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Jardin Sauvage a.k.a. Nancy's Fungus Fest


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I am surprised that I have yet to see any comments about last week's menu degustation at A la Table des Jardins Sauvage. Sold out the week before Susan Semenak's aseptic article hit the Gazette (does SS actually have any passion about food?), getting a table at this event required knowing someone in touch with Nancy’s blog, the Jardins Sauvage web site, or who has frequented the restaurant. With ~40 seats, and one seating, with all courses being served to all guests at the same time, showing up on time for the 7:00 seating is important. How I managed to get my perpetually late spouse to arrive on time was nothing short of a miracle... Perhaps it was the fact that the directions state that the drive from Montreal is 1Hour 15minutes, whereas it was truly closer to 45 minutes without traffic.

I confess, I would love nothing more than to have the time to go foraging for mushrooms. Unfortunately, trying to schedule time with an experienced mushroom hunter, at the right time of the year, and the fact that most mushroom hunters will never divulge their secret haunts, means that dining on a menu degustation of mushrooms is the next best option. I just don’t have the courage to wander the forests with a guide book at my side, hoping that those cute little red mushrooms with the white polka dots are not toxic. Like flying a plane, I figured it would be best leaving the driving to experienced pilots. ... which the team of Francois and Nancy do amazingly well.

So, what was served.... Glad you asked...

Puff ball and sanglichon sausage with black trumpet mushrooms, porcini duxelles ‘en gelée’, wild ginger mustard

Shaggy-mane and yellow-brown boletus soup, lemon cream with a hint of coffee

Lobster and lobster mushroom fricassée, with sea spinach in a cattail flour crepe,

sea asparagus, sautéed chanterelles and corn

Crisp autumn vegetable salad with boletus insignia scented oil, pickled honey mushroom, smoked duck, arugula, toasted almonds, Fetard cheese, wild grape ‘balsamic’

Roasted venison with mushroom salt crust, Smooth lepiota risotto, sautéed hedgehog mushrooms, morel sauce, wild oyster mushroom tempura

Boletus aurantiacus and cider milk-shake, Tricholomba shortbread

Larch boletus and chocolate cake, Fairy-ring mushroom butter-scotch sauce,

coconut and agaric mushroom chip

Mushroom caramel candies

The question should be, what was NOT served. Every dish was expertly executed, and beautifully presented. At our table, our favourites were the Mushroom soup, the Lobster Fricassee, and the gelee of Porcini Duxelles, although everything was amazing.

I forgot how nice it is to dine on food made with passion. Unlike many restaurant meals that are static items on a menu, and made with machine precision, it is clear that a lot of thought and testing went into developing this menu. Considering the limited numbers of seating’s for this event, and the work that goes into the foraging, preparation, plating, and serving this menu, the ratio of effort to gain is clearly tipping much more in the favour of effort, than would be the case for most establishments.

The passion for food at a la table des Jardins Sauvage is evident in every bite.

Rounding out the experience was some of the best table staff I have seen in a while, and Francois making the rounds introducing each table to the subjects of each course with their whole ‘as found in the wild’ specimen on a large platter. Not only was dinner an exploration of flavours, but we all walked away with an education.

Despite the seven courses, the portions were of a just perfect quantity, that you did not walk away feeling bloated, but well satiated.

Chatting with Nancy after dinner, I confirmed my suspicions, Nancy is has a severe obsession with food, which in fact, as I see it, is a good thing..... As I too, am afflicted with the same condition.

I also was introduced to wild ginger, which I am now obsessed with... Now I know where the taste of Thrills Gum comes from....

Veni. Vidi. Voro.

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Shoot...wish I had known about that... but thanks for the heads up! Been meaning to go there for a long time.

Ok so how does it work with the other menus? They seem to be from 2006 on the site.

Do you need to be a group that is larger than 2?

They don't take cards but want to 25 % deposit with reservation?

English speaking?


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Here's the deal..

As for the mushroom event, we added a weekend (November 9-11), but there are only a few spots still left on Sunday the 11th (lunch).

Besides that, the rest of the year, we operate mainly on the weekend with a regular menu of five courses featuring wild plants, mushrooms and game, 55$ BYOW, and the menu changes every week. You can see the last 10 menus on the site; they are up to date. Yes, you can come only 2 (people), Saturday is the day - when we are always open because the demand is there, otherwise we open for groups of 10 or more any night (so then you can add on also). The 25% deposit thing is just to scare people into taking their reservations seriously - we rarely enforce it except for large groups. When you ask about English, well.. we are anglo friendly (afterall I am one), however François, the owner and host doesn't speak English, so much of the elaborate descriptions and storytelling takes place in French, but some of the waitresses speak English, and good food and ambiance makes all that irrelevant, we hope..

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