A convivial spot for lunch in Troyes.
I try to make a habit of little out-of-town excursions to see art exhibitions, the sort of one-day break that is worth several days’ holiday. These jaunts can take me as far …
Friendly, unpretentious crew
Well-sourced food and wine
On the noisy side when the house is full
I try to make a habit of little out-of-town excursions to see art exhibitions, the sort of one-day break that is worth several days’ holiday. These jaunts can take me as far afield as Bruges or Brussels, which is as close (in time) to Paris as Troyes and its famed andouillettes. The latter was the destination of my most recent foray beyond the périphérique, the beltway circling Paris to see a superb exhibition of late high-Gothic religious sculpture, “Le Beau 16e.”
In France, the words “andouillette” and “Troyes” go together like “Idaho” and “potatoes” in the United States. Andouillette is made in many other parts of the country, of course, since they are made from pig guts, and pig and potatoes were poor people’s staple food in the French countryside until the mid-20th century, but Troyes is especially well-known for its version of this chitterling sausage.
Needless to say, an andouillette was de rigueur for our lunch in Troyes at Aux Crieurs de Vin, an agreeable wine bar with a rustic decor of mismatched furniture, posters and empty wine bottles. The andouillette was as good as they get, but it came after a stonking plate of Spanish charcuterie, so I had a hard time going the full distance. I did though, for the sake of my readers, even stretching a point to trying the house organic yogurt and honey as a dessert.
The other starter was simplicity itself: a peeled, roasted tomato stuffed with albacore tuna and capers: I shall make it for myself, as the very next day I stumbled across a recipe for the self-same thing in Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian Cookbook, my bedtime reading of choice at the minute. All you need is good tinned tuna and a ripe legacy tomato.
The other main course – a generous salade Ibérique – involved still more charcuterie, with layers of excellent Serrano ham, chorizo and roasted peppers atop a pile of leaves. Follow that up with a light, scrumptious bitter cherry clafoutis, and you have a recipe for a long siesta. The trick at Aux Crieurs is not to order the classic three-course lunch, but to be very selective and find some food to pair with the wine, which is what you should be going there for.
They do the by-now usual thing of letting you take a bottle off the shelf and serving it at table for a mere €6 corkage fee. Far more interesting is to explore their generous selection of wines by the glass, which we did, at great length. They are long on the wines of Catherine and Pierre Breton, my favorite winemakers of the moment, so we began with their still Vouvray and ended with the sparkling La Dilettante. We also sampled the Binners’ 2002 Muscat, which I could get addicted to; an amazingly supple and fruity 2007 Dard and Ribo Crozes Hermitage; and a show-stopping Clos du Tue-Boeuf Cheverny. It says a lot for organic wines that we both sashayed back to the exhibition and had no sign of anything like a hangover from what was a risky mixing of drinks.
Aux Crieurs de Vin: 4, place Jean Jaurès, 10000 Troyes. Tel.: 03 25 40 01 01. Open for lunch and dinner (until 10 p.m.). Closed Sunday and Monday. A la carte: around €25*.
* three courses, not including wine
© 2009 Paris Update
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