Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Places We Love ...

Falling in love with cooking is pretty much the best experience that has ever happened to me. It can be hard and physically demanding but I can’t think of anything more rewarding on so many levels.  Being passionate about one’s métier, to learn and explore affords one great opportunities and experiences, many of which become memories of a lifetime.

I get great pleasure in traveling, visiting and dining in inspirational restaurants and locations; this sense of discovery never gets old. In 2007 I had the chance to visit Olivier Roellinger’s Les Maisons de Bricourt, a Relais & Chateaux property in Cancale, France, a beautiful Breton town by the sea. Olivier was one of the true masters for me of a beautiful and sensitive cuisine—of where he was, where he was born and grew up, and the pleasures of beautiful product and cuisine. It is a meal that remains one of the best of my life, one I return to again and again in memories and dreams.

A lot has changed for Jane and Olivier in Cancale, yet on a recent return visit much has remained the same.

The original restaurant, where Olivier was born, is now his Atelier and production area for his namesake spice company, which showcases his passion of working with the world’s best spices, treating them respectfully and creating many masterful blends. We use them here at Manresa in our search for the best.

Their beautiful restaurant Le Coquillage is fantastic, with new dishes and renditions of his classics all being executed by Olivier’s son Hugo in a masterful way. Housed in the stately Chateau Richeux overlooking the Bay and oyster beds, Mont St. Michel glimmers on the horizon. It is difficult to imagine a more serene and delicious experience.

Best of all, the Roellinger Family has created a new space of six gorgeous rooms just a short walk through the fields and gardens of the Chateau called La Ferme du Vent. With no Internet and no television, La Ferme du Vent features a series of private Celtic baths leads you to a place where you are affected most by the sea, the tides, the moon and the sound of nature all around. All of this is enhanced by a natural comfort—something is seems only the French have mastered.

I give my highest recommendation to all to enter the universe of the Roellinger family. The bounty of the sea, their rhythm with the seasons, the smell of the bread they bake, the aromatic spices, the galettes made with salted butter (which just might be the best cookie in the world), their spirit of generosity and hospitality is worth a special journey from anywhere to create your own memories. Just go. —David Kinch