We don’t typically eat lunch in a castle but as part of celebrating our 33rd anniversary we wanted to do something special. By chance the Toqués D’Oc dining experience had a stop in Carcassonne last weekend and Bill got the tickets as soon as they went on sale. I had to brush up on French cooking terminology to understand what we would be eating and even to translate the name of the event. I thought chefs wore hats but here they are called toqués and I knew for sure that D’Oc was short for “of Occitanie” meaning that it was all about our region that stretches from the Mediterranian Sea almost to the Atlantic Ocean. The impressive lineup of chefs included three names that we recognized including a local celebrity, pastry chef Rémi Touja, who was awarded Champion of France for his work just before settling in Carcassonne.
The setting for this prestigious meal was Château de Pennautier built just outside of town in 1620. Two years later when King Louis XIII visited the castle he left behind his traveling furniture now on display in one of the castle’s rooms as a National Monument. When the son of owner, Bernard Reich, inherited the property he hired the architect of Versailles, Le Vau, to add wings to the original building to make it more impressive.
It was in the Orangerie wing that tables for 10 were set up and we spent a most enjoyable 3 hours with table mates from here and from about an hour away in Toulouse. The five-course meal, each paired with an appropriate wine, consisted of:
- Brittany langoustines with tête de veau, crustacean broth infused with wasabi root, enokis mushrooms, mango and quail eggs. Wine: Cuvée Marquis de Pennautier 2015, IGP Oc, Château de Pennautier
- Panzanella (Tuscan tomato salad) and fennel cream. Wine: Cuvée Diane 2018, AOC Cabardès, Maison Ventenac
- Filet of cod in crustacean sauce with risotto and Italian sweet and sour agrodolce, Wine: Cuvée Toques et Clochers 2016, AOC Limoux, Sieur d’Argues
- Veal roll, almond mushroom duxelle, parmesan egg tart. Wine: Cuvée la Serre 2015, AOC Corbières-Boutenac, Famille Fabre
- Strawberries dressed with thick cream and verbena served on a soft cookie plus red fruit sorbet. Cuvée Rêve de Pennautier 2012, Château de Pennautier
- Coffee from local roaster Roméro
So Bill, what’s for dinner?
The Toqués d’Oc organization: http://www.toquesdoc.fr/
Château de Pennautier: https://www.lorgeril.wine/histoire-et-architecture/#