epoisses. A little coffee afterward somewhat revived us. By this time, the large group had begun singing, everyone looked flushed, and I knew I didn't want to be anywhere near some of these folks behind the wheel of a car.
We had plans of going over to the Abbay at Fontenay, but never made it. Digestion came first. From Tivauche, we took a long walk up the hill toward Corsaint. Fields, more fields, forest, sheep, those white cows, two horses, two friendly cats, and three donkeys. Donkeys? Why donkeys? Loads of unripe blackberries in the hedgerows.
A bike race was circling the area, and we got to watch the riders make several circuits through Tivauche. Everyone sat in lawn chairs and cheered on the riders. We met several people, and learned that Tivauche is lived in half by the farmers, and half by people owning second homes.
Green salad for dinner.