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December 2009 - Chateau de la Tour

Home & Away Dining Society Reviews

December 2009 - Chateau de la Tour

Posted by: webmaster on Wednesday December 23, 2009 (20:44:50)   (4048 Reads)
Chateau de la Tour
Chateau de la Tour
Restaurant Details


Chateau de la Tour
AddressChemin de la Chaussée
Address60270 Gouvieux
Phone03 44 62 38 38
December 12th saw the first Home & Away Christmas Dinner, held at the Chateau de la Tour in Chantilly. Susan Toursel had very kindly agreed to help organise the event and, using her considerable Irish charm, she managed to convince the chateau that we could have a menu with a choice of two dishes per course, aperitif, wine and coffee for a very reasonable cost.

If you haven't been before the Chateau de la Tour is a beautiful chateau tucked away on a back road behind the Aqualis swimming pool complex. Approached down a single lane road one descends a final hill to find the chateau perched above its lawned gardens, with a stunning terrace for the summer and an outdoor pool. The chateau is a hotel, built at the beginning of the last century with a bar area as well as its restaurant. The 15 rooms in the old chateau are beatiful but they are supplemented with some rather less grandiose rooms in a modern wing that was built on in 1990. Susan managed to book us in the Salle Pauline, a stunning room in the old part of the chateau attached to the restaurant. Its french windows all down one side give onto the terrace and the garden beyond whilst an enormous fireplace dominates one wall. You could just imagine it looking the same when Edith Piaf used to visit in her heyday.

We managed to finalise the numbers at 32 in the end which meant four tables of eight so we had room to move around. Everyone arrived in evening wear, a great excuse for those of us who don't get a chance very often to get our glad rags on. The staff had done a great job in dressing the tables and, with the addition of some Christmas candles and some crackers and the fire roaring the scene was set for a splendid evening. Aperitifs were taken along with a kir in front of the fire which gave everyone a chance to mingle and meet the couples who'd never been to a Home & Away dinner before.


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Vanessa managed to organise the seating brilliantly which meant everyone had a chance to mix. She persuaded first the menfolk and then the ladies to move after each course so no-one was stuck next to the same person for too long! Once settled it was time to pull the crackers, don the silly hats and tell the terrible jokes - a tradition that seemed to have completely passed the French by. We did try to make an effort in getting crackers with decent gifts in (thanks M&S) but I'm still not sure it'll ever catch on over here. The first course arrived pretty swifly, either a home made terrine of foie gras with toast or a prawn and grapefruit salad. Whilst the portions were pretty small, washed down with a couple of glasses of white wine they went down very well. The foie gras was very creamy but maybe missed some sea salt to go with it but I didn't see any non-empty plates being taken back into the kitchen.

The main course arrived once the men had moved along with red wine for most. This was a very nice Saint Emilion that, although our menu included only a half a bottle each ,did seem to keep being replenished. The mains themselves were a choice between beef, cooked until just pink then sliced or a salmon in a cream sauce with tagliatelle. Again I heard no complaints, even from those who normally like their beef incinerated (sorry, I mean well done) so perhaps some education was achieved! I certainly enjoyed polishing mine off, along with the gratin dauphinois potatoes.

At this point we discovered the only snag to our evening. Whilst the wine flowed and glasses were refilled swiftly during the meal once the main course was cleared away it stopped! Whilst I realise that to contine drinking a Saint Emilion whilst indulging in a dessert course would be an anathema to our hosts the anglo-saxons amongst us (or was it the celts) would have suffered for their (lack of) convictions I'm sure.

Desserts did arrive, a choice between pear poached in red wine or a layered apple dessert with ice cream and a nutty sauce. Personally whilst I am obviously not the sort of chap who enjoys calorie laden, fat full over-indulgent food at all, I did manage to choose the one with the most calories, the apple one, under great duress. And mighty fine it was too.

Coffees followed, suddenly it was nearly midnight and one by one people started drifting off into the night, leaving only the die hards to enjoy the €18 a shot whiskies and the pool table in the bar.

By the time we all left, just before 2am we had managed to agree that we had been very well looked after by the chateau and would happily return for another chance to sample the full menu in the restaurant. It is a splendid venue, beautiful to look at and very well staffed. Thanks to Susan everybody managed to get something to eat that they liked, the wine was of a very high standard and cost very reasonable. On top of it all we managed to have enough left after the table decorations to pass on a cheque for €80 to the St.Peter's Church Restoration Fund.

So thank you to all those who came along to make it a memorable evening, and we look forward to meeting up again in the new year.
Chateau de la Tour
Chateau de la Tour bar
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