Driving thru France northwards from Montpelier we decided to pull off the road for a meal, and not a service area gastronomical disaster, a real French countryside meal. We must have had a lucky star that day, as we found what we were looking for in Ebreuil, about 9 km from the main highway in the Valle de la Sioule.
Crossing the river itself before entering the town, we were struck with a sense of going backwards in time at least one hundred years. The beauty of this place is stunning, and the village itself is neat as a pin, with only a few public establishments catering to the locals. Without speaking French one would have a difficult time here, as they are unused to foreigners, but very friendly. Finding the town’s largest inn closed for the season, we kept looking and found a place called La Zabelle on the main square, with easy parking.
Offering four different menus on their carte, we chose the simplest one as it was lunchtime, not dinner, and the smiling waitress offered us fish and a special seasonal mushroom dish. Of course our meal included a bottle of great French wine, so we chose a red and were delighted. The salad appetizer, along with a huge basket of crusty baguette slices was a taste of things to come. Our main dish was the promised fish, filleted and poached, covered with a wonderfully rich sauce made with tomatoes and many fresh herbs. The side dish was a plethora of mushrooms, sautéed with bits of bacon, and served with an herbal buttery-sauce that had a lot of fresh thyme and oregano in it.
One of the wonderful things about France these days is that they offer non-smoking areas in restaurants for us non-smokers, and we were enjoying our meal especially as the neighboring tables were also smoke-free, but not gossip-free. The adjoining table was filled with several generations of a family, and the oldest couple kept eyeing us, and eventually started a conversation with us. They seemed delighted to see some Americans in their village, and wanted to discuss politics, but we changed the topic to the food, the wine, the beauty of the countryside, and other niceties.
So after relishing every last morsel of food, wine, and a dessert of Pineapple Charlotte including sponge cake, whipped cream and pineapple we found our way back to the highway and onwards to Paris.
Address: Main Street City: Ebreuil Postcode: Phone: Fax: Added: November 9th 2004 Reviewer: Martin Trip Score: Hits: 3100 Language: