July 2016 – France « Impressionism and Gastronomy », chapters 2-4: Maison Jeunet, a Michelin 2-star auberge in Arbois, Jura

July 2016 France "Impressionism and the journey of gourmet"
July 2016 France "Impressionism and the journey of gourmet"

Visit Date: July 21, 2016

From Burgundy to Franche-Comté

グルメの旅、ミシュランガイド掲載レストラン行脚の旅も4日目を迎えました。本日の目的地は「アルボワ」の街にあるミシュラン2つ星オーベルジュ[highlight]「Maison Jeunet」[/highlight]です。

I made a reservation directly from the hotel’s website. It was very convenient because we could make a reservation for the restaurant at the same time, although we had to communicate in French.


Geography is around here. The Jura family is a province bordering Switzerland. It is a little over an hour by car from Dijon or Besançon.

This area is called the Jura department. It belongs to the Franche-Comté region, a region right next to Burgundy. It is on the southeast side of Burgundy. The Jura is famous for its wine and cheese. It is also the area where many of the most beautiful villages in France with good quality (compared to this site) exist.

A drive through the vineyards

As we approached Arbois, more and more vineyards began to appear around us. The view of the vineyards spread out over the rolling hills was magnificent.

The roads are very beautiful. In France, even the local roads are well paved and easy to drive.

I could faintly see the tower of a tall church in the distance. It seemed to be the town of Arbois.

Arriving in the town of Arbois, it was difficult to find the Auberge…

And we arrived at our destination, Arbois, around 6pm. However, I couldn’t find anything like an auberge in the place indicated by the navigation system (Google Map). Well, it’s not a very big town, so I thought I could find it easily by wandering around the town even if I had a small car, but I had more trouble than I expected. It’s a small town, but there’s an unexpectedly large amount of traffic.

As it turned out, the Auberge was located right on the main street of the city, facing the street to the fullest. Since the parking lot is not in front of the Auberge, I parked on this main street and asked my wife to go to the reception. It helps to have two people in a situation like this.

Then we asked the hotel staff to show us where the parking lot was. However, the parking lot was a little far from this auberge, so I had to put him in the passenger seat to guide me.

The parking lot is said to be a small garage located about 50 meters down the street, across the street and into the back alley, which is very small! But fortunately, the car we rented was a compact type, so I was able to park it somehow even with my driving skills.

First, check into your room.

Parked the car in the garage and then checked in. They were very polite. The building was a two-story stone structure that looked very European. There was no elevator, but as we travel by car every day, we could basically bring only necessary things to the hotel, so we only needed light luggage. In addition, since it was summer, we had less luggage. So, no elevator is not a problem for us.

We received such a lovely welcome when we arrived at our room. The macarons were so delicious. But since it was before dinner, I could only have one.

By the way, the room itself is quite normal European style, the accommodation cost itself was not so high.

Large selection of menu

The chef of this restaurant is called « Steven Naessens ». He is a very young chef from Bruges, Belgium, and he is only 35 years old.

The interior of the restaurant was very simple and mainly white without excessive decoration. But the ceiling was high and I felt very spacious. The number of tables was about 10 in total including large and small.

It seems to be a famous and popular restaurant after all. It seems to have been full of reservations on this day. I think it was almost full. It seemed that there were many customers who used the restaurant only rather than the guests.

Well, we chose our menu with an aperitif, as always.

I chose the right course, Le 8ème Péché (The Eighth Sin), a full course that was also very filling. Does that sound right? It turned out to be the most extravagant one this time. It’s true that we didn’t have time to have a satisfying lunch that day, and it may have been because we were hungry and wanted to eat a hearty meal.

Anyway, that’s nine items, which is a lot! I’ll show you the items in order with pictures.

1 dish: Araignée de Mer en émiettée à la Cardamome, Côtes de Blettes au Citron et Emulsion Corail

It translates to « Kearsigh crab, seasoned with cardamom (a type of spice), served with ripe lemon and emulsified scallop sauce ». To be honest, I was surprised to see the crab in the middle of the mountains, but it didn’t smell at all, and the fresh lemon aroma and taste were in good harmony.

2品目:Navets Nouveaux et Truffe d’Été Tuber Aestivum, Croute Briochée à la Sauge, Huile Aromatique aux Amandes Fraiches

It is a kind of summer truffle called « Tuber Aestivum », which comes from Burgundy. I’m sorry, I don’t remember the details of the flavor, but I think it had a good aroma and not too peculiar.

Third course: Foie Gras de Canard et Origan, Royale de champignon, Lard Cul Noir et Chou Rave

Next came the foie gras. The foie gras is on the bottom left of the photo. The garnish was a mushroom called royal champignon, which you can see in the upper left. And what is the one on the top? I can’t remember. From the menu, I can decipher that it’s a turnip (Rave) puff? Or Cul Noir, something made with pork lard?

I thought the foie gras was cooked very well, but I think the foie gras itself was much better than the one I had in Perigord (Dordogne). I wonder if the freshness is different.

4 items: Dos de Féra et Basilic, Haricots Rouges et Févettes, Émulsion d’Herbes

4品目はFéra というレマン湖で採れる魚を使った料理。もしかして昔レマン湖沿いにあるフランスの最も美しい村「Yvoire(イヴォワール)」に行ったときにも食べたかも。そういえばジュラ県はスイスと接していてレマン湖も近いといえば近いですね。それでも峠を超えないといけませんが。

Nevertheless, it is a beautiful gem. The French fish dishes are also really delicious. The freshness is good, and above all, the heat is exquisite. This is the skill of a professional.

Five items: Queue de Homard de Bretagne et Berce, Betterave Rouge Glacée aux Agrumes

I wondered what the main course would be, and the fifth dish was lobster. Is it the second main dish of fish dishes?

It is said to be from Brittany. It’s very tasty, but not like a regional dish. I wonder if the green grass on top of this is the same. I guess it’s an herb. As I thought in the restaurant in Loire and in Dijon, I was impressed by the use of herbaceous aroma in the restaurant I visited this time.

6 items: Entrecôte de Boeuf de Charolles et Armoise, Farcie de Chou Cabu à la Tête de Veau et Jus au Vin Rouge

And finally, finally? The meat dish appeared. Charolle beef entrecote. It’s a French beefsteak. By the way, entrecote is the opposite part of fillet, so it is also called contre-filet. It is a very luxurious dish. Armoise is so-called mugwort, Chou Cabu is cabbage, and the sauce was fond de veau and red wine sauce.

7 course: Émulsion de Cancoillotte et Vin Jaune

This was the end of the main course. Before the dessert, we were served Cancoillotte, a fromage from the Franche-Comté region. It was very refreshing and didn’t feel like a fromage. To be honest, I don’t remember how it tasted. As time goes by, I can’t help it. I have to make a note of it right then and there.

8 Item: Abricots Pochés au Sirop de Verveine

There were two desserts again this day. The first dessert was apricots, which means boiled apricots. Pochés means boiled apricots, and they are served with a flower syrup called vervain.

9. Duo de Chocolat Macaé et Thé Noir

And finally, it was a parade of chocolates. Wow, I love chocolate. The finishing touches are so artisanal and beautiful.

The last cafe

The cafe at the end of the meal was also gorgeous as you can see. Why do they still serve such a small pastry after serving two desserts? This country. It was delicious.

The wine is from the Jura.

By the way, I ordered a wine from Jura. To tell the truth, I didn’t know which domaine it was, but it seems that this fox’s ticket is from Arbois.

I looked it up on the internet, and it seems to be this wine. I didn’t know the cepage of the wine I got this time. (I should have asked properly.)

Impressed by the taste and beauty of craftsmanship

We had a full course meal that day, and we were full. I was happy to experience the wonderful craftsmanship and taste. I think this restaurant was especially beautiful in the appearance of each dish. The food was wonderful, using a lot of the local food culture and ingredients, although some of them were not local. I heard that there are many people who come all the way from abroad, and I can understand why.

However, in order to write or recall more details, I need to understand what kind of menu it is on the spot and take notes. However, to do this while having a meal there, there are still many words I don’t know and understanding is difficult. After all, the wall of language is big. Still a beginner, let’s do our best.