After what was a pretty busy 10 days between London and Paris, Bordeaux was a great place to unwind and relax for a few days. I booked the Discover Bordeaux package through the tourist office, which gave us a couple of nights’ accomodation in a hotel of our choosing, a walking tour, a wine region/chateau tour, free wine tasting at Bar a Vin, free museum entries and a free bottle of wine. It was actually a very good deal. Big thanks to Essjayeff for the heads up as to the package’s existence. We stayed at the Quality Hotel Catherine, which was pretty much in the centre of everything, not that Bordeaux is all that big to begin with. That said, Bordeaux was as pretty as Paris, but with much more of a laid back feel.
On our first night, we went to L’Entrecôte for dinner. We got there at 7.45 and were told we’d have to wait until 8, which was fine, because by 7.47, the line was at least 20 deep. Popular place! There’s only one thing on the menu at L’Entrecôte, and it’s not for the faint hearted. Or vegetarians. It’s basically steak and fries. Your only choice is how you’d like your meat cooked. You get a few lettuce leaves with some walnuts to start, then you get a plate full of thinly sliced meat and a pile of French fries.
Then they bring over the rest of the meat on a platter, sitting atop some candles. At some point I realised the purpose of the candles isn’t to keep the meat warm, but to keep the lashings of butter sauce from hardening. It was delicious. Oh, and you can also get free fries refills if you so desire! Told you it wasn’t for the faint hearted!
For dessert I ordered the profiteroles with chocolate sauce. I swear there are profiteroles in there somewhere!
On our second night we went to La Tupina, which had come recommended from a few people.
I had the split pea soup with bacon and poached egg to start, while D had coddled eggs with foie gras.
For main I ordered roast chicken that turned out to be quite boring, while D thought his cod was too salty, which isn’t hard as the man is practically allergic to salt.
For dessert we both ordered the canelés with ice cream, which we both enjoyed. A lot. They were the fourth and fifth canelés we ate that day!
Speaking of which, I felt it was my duty to got canelé hunting. For those that don’t know, canelés are a small pastry with a soft custard centre and a thick caramelised crust. They get baked in copper moulds and are a specialty of the Bordeaux area.
The first one we tried was actually the best and found by accident on our way to another canelé shop. It was from David Capy, a French patissier who has a shop in Bordeaux. His canelés were a standout for me – beautifully crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. It’s my mission when I get home to get on to reproducing these!
We also tried canelés at Baillardran but I didn’t enjoy the flavour of theirs at all. There was something about the rum that didn’t do it for me. The have a few shops/carts around Bordeaux and you’ll get an option of soft or crunchy. I chose soft the first time, which only confirmed my love of the crunchy! They had a cart at the train station, so we grabbed a crunchy one on the way out just to compare, and their crunchy didn’t have much crunch.
The final place we stopped was at Pâtisserie Antoine. We asked to have crunchy ones, but as you can see, they were perilously close to going from caramelised to burnt. This one came second for me.
Here’s a few photos of Bordeaux to finish from the walking tour and the half day tour to Saint Emilion and visit at a chateaux. Off to San Sebastián next!