Dining in France: l’Ardoise du Marché*

We were in Sancerre to stock up on Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé wine. Since there aren’t any great restaurants in the town of Sancerre itself, I looked around and noticed a restaurant in the town of Boulleret, just 15 minutes North of Sancerre, that has just received its first Michelin star in 2021. The restaurant of chef Julien Medard is called l’Ardoise du Marché. We opted for the 8 course degustation menu (89 euros, 154 euros including wine pairings).

The new name of the restaurant, not yet displayed on the outside, is Maison Medard.

The amuses bouches were really nice. This was probably the first time ever I thought something made from red cabbage was truly delicious. The meringue of spirulina with sesame seed was also very nice.

The final amuse was a sunchoke mousse with sunchoke chips in a vinegar sauce.

The first course was charred white asparagus with peanuts and cilantro, paired nicely with a Pouilly-Fumé. The asparagus were very tender and charred just right; a very good combination with the peanuts.

The second dish was the chef’s signature starter: eggs with saffron mayonnaise and fish soup. The eggs were served ‘deconstructed’ with a crispy cracker on top. The combination was delicious and a great pairing with a Saint-Aubin (oaked Chardonnay from Burgundy). The sommelier served the wines blind and revealed the bottles only afterwards, which allowed us to do a blind tasting guessing game.

The third course was Sologne caviar, a local product from the Loire region, with potato and Vaatsiperifery pepper. It was paired nicely with a Condrieu. The generous portion of caviar was delicious and a classic combination with potato.

The fourth dish was turbot with pickled radishes, prepared confit in olive oil, paired with a white port. This pairing was unexpected, but did work because the pickled radishes were quite sweet.

The fish dishes were followed by a palate cleanser of Sancerre sorbet before continuing to the meat dishes.

The first meat dish was meat from a pork trotter with a pork stock reduction, crispy pastry, blood sausage, and horseradish. It was paired well with a very nice 2013 red Sancerre. Chef Medard is a proponent of sustainable gastronomy, and it is great to see what a nice dish he created using humble ingredients like pork trotter and blood sausage. If he didn’t tell you what’s in it, you wouldn’t recognize the ingredients.

The main course was pigeon breast with a jus made from the carcass and red Sancerre, pulled pigeon legs, beets, and kumquat. This was paired nicely with a 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The pigeon was perfectly cooked, very tender and juicy, and this was a delicious dish.

Morilles for dessert is original and this was quite nice, paired well with a Maury.

The second dessert was a twist on a classic lemon meringue tart, with a parsley sorbet. It was not very sweet, but the wine that was paired with it was far too dry and accentuated the bitterness of the parsley sorbet. It was an awful pairing, very surprising after all the great wine pairings of the evening. When we asked the sommelier for another wine, he came up with a Côteaux du Layon that was excellent.

The friandises were very nice as well.

We had a great dinner at Maison Medard. The Michelin star is very well deserved and both food and wine are great value for money. The dishes are not only creative, original, and technically well prepared, but also delicious. The wines were outstanding, both the wines themselves as well as the pairings (except for the glitch with dessert, but that was fixed right away). The level of the wines is extraordinary for this price — it is not often that you get Condrieu in a wine pairing. The service was also very good. I wouldn’t be surprised if a second Michelin star would arrive. We’ll be back!

9 thoughts on “Dining in France: l’Ardoise du Marché*

  1. Am laughing ! I began my working day reading your previous food journey and was about to leave for the evening when this ‘blew’ in – glad I read it now! Like it all bigtime from the way the food is served to the amount of plant-based offerings to the originality of the recipe creator . . . oh, Stefan – show me blood sausage or pancakes or meat from a delicious trotter and I’ll walk to France barefoot 🙂 ! Thanks for my second dinner – I enjoyed it !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A ‘further good night’ comment – had never heard of Sologne caviar . . . had no idea there was a sturgeon farm on the Loire . . . were the caviar pearls black or brownish ? Mr Google suggested the latter ?How fascinating . . . well, yes, am potty about caviar also. Way back in the Dark Ages, on SAS en route Beirut > Rome darling husband and I polished off nearly 500 gms of the ‘real’ stuff for breakfast – the plane was half-empty and the stewardess did not feel like dealing with any ‘leftovers’ . . .

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Voatsiperifery is a wondrous pepper from Madagascar we in Australia can only buy from gourmet grocers or on line – here it is rather pricey: about $A 20 for 50 gms, but worth it !!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful meal, such a nice experience to have such great value for a Michelin Star restaurant. We don’t get such fantastic values in Toronto. Were there any dishes that will be replicated on the blog?
    We have a Michelin star booked on our route home from Spain. I’m really looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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