The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Eating too much in Saint Emilion

Another kind of prettiness!

Last weekend on a school-organized trip I went to Saint Emilion, a weeny lil' town near Bordeaux with lots of history, lots of wine, lots of caneles, and not lots of inhabitants. The sight of neverending vineyards and copious amounts of nature in general is a shocking change from Paris's army of white and gray buildings. Both environments are beautiful, but one is more likely to provide you with clean air and sunshine than the other. If that's your thing.

Saint Emilion is known for its wine, but I was mainly there for the food. In case you didn't already know, I'm not a fan of alcohol, nor do I see myself developing a taste for it in the near future (or the far future for that matter). However, I will admit that there is at least one nice thing about wine: where there's good wine, there's good food! Since I've already taken a class about wine (or alcohol in general), I wasn't really on the trip to lean more about yeast-alicious grape extract. I was there for face-stuffage.

Salad plus a chunk-o-duck liver

Our four-course lunch at L'Huîtrier Pie began with a simple salad of lettuce, tomato, corn and croutons tossed with a light, notably nasal-passage-clearing mustard-based dressing and topped with A CHUNK OF FOIE GRAS. CHUNK. FOR ME. You betcha that I finished it, unlike many of my peers. How could anyone not want to ingest the meltingly smooth, velvety, delicately savory slab of force-fed fattened goose liver...wait, did I just answer my own question? Yeah, it's definitely not nice to shove tubes into ducks' throats, but we could talk about more common and cruel practices in food production and never feel like eating again. Let's just enjoy the food for now.

I feel like chicken tonight...I mean today

Our main course was chicken in a tomato-based sauce accompanied by creamy mashed carrot and potato. I don't know how the chicken was cooked, but it was uber tender and juicy, aka "awesome", especially when chicken is prone to being bland and overcooked. The carrot mashed potato must have only had a tiny bit of carrot in it for the sake of color as you couldn't really taste it, but it did make a big difference (as in, it looks a lot better) to have an light orange plop on the plate instead of something white and pallid.

wine and bread

Of course, there was wine. I actually kind of liked it. Kind of. I wouldn't have a craving for it, but I managed to drink my entire glass of sweet white wine without feeling repulsed.


Nothing better before dessert like a SLAB-O-CHEESE. Right? ...

crème brûlée

And for my favorite part of the meal, crème brûlée. The crust was sadly very light, consisting of a mere spotting of crunchy burnt sugar as opposed to a continuous sheet of it (you can't just sprinkle weeny bits of sugar on top, fool!), but the smooth, thick pudding-like custard (as in not quite solid, not quite gloopy) was satisfying. As though I'd ever not like crème brûlée.

IMG_5261 IMG_5262
wine n stuff

Later in the afternoon we had a wine tasting course (they have them in English and French) at Vignobles & Chateaux, a modern looking wine shop (well, compared to any I've ever been in before) with a classroom on the second floor with a large crescent-shaped desks for each student, along with glasses a a spit bucket. I liked our droll instructor, who gave us a little history about the wine of the region and quickly took us through the wine tasting process (I had a wine tasting clas before, so the color observation/smell/swirl and smell/tasting and air sucking process wasn't new to me). However, before we tasted the wine he had us smell sample scents in little plastic bottlecap-sized containers (not in my photo) just to taste our sense of smell.

I couldn't smell any of them. Seriously. While my neighbor mulled over the scent of #5 or #7, I was shoving my nose in everything and thinking, "OMG WTF MY NOSE DIED." And it kinda had; my body has been in uber-mucus-overproduction mode ever since I got back from Rome (it's still in that mode today). My nose eventually did kick back into action, although I almost wished it hadn't since that meant I could smell the red wines in all their ...winey...goodness.


Sorry, I don't really like the smell of wine. It reminds me of alcohol. Fancy that.


However, there is something for everyone in Saint Emilion! Kinda! If you don't fall into the category of people who love wine, you might be one of the people who loves baked goods. There is no shortage of macarons or canelés in Saint Emilion; I found at least five shops that specialized in them. Unlike the macarons I'm used to seeing in Paris, these macarons were just the cookies without filling. They also tasted different; softer and much more almond-y. They come in packages in 24 on preforated paper in case you want to separate the cookies, but I'd just peel them off and eat em straight out of the box.

IMG_5217 IMG_5265 IMG_5267
large macaron from Matthieu Moulierac

You know how I like my food: HUGE. My large macaron from Matthieu Moulierac was soft, a bit chewy and full of almond goodness.

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I chased my mega-macaron with a canelé. While I had so far been disappointed by my canelé eating experiences in Paris, this one is totally ROBYN APPROVED for its slightly crunchy exterior that protects the soft, chewy, dense custardy innards. I'm not a fan of the rum flavor, but I can overlook it and enjoy the rest of the yumminess.


It took a lot of photoshopping to get the sunset right.

I just killed it, didn't I?

We ate dinner at Restaurant Karousel in our hotel, Kyriad Libourne. For a small hotel that felt like it was in the middle of nowhere (actually, it was in the middle of vineyards, like everything else in the area), the food was surprisingly good, or as good/better than any other restaurant. (I've been told that hotel food in France is usually good.)

salad with goat cheese tasties

Man, I love salads in France. They're always simple, yet manage to taste so good. While the golden ingredient in the previous salad was foie gras, this salad featured goat cheese topped baguette rounds with a hint of honey. The combination of soft, mellow, oozing innards, crunchy bread and slight sweetness was heaven. Really. Why can't someone make that into a huge sandwich? Would that be too indulgent?

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confit de canard

I don't think I'll ever get tired of confit de canard. Flaky meat that doesn't taste fatty (well, in the repulsive sense) despite being tenderized by its own lipids will always be welcomed by my stomach. And there goes the life of another duck for my pleasure.

nougat ice cream

We finished off the night with nougat glacé (nougat-flavored ice cream, a common French dessert) accompanied by raspberry sauce, vanilla sauce and a a drizzling of what may have been caramel sauce. Nougat glacé is another no-complaint dessert for me. It tastes like noog.

Then we went back to our rooms and collapsed from food comas.

Day 2

This entry needs to be sped up. GET READY FOR PHOTO SPLODGE:

Mm, pretty!
Also pretty!
I like dem macarons
These vineyards get in the way of everything

In the morning we took a more informative tour of Saint Emilion instead of just staring at macaron shops (well, that's what I did). The coolest part was the monolithic church carved out of a huge-ass stone that lies underneath the bell tower. They didn't allow photos inside, but it's probably for the best since photos wouldn't be able to convey how cool it is in real life. It's just...well, it's a huge. And it's carved out of a rock. Dude, that takes massive dedication. The pillars inside are surrounded by insanely heavy-duty supports (if I could think of a better word, I'd use it) to lessen the strain of the gazillion-ton bell tower above. They're trying to preserve the church in such a way so that it doesn't internally collapse (they're taking out the water by using the original medieval draining system below the church, which you can see through grates in the floor), which is likely to happen because of the aforementioned tower that sits on top.

"But don't worry; it won't collapse while we're in here," added our tour guide.


There are also a bunch of exhumed tombs inside, if that floats your boat.

wine barrels
Someone's gonna get drunk tonight!

Our first winery stop was Chateau Champion where we were treated to a tour of the facilities and a massive lunch of food and wine.

table food table + food serving dude!
table + food dood

The dining room was beautifully rustic, homey, comfortable and refined. Being served by someone dressed up in a suit makes a big difference.

first course
first course

Our first course was a salad and cold meat plate. I'm definitely a bigger fan of salad than cold meats. Ground up meats alright (terrines, sausages), but a huge, folded slice of ham isn't likely to please my tummy.

main course
main course

Our main course was a hearty plate of stewed beans and [insert a pig part that I can't identify]. My guess is that this is cassoulet, which I also ate last night (you won't be reading that entry for a while). This is a great dish if you're a lumberjack or are part of some other profession that requires manly strength and burning lots of calories. I'm pretty much the opposite of a lumberjack, but that ain't going to stop me from filling my belly with creamy-soft beans (they taste like baby angels!) in a savoury gravy and a huge chunk of tender, juicy pork (Babe is delicious!). Bad for your arteries. Good if you're freezing your ass off.

cheese anyone?
cheese platter

No, I didn't eat eight kinds of cheese. My stomach felt like it was about to pop by this point.

Red wine

Those are the wines we tried, if anyone's interested in knowing. I can't describe them besides that they taste like red wine. My taste buds do not welcome tannic-y fermented grape juice...yet...

No way, more grapes

Our final winery visit was to Chateau Laniote, where we tasted some wine and got to know the...unique owner. I mean that in a good way, but I'm glad our tour guide "warned" us that he tends to make jokes about his wife or else that may have been awkward. We could easily laugh off jokes about his wife being fat (of course, she's very slim)! Ha ha! Hehe. Nah, he was really cool and he even showed us a video documenting the whole wine-production process in his winery. The funniest parts were when semi-appropriate recognizable background music would accompany a scene; the part where the oak barrels were being fired was backed by some kind of doomsday chant-filled music, the kind that you hear in every movie trailer to heighten suspense and action and whatnot. You know what I mean, yes?

So that was awesome. And then we took the 3+ hour train ride back to Paris and plopped ourselves back into city life. I guess that's where I belong. It wouldn't suck to have a winery on the side to escape to though.


L'Huîtrier Pie
11, rue Porte Bouqueyre, 33330 Saint-Emilion

Vignobles & Chateaux
4 rue du Cloche, 33330 Saint-Emilion

Matthieu Moulierac
rue de Tertre de la Tente, 33330 Saint-Emilion

Kyriad Hotel (Restaurant Karousel)
Le Port du Noyer - Arveyres

Chateau Champion

Chateau Laniote


Micki / November 11, 2006 7:26 PM

I just want to say I LOVE your blog! It single handedly got me addicted to food blogs, and now I have a huge list of bakeries and restaurants to try in the city (I go to NYU too, and I'm going to Paris next fall!) I just got back from the chocolate show, and I saw the macaron table and it immediately made me think of you and your blog. Thanks for such a great resource!

Annie Newman / November 11, 2006 8:41 PM

Robyn, you are a riot, and the best American writer to take a food and wine tour of Bordeaux since MFK Fisher. I know what you mean about not liking the taste of wine. It's all nail polish remover to me and it upsets my stomach immediately. But OMG you can't wash down such delicious frenchified food with Yoo-Hoo, can you? (It might go well with the creme brulee). I am in awe of both salads especially the charcuterie plate. I would have eaten that slice of ham, oh yes oh yes. The cassoulet looks runnier and not as splodgy as I imagined, but I'm glad it tasted good. Keep writing, keep eating. Love the Parisist entries as well.

susannah / November 11, 2006 10:11 PM

YAAAY first comment!

Beautiful photos as usual . . those cookies in boxes are adorable, and make me want to peel them off and pop a whole bunch in my pockets, and thos beans looked soooo creamy.

I saw a Matt and Kim concert at your school on Thursday night, I'm not sure if you know of them, but NYU must have a pretty nice budget to put on random concerts in their auditoriums like that.

St. Emilion looks gorgeous, I'm kind of jealous.
Is it cold in Paris yet?

Arnaud / November 11, 2006 10:25 PM

Hi Robyn:

I'm glad you've enjoyed Saint Emilion. As a guy originally from Bordeaux now living in Paris, I visited the place several times, it's really nice.

Let me tell you that the macarons you ate in Saint Emilion are actually the original macarons. The one made in Paris with filling between them is really a fancy version of the true thing. They taste very different, but I have to admit they are both delicious.

I also love canelés, and there's only one place in Paris were you can find true canelés from Bordeaux: it's in Gare Montparnasse, in a little concession stand. They're extra fresh because they come directly from Bordeaux via TGV (that's why it's located in Montparnasse train station.)

I really enjoy your blog by the way. I love the witty humor and you take wonderful pictures. Keep up the good work!

Take care,

Adalmin / November 12, 2006 12:22 AM

Aaaah, nougat. Does that ice-cream have that essential nougaty experience of leaving your teeth stuck together for the next few hours? I love that.

I also love it when I give nougat to my friends. Watching them struggle with nougat, jaws a-clamped, makes my heart sing. With glee!

roboppy / November 12, 2006 12:58 AM

Micki: Thanks for reading! I hope reading food blogs doesn't take up too much of your life. It's freakishly addictive. :O That's so awesome you're at NYU and will be studying in Paris next fall (ooh, if only it were this fall!). If you discover good NYC eats you'll have to let me know.

Annie: Annie, you're too generous! But that's okay. [soaks in complements] ;)

Yes, you understand my lack of wine lovin'! I feel weird even after taking just one sip of red wine. [shudders] Makes me wonder what it's doing to my body.

I really want to accompany a French meal with Yoo-Hoo now. You're giving me weird cravings! Stoppit!

Ivan: Thanks! The village is uber picturesque.

I think the food is pretty all the time, haha. I wouldn't say it was VERY fancy, but definitely not roadside grub. Comfortably fancy.

Ooh, and last night umami said hi to me for you. ;) Thanks, I feel cared for!

Susannah: Oh no, I'm afraid my comment approval queue made your comment the fourth, not the first, but you're the first person to say "first comment" so YAY!

I love how cute the cookies are on the paper sheets. Peeling is satisfying. Unless it's your own dead skin. ...I don't know why that was the first thing I thought up of.

I don't know about Matt & Kim, but I saw the Decemberists at NYU and stupidly missed the free Shins concert there two years ago. Yeah, methinks they do have a nice budget. Or at least feel the need to get popular stuff.

Yup, it's cold here. I think that's how I got sickly. :( Bleech.

Arnaud: Ahh, I ate the originals! That makes sense...someone had to make those cookies before deciding, "Hey, I'm gonna make a sammich outta this" (that's probably not what they said since they wouldn't have spoken English or sounded that dumb) and making that version of the macaron famous all over. They are both SO GOOD, OH MAN.

Ahh, I've heard of Baillardran! Thanks for letting me know. I think I saw the stand when I was at the station, but it was 7:15 AM. Too early for caneles...(sigh)

Ohh, but I've been told that Pierre Herme is the best place to get a canele; I'll have to compare them!

I'm glad you enjoy my blog! I'm glad to see that some French people have found they're way here and don't mind reading the viewpoint of a silly American student getting all googly eyed over bakeries.

Adalmin: I'm afraid the nougat doesn't have jaw-gluing properties. If you want that, you'll just have to add glue to your ice cream. Which I wouldn't recommend. Unless you're giving the ice cream to an enemy, in which case it's okay. (But you seen to get a lot of joy out of watching your friends suffer as well..hmmm!)

Pam / November 12, 2006 1:12 AM

Hi, I don't even remember how I came upon your blog but I am proud to say that I am addicted!!
Your pictures and stories are so entertaining. You've opened my eyes to a whole world of yummy new things to be devoured!!! I want a macaroon sooo bad. I live in a small city (in comparison to where you live and places you visit)and reading your blog has awakened this need for travel.. I'm 5 months pregnant and most likely will not be going anywhere anytime soon lol
I've also been reading "dessert comes first" and was excited that you two met up there... neat. It's funny bcuz Lori's next post is titled "meeting Robyn"... Thanks Robyn and please keep posting. You have become one of my favorite sites!!!

Yummie dummieS / November 12, 2006 1:21 AM

That's such a beautiful little town! n even more fabulous food you've got there! The macaroons without fillings look so good I wonder how they taste like cause I haven't tried those without fillings before. Btw, really nice site!

Brian / November 12, 2006 1:42 AM

"creamy-soft beans (they taste like baby angels!)"

Maybe Michelin will use that quote in their next review.

(I've been lurking for about a year and this is the first time I've been prompted to comment. Here's to eating the flesh of angel babies!)

Rose / November 12, 2006 5:50 AM

"face-stuffage" and "SLAB-O-CHEESE"...nothing better than seeing Robyn food photos with Robyn speech :-)

Fauchon Junkie / November 12, 2006 7:29 AM

Hi Robyn:

Glad to see your still up to no good of the gluttonous pursuasion.

Remember when we didn't like the french a few years ago? Over something like...oh I can't remember...oh yes. The War. Anyway. Food. So my colleague at that time was marrying a french girl who wanted us to like her. So she brought us all 1kg logs of foie gras (approx calorie count 1 google to the 10th power) as a peace offering. Forget liking her. I wanted her to adopt me.

Back to the point of writing. I noticed a large piece of blood sausage on your plate o' sliced meats. What did you think of it? I like to think of myself as not having any foods I don't like, but I never got a taste for blood sausage. Or is it just that I have only had bad blood sausage.

600 million English and Frenchman over centuries couldn't all be wrong? Not even counting the Irish and Scots. And Welsh. (I also ramble in the middle of the night, in case you couldn't tell)

eunice / November 12, 2006 7:38 AM

haha, I just love your choice of words for describing food: beans tasting like baby angels and delicious Babe. You bring food writing to a new level! ;)

Rhi / November 12, 2006 8:10 AM

I keep wanting to try confit de canard, but it's just a little hard to get here in Milwaukee. As for the photoshopped's still pretty. Don't worry about it.

roboppy / November 12, 2006 3:42 PM

Pam: Hooray for blog addiction! I'm honored. :)

Ooo, congrats on your pregnancy! (I think that's the right thing to say...I mean..YAY, BABIES?!)

I can't wait to see what Lori says about me. IT'S ABOUT TIIIME! (She's a busy bee.)

Yummie dummieS: You could probably make the unfilled macarons. Yum! Chewy! Almond..y! Maybe I'll try to make em when I go home.

Brian: I've never eaten a baby angel, so I don't know for sure that the beans taste like em...but hey, neither does anyone else. Bwahaha.

Thanks for de-lurking!

Fauchon Junkie: Heey I was cool with the French a few years ago. :) But if pretending to not like em results in a gift of foie gras, then...uh..BOO, FRENCH, gimmeduckliver.

I thought the blood sausage tasted pretty good. Not...bad at least. No strange taste that I could discern. Nothing I'd dream of eating again though.

Eunice: Whether the new level is good is debatable. I do like talking about eating angels though. So tasty.

Rhi: I never had confit de canard until I came here. I think they come in cans though...perhaps I can get you one? I should buy one and see how good it tastes.

Albany Jane / November 12, 2006 3:46 PM

I'm kind of the opposite with cold meats - I'm okay with meat slices, but ground meats are a little iffy.

I didn't even know nougat ice cream existed!

Tina / November 12, 2006 7:08 PM

As usual, I absolutely love your blog! Saint Emilion looks very quaint and peaceful. Probably I would move there if I retire, surrounded by the good food, wine and away from the chaos of the city.

Ooh, I just wrote about the Chocolate Show and I saw only one table/booth that sold macarons! A light bulb went off in my mind and it shouted "Robyn!" Unfortunately, I didn't buy one. :( But I left with a belly full of chocolate.

Janice / November 12, 2006 8:40 PM

Hi Robyn,

I have to say it again, I really enjoy reading your blog. This entry put a smile on my face :).

Beautiful photos of Saint Emilion. The winery tour sounds interesting. Now I have a reason to visit Saint Emilion. Cheese anyone? Me! Me!

Rhi / November 13, 2006 3:40 PM

I didn't know it came in cans. Huh. If you do bring some back (for me or not), don't forget to check if they let you do that in customs. I know I couldn't bring meat back from the UK.

redrhino / November 13, 2006 6:22 PM

Hey Rob!

Can I call you Rob? I mean ,it's not like this is my first comment or anything :7). I just wanted to ask why no pictures of the Dentist visits? I would have liked to see the office building, exam-room, maybe even the HOT receptionist (who was prolly all of 65 yrs with steely eyes and a frown *sigh,I guess all french woman can't be hot) Any hoo, I'm glad you are having a great time in France and are in no danger of becoming an alcoholic. Yay.


bev_ny / November 13, 2006 6:48 PM

St. Emilion looks like a very pretty town -- would a day trip from Paris be enough or does it warrant a whole weekend?

Miranda / November 13, 2006 9:17 PM

Oh man...have you ever read the book Fantastic Mister Fox by Roald Dahl (btw, did you know he was born in Norway? I know you love them weegies). Well, one of the characters in it mashes up duck and goose livers and puts them inside of pastries, and you totally remind me of that! Except that goose liver doughnuts is actually incredibly unappealing...or an idea so crazy that it actually might work!

Anyway, love the photos, love the random descriptions, love keeping up to date on your crazy adventures in food.

roboppy / November 13, 2006 10:40 PM

Albany Jane: AHh, ground meat is definitely iffy...deliciously iffy.

I didn't know it existed either until now! Suhweeet.

Tina: If I retired to St. Emilion, I'd get VERY FAT. Mm [rubs belly].

I love that I'm so frequently associated with macarons now. :) And I hope your belly full of chocolate didn't make you sick! That's happened to me.

Janice: Thank you! The winery tour is pretty cool. I still dream about macarons and caneles though. :)

Rhi: Ohh crap, I forgot about the customs thing. I checked the website and it gave me the impression that NO CANS OF DUCKIE ARE ALLOWED. However, people smuggle stuff in...if they really want. One of my professors who's from Rome said he smuggled a dried sausage in his luggage once. We were all like "Ooooh", but he said he had to do it. JUST HAD TO. For the sake of dried tasty meats.

Red: Rob is perfectly fine! As for photos at the dentist, I was kinda..uh...thinking about my teeth at the time. And BIG ASS NEEDLES NEAR MY MOUTH. The office didn't have a receptionist actually. It's tiny! Ehe.
bev_ny: I think it should be a weekend thing; you get to relax a little more. And if you're anything like me, you'll be totally pooped from the train ride.

Miranda: I read that book, but not since I was...littler. Must've been more than a decade ago. Methinks I should break out the Dahl books when I go home (Wikipedia says he wasn't born in Norway...but it is wikipedia).

Goose liver donut, nooo!!

More craziness is a-comin. I'm so backlogged, noooo.

Miranda / November 15, 2006 12:41 AM

Blargh. I googled Roald Dahl again. His parents were from Norway, but I guess he was born in Wales. He just visited Norway a lot. Man! Score one for Wikipedia I guess.

Anyway, I know you're backlogged, but look at how many people connect with you! Seriously, it's amazing. Although I definitely think I eat more when I read your blog...which could be a bad thing, or a good thing (if I'm inspired to eat awesome food like macarons).

roboppy / November 15, 2006 12:55 AM

Mort: It is goood. Doesn't it make ye wanna come back? MM?

Sara: Oh no, that word porn will keep me out of corporate Internet networks everywhere!...oh well.

Kathy: I tried one of their caneles too! And I didn't like it!

Miranda: WIKI KNOWS ALL. Possibly. :)

I eat more when I WRITE my blog. Oh crap.

miss beancurd / December 4, 2006 8:55 PM

Have you ever tried seared foie gras? b/c that's my favorite form of foie gras. I've never seen it in a salad like that- that's definitely something new to me.

cheese + honey + bread = heaven!

A lot of my friends aren't fans of wine either, but I am. St. Emilion sounds (and looks) fab!

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