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Monday, July 11, 2011

Chimay... the food

I promised in my first post about Chimay that I'd be back with more about the food we discovered there.  Well, promise fulfilled.

If I recall correctly, the first food we had on arrival at the Auberge de Poteaupr√© was - dun da na na - the cheese.  Not only was it the first food we tried, but the first food we smelled.  On walking in the front door, the aroma of cheese rind was in the air.  Kinda fousty, but in a pleasant way.  Unless you don't like cheese.  In that case, you probably shouldn't read this post.  Anyway, I began salivating immediately.

After freshening up, we sauntered down to the restaurant.  First item of business:  selecting one of the Chimay Trappist beers.  I chose Chimay Red, a somewhat dark beer that was fruity, spicy, and served in a beautiful goblet.

IMG_0404

While selecting a beer from the Auberge menu, I happily noted that each beer was paired with a cheese, also made by the Trappist monks across the road to my right.  Across the field to my left was a herd of dairy cows.  I knew this was going to be good cheese!

Thanks for the cheese, gals!

Our group was up for trying ALL the cheeses.  Luckily, samples were on the menu.

cheese board

[clockwise from top left:  cheese board, Grand Cru, A la Biere, Vieux Chimay, Grand Classique, Le Poteaupr√©]

I'm not going to pretend that I can critique the cheese and beer pairing.  My palate is not that refined!  They all went well together, in my opinion.  The cheese was delicious.  It ranged from creamy and smooth (Classique and A la Biere) to mild and firm (Vieux Chimay) and finally (my favorites) to smoky and rich (Le Poteaupr√© and Grand Cru).  If there is a specialty cheese shop near you, I'd have a look for any of these cheeses the next time you're in.

When the cheese had vanished from the board, leaving nothing but a pile of toothpick-flags, we moved on to selecting our mains.  I couldn't resist the pan-fried local trout:

Trout

The trout was simple and fresh with a crispy skin and a perfectly-cooked, flaky-but-moist interior.  It reminded me of going fishing with ski poles with my dad when we were kids.  We'd take the fish home, flour, and pan-fry them.  Except we would usually behead the fish before cooking it...

Mike went for heavier fare.  Homemade meatballs.  All smothered in cheese.  Meatballs big enough to plant a flag in:

On top of old smokey...

Oh, that cheese sauce... (I'm obviously drooling right now).  I dipped a few frites in it, not gonna lie.  Imagine a saltier, smokier, creamier Hollandaise sauce and you'd be close.  It also had bacon in it.  Yeah, it did.

Do you see why the food needed it's own post?  And this was just one evening!  We had an equally fabulous dinner the next night.  I'm telling you, this Auberge is the place to go in Belgium.

Until next time!