Every season for the past five years, my team and I have created the new menus for our guests who travel on Eurostar. Yesterday, I took Chef Dan as my right-hand man and we travelled to beautiful Burgundy. As always, it was the most seductive journey. Eurostar glided through La Belle France, then we changed seamlessly at Paris and took a local train – that was ON TIME!! – and arrived in Appoigny.
Every year, I so look forward to being in Burgundy. It is just 60 miles from my own home. A wonderful lady called Pascale welcomed us into her stunning old house with a 14th century well. It was quaint, it was beautiful; it was Burgundy at its best.
We were greeted with the classic French welcome which – of course – meant food! Pascale had prepared a gargantuan feast for us. The table was groaning with charcuterie, delicious pâtes, hams and cornichons, local fresh breads and wonderful local wines… and immediately we all felt at home.
But I was even more excited when I spotted andouillettes – traditional coarse-grained sausages made from pigs’ intestines! Of course, as a British man, Dan was horrified at the prospect of tucking into intestines but I was determined to persuade him to try them! I fried them in foaming butter on a very gentle heat. The butter started to brown and the magnificent smell began to permeate the entire room. Then I made a delicious sauce to accompany them of sweated shallots, garlic, thyme, and the local Chablis, and I reduced it all down. Then I added local cream – organic, of course – with mustard, some lemon juice, and salt and pepper…my team went from repulsed to gathering round like hungry little doggies! We served the andouillettes in the garden surrounded by lemon, orange and grapefruit trees…and I succeeded in my mission to convert doubtful Dan into an andouillette fan!
The fantastic welcome at Pascale’s house set us up perfectly for the next morning when we had a big day cooking 170 dishes. We tasted them all and chose the very best ones for serving to our Eurostar customers. A tough job, but somebody has to do it!