When good friends invite you over to lunch at a restaurant where their sister is chef and the sister's husband is the sommelier, you don't think twice. You get up early for the 2 hour drive from Lausanne, and go.
So when Marco and his lovely wife Veronique asked me to join them for lunch at Les Mossettes...a restaurant in the mountains, where Veronique's sister has just taken over...and earned a respectable 12 Gault Millau points on the first year...I jumped at it. We were also joined by another good friend and gourmand: Alex and his lovely girlfriend Sophie. Makes wonderful company.
It was late November, up in the Swiss mountains...when in most years, it should have been covered in snow and freezing temperatures. But 2011 is an unusual year. And there we were, basking in the sunshine. At about 3pm, we got up to continue lunch inside the restaurant, after eating and drinking al fresco since noon...not because it was too cold, but because the onslaught of the sun was merciless...and it was getting too hot (!!!). But promptly at 4:30pm when the sun set, it became quite cold.
A quaint little cottage, almost in th emiddle of nowhere. As we drove up to the restaurant, we passed the Abbey of Valsainte...the monks who bottled the water we were to drink...and who are silent monks. The Abbey has been there for perhaps 700 years. And the Abbey complex was quite large and beautiful...especially considering that the community who lives within numbers about 20.
Anyway, this was an unforgettable lunch. Not only the food was unusual and only vaguely familiar to me, as all the ingredients were sourced locally. But the wines were also superb, well selected and quite unfamiliar to me as well. The wines turned out to be the star of the afternoon for me. All superb.
We started with some deep fried leaves...a bit of grease stuck on to the leaves, but it was crisp, light and seasoned with a little salt, very nice.
And the aperetif to go with this was a beautiful bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse...the only wine whose domaine I recognised that afternoon...
The starters were some seafood...
Well, I guess not all ingredients are from the area...we were up in the mountains, hundreds of kilometers from the oceans...so the scallops must have been flown in. They were juicy, and sweet. Fresh. The fish, I understand is from the neaby lake - Lac Noir.
We had an intermediate white...a Premier Cru from Nuit St. George...an unfamiliar domaine for me, but the wine was gorgeous:
And for mains, quail
Very nicely roasted, perfectly done. The quail had a slightly gamey flavour, but remained very mild, more like chicken with a bit of bite...and smaller. Very tasty.
To accompany...two reds...
All the wines were organic..and from vineyards who practice sustainable agriculture. And they were magnificent. All were chosen by the sommelier, Georgie (I am not sure how we spell his name...but it sounded lime geor-gee)...
And the cheese...
Being close to La Gruyere, of course it featured a large slice of the famous cheese. Magnificent.
And we went inside for desserts...too hot...
Fresh, light, and very nice. But the dessert wine was the surprise
Sparkling! yes...see the bubbles...but not from grapes, but from 20 different types of pears...
This was magnificent. Like a beautiful champagne...dry, beautiful bouquet. And the tingling bubbles, which were small, well formed and quite vivacious. Made only in magnums, and in very small quantities. This was a great treat. Truly memorable.
Magnificent trip. Beautiful food. Wonderful wines. And fantastic company. Plus what a great weather in November. What more can a man ask for.
La Pinte des Mossettes
La Valsainte, Cerniat 1654 , Switzerland
+41 (0) 269272097