TASTE OF SAVOUR – JOANN PAI
The entrance to Clos des Sens displays part of the herb garden, where they grow 40 different types of herbs. Intrigued by what they had, I circled the property for a look. They even grow their own schezuan peppers!
The garden continues to the back of the property, where I spotted a cook collecting herbs in preparation for dinner service. With a focus on local ingredients, including herbs grown on property, seafood from 3 neighboring lakes (Annecy, Geneva, Bourget), mountain cheeses, chef Laurent Petit gives your senses a tour of this magnificent region.
I check into my cozy room, where I sat by the fire and flipped through Petit’s cookbook in anticipation of tonight’s dinner. The room was equipped with a hot tub but I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and head to the pool for a quick swim.
Worked up an appetite and relaxed in their Nordic style hot tub.
As I entered the dining room, the golden light poured into the space. I watched the remainder of the sun set over Lake Annecy while enjoying an aperitif of water infused with pine needles. The wood panels that make up the walls of the dining room are larch, spruce, and ash, the three types of local trees, and sculptured with fire, an ancient Japanese technique to preserve wood.
Dinner service began with amuse bouches that help set the premise of the meal- local products, connected to nature. Perch 2 ways, delicate and fried, fera with its caviar, and ‘les aromates’, 30 different herbs from their garden to freshen your palette.
We were presented with live crayfish that were caught earlier in the day. One of chef Petit’s signature dish is crayfish 5 ways. Delicate, yet flavorful, that through this dish, you can taste his creativity, technique, and dedication to bring out the best of these ingredients.
Trout in poutargue broth of Monkfish, topped with Beluga lentils.
Followed by fera torched with chicken juice glaze. Chef Petit explained that typically in French meals, the main course concludes with meat, thus he used chicken glaze on fish for a similar effect.
Possibly my favorite part of any French meal, and this one was epic: a cheese cart with 30- 40 cheeses from the region. One that particularly stood out is the bleu de termignon. The meal concluded with 3 more desserts. I barely managed to roll myself back into my room.
After a restful night, I slowly wake up and head downstairs for breakfast. It consisted of regional products – viennoiserie, yogurt, homemade jams, ham, cheeses, seasonal fruits. This was the perfect send off.
A big thank you to the talented Chef Petit, and his wife Martine for such a memorable meal.