Iconic Château du Clos de Vougeot publishes a unique cook- book – Coffee Table Book Review n° 5
By Annick Dournes & Frédéric de Poligny
“At the Château du Clos de Vougeot: Bon appétit et large soif “ is the complete and pretty long title of a newly edited cookbook. It means “Bon appétit and enjoy a good drink” and is made to make us, mere mortals, share the joyful atmosphere and rich food of the gala dinners held sixteen times each year in the prestigious Château du Clos de Vougeot. Let’s catch a rare glimpse of these exclusive feasts!
The story of these gala dinners called “Châpitres”, (Chapters), began in 1944 when the “Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin’ decided to invite 600 of its members for a memorable festive dinner. This “Knights Brotherhood of Tastevin” is a private club with about 12,000 members throughout the world. The “Châpitres” are good occasions for members to meet and share a gastronomic dinner in a jolly atmosphere. Heads of state, royals, captains of industry, diplomats, men of letters, artists, scientists and Michelin-starred chefs are the lucky ones invited to these dinners. Since the brotherhood is not to increase the number of its members and since the crowd of unknown is not invited, this cookbook unable us to discover this French art de vivre as well as 44 recipes especially created for these Châpitres.
Burgundy wines were born at Clos de Vougeot in the 12th century thanks to Cistercian monks. Being keen observers of nature they were able to identify the right grape varieties and the different “terroirs” of the area. There are today 1,247 “terroirs” called “climats” in Burgundy. The landscapes created by the monks and all the following generations of local wine-makers, are now listed in the World Heritage List by UNESCO. The chateau is surrounded by 55 hectares of vineyards belonging to 83 different wine-makers, each one making is own wine. They all are “Grands Crus” and are great wines to keep. An exceptional vintage will still be at its best 50 years after having been made!
Sorry, the 2 photos below belongs to the French edition, this is why the texts are in French. But of-course the texts of the English edition are fully written in English!
“Bon appétit et large soif” are the traditional words welcoming the lucky guests invited at the gala dinners. Although they all wear an evening dress or a tuxedo the atmosphere is relaxed and everyone intends to have a good time, singing, laughing out loud, eating and… drinking Burgundy wines. Through the years famous Michelin-starred chefs from around the world have joined the chateau’s chef to concoct a four-handed menu and celebrate the undisputed Burgundy hospitality. As true guardians of French and Burgundian culinary traditions they reinvent gourmet recipes, updating them to contemporary tastes. A new chef, Stephane Ory, is in charge of the château’s cuisine since the beginning of 2020. This talented chef has learned his way in prestigious Parisian restaurants such as Taillevent , Jamin with Joel Robuchon or Pré Catelan with Frédéric Anton. You can enjoy his cuisine at “La Table de Léonce”, the Michelin awarded restaurant of the château.
“At the Château du Clos de Vougeot, Bon appétit et large soif” is a beautiful hardcover book telling us this centuries long story. The photos are superb helping us imagine the vineyards, the castle, the festive atmosphere and this unique world of traditions. The second part, equally beautifully illustrated, is the actual cookbook presenting 44 recipes and their wine pairing. Salmon cannelloni with caviar paired with a white Puligny-Montrachet, Fricassee Burgundy snails with Montagny, iconic Eggs with Meurette sauce with red Côte-d’Or, Beef filet en croute with morels with Nuit Saint-Georges Grand Cru, Apple Tarte Tatin with Burgundy Crémant… all so deliciously tempting!
The book is available in English. You can buy it in good bookshops and also on the Château du Clos de Vougeot website at https://www.closdevougeot.fr/en/product/135/livre-bon-appetit-et-large-soif
Enjoy the reading and bon appétit!
Text ©Annick Dournes
The images ©MatthieuCellard, by courtesy of Glénat Editions
The image ©JLBernuy, by courtesy of of Beaune Tourisme