The only way to mark the end of my four month internship in Champagne, and the very end of my year abroad was with a special meal. But where? With the sizzling burst of weather scorching the past few days there's been only one place you should've be seen dining - outside. Anywhere outside! Give me some sunshine, a generous helping of blue skies, a side order of warm evening breeze, and all with a glass of something cold and alcoholic and you really can't go wrong. One of my best experiences of al fresco dining recently was at Le Jardin, the brasserie of Domaine Les Crayeres in Reims.
Le Jardin seems very aptly named, not merely for being located right in the heart of the expansive garden grounds of Les Crayeres luxury hotel and park, but with every dish epitomising the word garden. Whether it's the burst of fresh garden herbs, the perfectly plotted scattering of petals or the earthy rich sauces.
To start we ordered the crab with spring pea cream. It was a delicate morsel of sweet crab meat and garden pea.
Their foie gras with fruit compote was a perfect example of the quintessentially french opener. Deep and rich, tickled by the tangy sweet chutney.
Next came the ballottine of chicken filled with foie gras. The delicate sowing of chives added a sweet, earthy twist to the dish. And the quail, served on a bed of caramelised onions and jus was equally well plotted.
The chocolate and caramel tart was bitter sweet with a watering of buttery caramel sauce and a generous scattering of chocolate compost.
The ile flotante, another French brasserie staple, was light and melting, and revived by the hit of salted caramel popcorn and a silky moat of creme anglaise.
Dinner at Le Jardin was the perfect evening stroll through classic french cooking.
I am an amateur cook blogging about the food I eat and cook, and my travels along the way.