Visit date: July 19-21, 2017, 2 nights
French speaking countries have better food!
Belgium is divided into two main parts. In the north, Dutch is the official language, and in the south, French. In the south, the language is French. As for the food culture, the Catholic-French speaking south is definitely better!
The Wallonia region, located in the south of Belgium, also has great food. And there are many hotel-restaurant auberges scattered around. Sometimes you can find such auberges in beautiful villages. There is a Michelin-starred auberge in the village of Tournai, which I introduced last time, but there is also a Michelin-starred auberge in the village of Aul, which is about an hour northwest by car from there. We wanted to stay at either of them, and after worrying about the efficiency of our visit, we decided to choose the Auberge in Oulu. We took the plunge and stayed two nights. We decided to enjoy two days of delicious food here.
So, most of this village introduction will be about the restaurants lol. So, I’ll introduce the village a little bit at the beginning. But there was not much to see. This is the only photo I took.
Auberge in the most beautiful village
By the way, can we say that auberge is a facility where a hotel and a restaurant are together? In Europe, there are not so many chain restaurants as in Japan, so basically many accommodation facilities have a restaurant attached. The Michelin Guide was originally a hotel guide for regional travel, but since most of these hotels have restaurants, it was necessary to include restaurant evaluations in the hotel evaluations, and it seems that the restaurant guide became famous on its own.
Even though these days we tend to stay in larger towns for the nightlife (especially the food), we did visit many beautiful villages and occasionally stayed in hotels with restaurants or auberges in beautiful villages.
Now, this is the auberge we used this time.
La Table de Maxime
However, this auberge is very popular not only because of the reputation of the restaurant, but also because of its convenient location by car. So we couldn’t get a room in the hotel. Instead, we went to a restaurant run by the same person about 1.5km away from the village of Oulu.
Les Jardins de Maxime
I was introduced to the To get to the restaurant (because we drink wine!) I can’t wait to not have to walk to the village instead of driving, but the facility itself was very pleasant.
Restaurants are used for two consecutive days
Basically, restaurants like this have a la carte menu, but the menu is decided by season or by month. Of course, this menu is the most recommended by the chef and the best value for money, but it’s a bit awkward to order the same thing two days in a row.
However, the restaurant was very thoughtful there and suggested that they could offer us a different recommendation for the same price as the previous day’s menu.
So, first of all, the first day’s menu (part of it).
And here’s the second day.
On each day, we also ordered a course of wine to go with our meal. Mostly French wines, but all good! And instead of one glass of each, you get an extra pour when your glass is low. And there are more than four different types. If you get carried away and drink too much, you’ll get drunk, so you should think about your pace.
Of course, it’s hard to remember when so many wines are served. But I was relieved because the sommelier let me take a picture of the etiquette each time.
By the way, the most impressive wine was a dessert wine called « Vin doux natural » which we were shown after dinner on the second day. This is a wine with natural sweetness, which is often made around Languedoc in France.
The only dessert wines I’ve ever heard of are noble rot wines, Eiswein, and a slightly different type of port wine, but I liked this Vin d’Haut Naturelle more than those wines at first. I’d like to make it a permanent fixture in our house. (Actually, I bought it when I went to France in September after this.
JRE, a group made up of young chefs
By the way, the chef of this restaurant, Maxime, seems to belong to JRE (Jeune Restaurant), which is an organization consisting of young and talented chefs in Europe.
There was a booklet like this in the restaurant.
This is a site that I will refer to greatly when I travel to Europe in the future. In fact, when I went to Switzerland in September 2017, I found a restaurant in one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland where the chef belonging to this organization, JRE, was doing kirimomi. We had lunch there and it was very wonderful.
It was more of a restaurant introduction than a beautiful village introduction.