French Restaurant in Mondragon, France: La Beaugravière Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

La Beaugravière HeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Open: Lunch Tue - Sun, dinner Tue - Sat
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +33 4 90 40 82 54
Address: Quai du Pont-Neuf
Mondragon, Provence, 84430
Country: France
Food Style: French

For many, when they think of black truffles the Perigord region immediately springs to mind. However, we always associate truffles with the Vaucluse region of Provence where most of France's production is sourced.
In fact the market at Richerenches in the Vaucluse region of the Enclave des Papes is the most vibrant and exciting truffle market in the whole of France. This market alone makes a trip to France in the middle of winter well worth while.
Further south near the unremarkable village of Courthezon, vast fields of hazelnut trees help generate the product to cater for the insatiable appetite of the French for this culinary black gold.
After a visit to the truffle market you can lunch on a truffled omelette in the village of Richerenches or you can take the short drive down to the village of Mondragon to sample some of the best truffle dishes in the country.
Don't expect a picturesque, perched village. Mondragon is a drab industrial town, squeezed between the Rhone and the freeway just north of the historic town of Orange.
However this should not deter you. Once you find Guy and Tina Jullien's La Beaugravière and have settled into the warmth of both the open fire and the genuine welcome you will forget about what lies outside.
The first thing that you will notice is the relaxed demeanour of the clientele - this is because in winter many dining here are associated with the truffle trade and are looking for a place where their produce is treated sympathetically.
The next thing you will notice is the quality of the wine list. It is one of the best collections of Rhone wines we have seen on a restaurant list. We tried the beautiful white Chateauneuf du Pape from Domaine du Vieux Lazaret which was quite young and hence had not acquired those complex honeyed characteristics, however it was a very pleasant wine to accompany the first dishes of our meal.
We had ordered the white because one of our first dishes was scallops accompanied by a puree of blettes and some winter vegetables. Our other entrée (and this turned out to be a stunning dish) was a salad of ratte potatoes completely covered by shavings of fresh black truffle. Of all the potatoes we come across throughout the world, the ratte variety grown in this area are the best we have ever tried.
A truffle risotto for main course was a masterpiece - deeply flavoured in its own right and then enhanced with a similarly generous layer of finely sliced fresh black truffle. This worked well with a Domaine de L'Oratoires St Martin Haut-Coustias 2000 from the brothers Frédéric and François Alary produced from their Cairanne vineyard. The Cairanne Cotes du Rhone Village appellation is certainly gaining a lot of attention recently and this wine is a good example of why it should.
The meal finished beautifully with a parfait nougatine with a drizzle of honey and a fine tarte tartin.
La Beaugravière is a good, comfortable restaurant that provides pleasant and earnest service and very, very good food.
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