We went for dinner at L'Oree du Bois on the weekend. I'd never been before. Daphne had talked about it for years. Nestled in Gatineau Park, it was always a bit of a hike to get to, so there were always excuses why we didn't got. But with the holidays approaching a trip was organized to go. It was described to me as sort of a French Canadian version of Daphne Lodge. For those of you who made the trip to the wedding, you now know what that means. It is a short drive out of town in a lodge type building. Warm, friendly. Family run. They even had a little bar area like what Daphne's parents call the Well, as well as separate private rooms for parties.
Dinner began with a platter of little bits of duck. You have to love the duck shaped platter. On the platter was a little pot of duck rillettes, foie gras, duck pate, smoked duck and duck gizzard. It was kind of crazy. To pick a favourite thing off this plater, I'm not sure I could. The rillettes, foie gras and pate were all fantastic, but I think it is a close call between the gizzard and the smoked duck breast. It was a heavy smoke that kind of took you to the campfire, while the gizzard was a great surprise. All delicious. All had with a glass of their hard cider, it was fantastic. I loved having the hard cider instead of a really sweet wine. Following the hard cider, we had a bottle of Domaine de Bellivière, a white wine from France.
For my starter I opted to have the mushrooms and escargot fricassee. It came with a rich cream sauce and just a little bit of puff pastry. I loved the dish. Heavy and rich. It was pretty intense. A little like the mushroom and escargot dish at Vittoria Trattoria, only better.
I had the braised rabbit with blueberry and black peppercorn for my main course. I've been thinking about cooking rabbit for a couple of weeks now. In Vancouver, I never saw rabbit in the butcher shops, but I have seen it in several shops here and really want to give it a try. So when I saw it on the menu, I thought I would give it a go. I don't want to say it taste like chicken, but it sort of did. Dark meat, not white meat to be sure. But a little like chicken thighs. Braised in a beautiful way and covered in blueberry sauce, it was oh so good. It was a little on the salty side, but I loved it. To drink we had the Osoyoos Larose, a Bordeaux style red wine. It was fantastic. I loved having the B.C. wine out here in Quebec.
Dessert was a tasting platter designed for us by the kitchen. Starting at the 12 o'clock position is a pistachio egg nog shot. Friggin brilliant, but still only the second best thing on the plate. Loved it. To the right, a marscapone cheese made by the restaurant with. Also great. Rich. Creamy. The little cherry and raspberry they put on the dish with the cheese were a great play against the richness of the cheese. After that the chocolate mouse. What can I say about chocolate mousse that hasn't already been said about everything else on the plate. At the bottom of the plate were three chocolates that were made in house. Two were plain dark chocolate, the third filled with a delicious caramel. And finally, what I thought was the best thing on the plate. A maple ice cream on a bed of what they called maple cream. It was easily my favourite dessert on the plate. Paired with it was a bottle of Domaine de la Ferriere. It was sort of like port, but not as heavy. Sweet, but not sticky like port can be. Lovely with the chocolate. Dinner at L'Oree du Bois was fantastic. I can't believe I had never been. It was an excellent meal and little excursion out to the restaurant. If you're looking for a nice meal and something a little different. Make the trip. It really isn't all that far.
L'Oree du Bois. 15 chemin Kingsmere. Chelsea, Que. 819-827-0332.