French Restaurant in La Celle, France: Restaurant at Hostellerie de l'abbaye de la Celle Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Restaurant at Hostellerie de l'abbaye de la Celle HeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Open: Daily
Price: Expensive

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +33 4 98 05 14 14
Address: Place du General de Gaulle
La Celle, Provence, 83170
Country: France
Food Style: French

We were delighted, when, after being seated in the comfortable and charming restaurant at the Hostellerie de l'abbaye de la Celle that both the menu and the wine list reflected the produce of the local region. Not that this is too hard. Provence has some of the best food products and some of the world's greatest (but not best known) wines.
The reason for this delight is the problems we have faced in many resorts where the chefs try to 'internationalise' the menus rather than reflect the strengths of the local region.
On our April 2000 trip to Provence we had developed a distinct fondness for the white wines of Cassis and revisited our admiration for the stunning reds of the Bandol, Bellet and Pallette areas.
So, after studying the dishes on offer on the Menu Gastronomique we opted for a Domaine la Ferme Blanche, Blancs de Blancs 1996 from Cassis and the stunning (although too young at this stage) 1997 Chateau de Pibarnon from Bandol. Both proved to be ideal choices.
We started our meal with Legumes de printemps en vinaigrette tiede. This proved to be an ideal dish for travellers who had been missing a healthy diet of vegetables. An array of seasonal spring vegetables had been lightly (but sufficiently) poached and served in a slightly acidulated stock. It was a calming and charming start to the meal and the perfect dish to show off the characteristics of the Cassis white.
A dish of black pasta with a ragout of octopus followed and helped see out the white wine. For main course the larded veal was cooked perfectly as was the accompanying gnocchi. The Bandol was young and very vigorous but the perfect foil for the strong veal dish with its accompanying spinach and confit garlic.
We finished the red wine with some of the lovely goat cheese from the region.
We rarely get excited about desserts, but here the Pomme au four caramelisee was an almost perfect example of how to combine flavours, textures and appearance. Twirls of apple were offset by shards of toffee-like fruit and sitting on top of a perfectly caramelised tart. A great way to complete a wonderful meal.
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