La Ferme de la Ruchotte

Lieu Dit la Ruchotte

21360 Bligny sur Ouche

Bourgogne, France

Tel. 33 3 80 20 04 79

The Food:

Gougères

Pâté Croûte aux Légumes (vegetable pâté in crust)

Maigre de Ligne, jambon cru, basilic (line-caught meagre, raw ham, basil)

Volaille Rôtie, légumes grillés (roasted chicken with vegetables)

Fromage (cheese)

Nage de fraise sureaux et angélique sable, sorbet fraise yaourt (elderberry nage, strawberry yogurt ice cream, angélique sable)

The Wines:

2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Roulot Bourgogne Blanc

89

2017 Domain Sylvain Pataille Marsannay Clos du Roy

92

Sunday lunch. I admit I don’t slow down and take the time to enjoy a leisurely meal over several hours as often as I should. This recent lunch La Ferme de la Ruchotte was a poignant reminder of just how enjoyable some of the simpler things in life can be.

Located about 20 minutes outside of Beaune, La Ferme de la Ruchotte is a small, fully working, organic farm nestled in a rustic, bucolic corner of Burgundy that makes for a nice break from Beaune and its surrounding wine villages. The small, cozy dining room holds just a few tables. Reservations are absolutely essential. Photos of heavy metal/speed metal musicians and other paraphernalia, including autographed drumheads and other mementos, make for a fascinating contrast to the otherwise very French country setting. Needless to say, I feel very much at home.


Vegetable pâté in crust

Chef Frédéric Ménager worked under numerous culinary luminaries, including Pierre Gagnaire and Alan Chapel, before moving on to the Castel de Très Girard in Morey St. Denis. It was here that Ménager developed his views on the breeding of animals, especially birds. Shortly thereafter Ménager began raising his own birds before opening La Ferme de la Ruchotte in 2001. There is one set menu, with an optional additional course. That’s it. The essence of simplicity. Soft spoken and shy, Ménager serves the food himself with the help of one colleague. His colorful tattoos are a reminder of a passion for metal and an early desire to pursue a career in music rather than cooking. I can’t decide it I want to talk food, wine or music with him.


Line-caught meagre, raw ham, basil

Our first plated course is the vegetable pâté in crust. Bursting at the seams with summer flavor and freshness, it is absolutely delicious. The raw line-caught meagre, a fish similar to sea bass, is bright and refreshing on this torrid summer day. Then comes the chicken, served family style, with a generous helping of vegetables that are described as grilled, but taste like they were roasted in pan drippings. All I can say is that the chicken is one of the very best dishes I have had all year. I devour several servings before abandoning utensils altogether and finishing off the last morsels of meat with my fingers. Superb.


La Ruchtotte’s roasted chicken is utterly divine

The obligatory cheese course follows. Dessert is a fabulous elderberry nage with strawberry yogurt ice cream and an angélique sable cookie, another perfect dish for the height of summer. The berries are bursting with sweetness, the ice cream brings coolness and richness, while the cookie adds crunch. Deceptive in its simplicity, dessert is off the charts great.


Elderberry nage, strawberry yogurt ice cream, angélique sable

La Ruchotte’s wine list is best described as a collection of wines made by growers who champion similar principles of sustainability and minimal intervention. The list is eclectic and somewhat chaotic, but there are plenty of terrific options. Given the heat of the day, we opted for relatively simple wines that turned out to be absolutely perfect with the food. Today, it is easy to get caught up with the pedigree, and especially rarity, of some wines. As much as I enjoy drinking those bottles, there is something about drinking more humble wines with great food and fabulous company that is immensely pleasing.


Jean-Marc Roulot’s 2016 Bourgogne Blanc is absolutely delicious. Fresh and vibrant, with lovely complexity in its peer group, the Bourgogne Blanc pairs beautifully with the early courses on this menu. I save a bit for later for the cheese, as I especially adore white Burgundy with cheese. Even after several hours, the 2016 is just as gorgeous and vibrant as it was upon opening.

I adore Sylvain Pataille’s wines, but rarely get a chance to drink them. His 2017 Marsannay Clos du Roy is fabulous with the chicken. Light in body, with terrific savoriness from the whole clusters, the Marsannay has plenty of depth to match its understated, nuanced personality. What a compelling and alluring wine it is.

Quite frankly, it is hard to leave La Ferme de la Ruchotte, even on a brutally hot day in the middle of a severe heat wave. I would like to thank my dear friends for making this lunch such an unforgettable memory.