Nowhere else embodies the essence of culinary excellence quite like the country of France, where the extraordinary cuisine is viscerally embedded in a rich history of obtaining a symphony of flavours. Renowned for its venerable and esteemed cuisine, France beckons chefs from across the globe, enticing them with a bounty of fresh local ingredients that are the foundations to such masterful dishes.
Immersed in the captivating tapestry of culinary history that weaves through the country, James Audas and Tom Sheer, initially of Lo-Fi Wines and now co-owners of the esteemed Bar Heater in Byron Bay, found themselves draw to the hallowed vineyards tended by France’s famed vignerons.
Embarking on a tasteful odyssey that crisscrossed the French countryside, James and Tom embarked on a quest to discover the most cherished and adored wines of the country’s vineyards. A journey of poetic explorations of oenophilic treasures, has become a testament to their passion for the vinicultural wonders that France obtain.
Here, James and Tom send postcards to RUSSH on how to travel through France like a true restaurateur.
The French countryside is littered with hotels and lavish airbnb’s, but it’s the homestays, often referred to as a “Gîte”, that provide a real look into the inner-workings of these small townships. None are quite as nurturing as Natalie’s and Ludwig’s “Les Gardins sur Glantine”, a homely hideaway in the heart of the Jura wine region of Eastern France. Adorned with renaissance oil paintings and marble busts, expect classical music to be softly playing in the background as you enter the main house through drapes of lace. Natalie has turned hosting into an art form in of itself, offering everything from homemade compotes and jams while Ludwig while inevitably introduce you to his cultish Jura wines; oxidative whites and mineral reds to leave with us a cherished souvenir.
Although the French countryside has no shortage of memorable places to dine, getting to know firsthand the wines of the region and the ingredients that sat at the table alongside them was our main priority so we opted for a local market run instead. Local guinea fowl was a new ingredient for chef Ollie Wong-Hee to experiment with but turned out beautifully after being poached in a master stock and served Chinese-style with big flavours of a ginger, garlic, soy and chilli glaze. A big hit with Ludwig’s oxidative whites, followed neatly with some local 36-month aged Comté cheese and a glass of the region’s famed ‘yellow wine’, Vin Jaune.
Natalie and Ludwig luckily have a commercial kitchen that can handle any amount of enthusiasm but if dining out is more in your sights then head straight to Bistro Nom, an iconic French bistro in the nearby town of Arbois known for its local fair. For something more left-of-centre be sure to visit Le Comptoir Kokagué in nearby Mouchard, where a French-Japanese couple weave local ingredients into beautiful Japanese dishes.
Looking for more French travel tips? Here are the best hotels to stay at in Paris.