Menu: 31 euros
Rating: **** Sign me up for Samba classes
Perestrello Geller reviews Le Sanglier Parresseux , Casaneuve
A decade or so ago people started talking about Brazilians. The beach clubs of the Cote D’Azur were apparently flooded with them. Brazilians were everywhere, or so I was told. Eavesdropping on conversations in cafes and restaurants it seemed that every woman
had a new pet Brazilian. At that time there were and still are plenty of Brazilian personal trainers working the coast, and there was also a troop of performing Brazilian acrobats. None of this was new though and I struggled to understand the new craze for our South American cousins. There was the odd green and gold thong on the plage, but nothing to provoke the coffee bar gossips to such a frenzied level of interest. All was finally revealed, or laid bare, when I met Angelica. A lovely girl who laughed with her eyes as much as her mouth, and couldn’t contain her amusement when she finally introduced me to her Brazilian. Right up until the last moment I was expecting to meet her maid.
I mention all this because last week my current partner suggested we go, together, for a Brazilian. I’ve been known to do pretty much anything to please a woman, but having my bodily hair (and I’ve got plenty) removed by strips of hot wax was beyond my limit. I found myself protesting that I was all in favour of Brazilians, but that like earrings they tended to look better on women than men.
‘What on earth are you talking about?’ asked my partner.
‘Brazilians,’ I stuttered, ‘I’m happy to take you, but don’t expect me to join you.’
It took us a few days to recover from this misunderstanding, but eventually we made a day trip to the village of Casaneuve to eat in the Sanglier Paressuex, a restaurant owned by Brazilian chef, Fabrizzio Delgaudio. Now Fabrizzio is a handsome man, the type of Brazilian that women really fantasise about. He greeted us on the terrace of the restaurant in a set of immaculate chef’s whites, with his named embroidered on his lapel in loopy gold lettering. He has dark eyes, and a broad smile and as he showed us to our table I swear there was a slight wobble in my partner’s knees. There was a guilty flush to her face as she sat down. Had I been dragged all this way, through the looping roads of the Luberon for voyeuristic rather than culinary reasons?
Fabrizzio disappeared into the kitchen and my partner calmed down enough for us to take in the surroundings. First impressions were favourable. Rural Provence does not always do the restaurant terrace well, corners are cut, cheap seats are used, table cloths are dispensed with in favour of a more rustic look, and the theatre of dining out against the splendid backdrop of the throbbing garrigue is lost. Not chez Fabrizzio. His tablecloths are as neatly pressed as his chef’s whites, and he’s taken the very un-French decision to employ enough staff to serve his customers, dressing them immaculately in black.
All was therefore well until I read the menu. Fabrizzio is a classically trained French chef but he describes his cooking style as a soupcon of folie from Brazil. My worry was that I couldn’t spot the folly. We chose the following courses:
Starters: Rouget confit au thym, pomme marine a l’ail doux facon pissaladiere,
Presse de foie gras, brioche grille, compote de poire vanillee
Filet de canard laque aux agrumes, tarte fine aux oignons nouveaux,
Loup de mer a la plancha, veinnoise au chorizo, piquillo farci a la brandade de morue, veloute de tomate du Luberon
Pommes caramelisees facon Tatin, sable Breton, crème fouette a la verveine,
Tout au chocolat
Somewhere amid these classic sounding dishes, I had to find the folly from Brazil, the great big Samba dancer that was going to come waltzing onto my palette shaking her bazoombas to ruin an otherwise delicious sounding meal.
Before we even got started Fabrizzio appeared carrying two veloutes of Paris mushrooms, presented in shot glasses with a little straw. I don’t usually approve of these little amuse bouche. If I want something I’ll order it. I think it’s supposed to mark a restaurant out as being ‘serieuse’ but in a land where most places struggle to get enough staff together to serve the food you actually order why bother with a freebie. The veloute, though was delicious, smooth, subtle and with not a hint of Brazilian folie. The starters followed the same pattern, exemplary presentation, big flavours married together by a chef who understands food.
Then it happened. The mains arrived. Two takeaway carnivals on plates. My fish and my partner’s duck were surrounded by a mish-mash of street food that appeared to have randomly landed on our plates. There were a couple of deep fried bananas and inexplicably a spring roll on a bed of mash potato. The spring roll was excellent, if slightly contaminated by a coating of mash potato. The banana fritters should have been shoved in a paper napkin from a carnival stand. It was hard to believe that the same chef that produced the refined mushroom veloute had served these monstrous side orders. Both totally distracted from the main courses, perfectly cooked fish, and pink duck, spiced with citrus fruit.
We waited for our desserts. By now I was afraid that Fabrizzio having let the Brazilian folie out of the tin wouldn’t be able to put it back in. ‘Tout en chocolat’ appeared to offer worrying opportunities for Fabrizzio to experiment. Thankfully the soupcon of Brazilian folie never returned. The chocolate dessert was an unctuous circle of chocolate, half mousse, half cake, floating in liquid chocolate. The tarte tatin an inventive take on a classic dish, with the apples encased within a crème caramel base. We left the lazy sanglier content. The meal had been well worth the trip from the coast. The service was excellent, the food delicious, and the terrace a delightful place to eat. In France, where everything to do with dining out, is often too serious, perhaps a soupcon of Brazilian folie is not such a bad thing after all.
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