La Chassagnette, Arles, France

HONESTLY’S VERDICT
In a word: Food Paradise.
Food: Organic, local, and seasonal all magically crafted into delicious fresh dishes.
Service: As it should be.
Presentation: Everything was effortlessly perfect.
Ambience: The tranquil natural setting balances the activity of this busy out of town restaurant.
Location: Out of town, set in a beautifully crafted barn in a certified organic kitchen garden.
Value for money: The quality and taste of the food will leave you with such beautiful memories that you won’t remember the bill!
Worth a visit?:  Absolutely, next time you find yourself anywhere near Arles, or indeed the South of France, this is a must!  But be sure to book in advance.

Set in a renovated and extended barn, it’s grounds a stunning working organic kitchen garden in the Camargue region of the South of France, 12kms from Arles.  It’s easy to see where chef Armand Arnal gets his inspiration, and his ingredients, for the menu at the restaurant, La Chassagnette.

We dinned under a canopy of wisteria and grapevine, which shaded us from the sun on a gorgeous summers day in July on our way from Arles to Nice.  The dinning and bar area inside the barn are as beautiful as the shaded patio; simple yet stylishly decorated with walls deeply insulated by leaves – the ultimate eco-insulation!  The Aesop products in the bathrooms made me even more in love with this place.

The food:

The menu is completely seasonal, and crafted from what is available in the organic-certified kitchen garden, from local producers and the nearby Mediterranean Sea.

Honestly, I can’t remember the full details of what we ate at La Chassagnette; It was such a dreamy experience…and our meal was accompanied by champagne cocktails and a bottle of local rose.  Obviously, this is a review of the restaurant but I feel that it’s not strictly necessary for you to know exactly what we actually ate, as there would never be exactly the same menu on offer again.  What I will tell you is everything we ate and drank there was deliciously tasty and I wouldn’t hesitate to return, In fact I’d go back at any time of year just to experience La Chassagnette in another season for the different sights and tastes.

We opted out of a starter to leave room for dessert, although we happily munched our way through the platter of homemade bread and cured meat neatly presented on a chopping board that accompany our champagne cocktail.

For my main, I opted for the pork served on a bed of sweetcorn and green leaves.  The loin chop was so succulent, delicate and flavourful, which I think came from the good layer of fat to give it the flavour so often lacking factory farmed animals.  The sweetcorn just popped in your mouth and complimented the pork beautifully.

My partner in food crimes had the fish, presented on a bed of a simple tomato and onion reduction with green salad leaves fresh from the garden.

As for dessert, we couldn’t decipher the menu well enough to make a decision so we asked our waiter for advice.  He explained that they were all very different and suggested we try all four…so we followed his advice and opted for all four!  They were simply to die for.  Again, I can’t exactly remember what they were, this is my best attempt at describing them….

Raspberry éclairs topped with white chocolate and popped corn.

Nectarines and apricot compote with pistachio and biscuit crumbs (which I’m sure has a far more elegant name!).

Strawberries with shredded basil and vanilla ice cream.

A beautiful light crumble topped with a custard and served with poached fruit, decorated with honeysuckle flowers.

We finished off our desserts with pots of fresh mint tea accompanied by cookies and chocolates.  We sat back to digest and soaked up the atmosphere.

Presentation:

I just can’t fault La Chassagnette on presentation; the barn was clean, tidy, beautifully and stylish crafted.  The gardens were green, bursting with flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs, all destined to play a part in the menu.  The food was all beautifully presented without being over fussy.

The addition of a few four-legged locals and guests made the experience seem so homely and relaxed.

Pricing:

You get what you pay for at La Chassagnette; quality ingredients, locally sourced, all expertly blended into amazingly fresh, light, and ever so tasty dishes, all set in simply beautiful surroundings.  For me, It’s like being in paradise, food paradise.  I didn’t want to leave.  I’m just grateful we had the experience at La Chassagnette that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Service:

The service at Le Chassagnette was as you’d expected from a highly rated, Michelin Guide-featured restaurant.  Attentive, without being in your face; the staff were busy and had no need to hoover, ready to snatch away your plates as you scope the last morsel off your plate.  Big brownie points in my book!

Contact:

Tel: +33 490 972 696

Web: http://www.chassagnette.fr/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Chassagnette/120257334667530?sk=info

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