Monte Carlo, Monaco: Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse

Thursday, August 2, 2012 11comments No tags Permalink 0

A once in a lifetime (though hopefully there will be many return visits ;) sort of meal.

I don’t know which I was most excited about: finally visiting Monaco, the Hôtel de Paris, or dining at Le Louis XV. Perhaps a mix of all three!

First bite: Barbagiuan, a specialty of Monaco (Monégasque cuisine!). Pockets of pastry stuffed with parmesan, leeks, swiss chard, and spinach. Deep fried, of course.

Paper-thin crackers…see the carrots and baby zucchini? What a marvelous sight.

The bread trolley.

Am tempted to put exclamation marks at the end of every sentence because that’s how excited I was…but I’ll refrain for your sake.

Bread trolley was followed by a butter trolley. A true mountain of butter (one salted, one plain) spooned off into smaller portions for the table.

We ordered the summer tasting menu: five savory courses, cheese, and three desserts.

To start: Pan Bagna et fines pâtes imprimées de légumes / Pan Bagna served on sheets of vegetable-printed bread.

Gamberoni de San Remo, délicate gelée de poissons de roche, caviar / Prawns from San Remo, delicate rock fish gelée, and caviar

Cookpot de petit épeautre de Haute-Provence, girolles et primeurs / Cookpot (a Ducasse signature) with spelt from Haute-Provence, chanterelle mushrooms and seasonal vegetables.

Rouget d’ici, aubergines, poivron fondant et courgette trompette, sucs de cuisson / Red mullet, eggplant, sweet peppers, and “trompette” zucchini

This was served Socca, spicy chickpea pancakes which are also a specialty of Monaco.

Agneau des Alpilles a la cheminée, petits farcis au four du boulanger, jus perlé / Lamb cooked in the fireplace with stuffed vegetables.

Cheese cart. The sun went down right after the last savory course. It was about 10pm!

Three goat cheeses. Convinced the waiter to slice me a bit of that extra runny époisses, could not resist.

Petit fours. Almond tuiles, custard tarts with fraises des bois, dark chocolate and raspberries, and apricot mousse. See my Serious Eats posts on the desserts here.

Dark chocolate macarons

…and chocolates customized for Ducasse’s 25th (!) anniversary in Monaco.

The mascarpone sorbet came to the table first.

One clean quenelle. Then came the strawberries in a tiny gold saucepan. The waiter gave it a stir and spooned out a million fraises des bois cooked down in their own juices. He poured it right over the sorbet. I could eat fraises des bois all day, every single day of the summer, and here they were,  intensified, warm and impossible sweet and pure. High on my list of all-time favorite desserts.

Hot hazelnut soufflé with a melting nugget of dark chocolate in the center. On the side, hazelnut ice cream made with hazelnuts from Piedmont.

And then it was time for tea! Tisane to be exact. The waiter rolled over this trolley of fresh herbs. What do you desire? Ahh, lavender from Provence! With mint.

And then it was time to clean your fingers. I need one of these at home ;)

And make room for more dessert. This is the dessert trolley. Notice there are eight glass jars. The four in the back hold four different fruit sorbets. And the four in the front?

Madelines! Fresh cherries! Vanilla marshmallows cut to order! Nougat!

And the sorbet. I went with mango.

P.S. Hazelnut financiers for the morning after :)

  • anonymous
    August 2, 2012

    How utterly amazing…what an experience.Loving the French posts.

  • anonymous
    August 2, 2012

    Really? A butter trolley?? Fresh herbs trolley??? I'm dying.Love how all the desserts are presented in the pretty blue and cream serveware.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    August 2, 2012

    Hi Louise! Thanks so much ^_^ One more post from Monaco coming up, and then back to Paris! Hi Jee! Crazy right? I wanted to roll one of those trolleys straight back home to NYC with me ;)

  • Christine
    August 2, 2012

    Oolalaa! Everything looked so tasty. Will you be bringing back butter to the States? Is it even legal or will the border guards confiscate it and have a quick snack? =p

  • anonymous
    August 2, 2012

    Ducasse should take advantage of the food truck craze and populate the streets of NY/L.A with his bread/tea/dessert trolleys :D.I'd be a customer.

  • Honey
    August 3, 2012

    I love your blog… really love your love for travel and how you portray all these great sights around the world.

  • K and S
    August 3, 2012

    wow wow wow :)

  • anonymous
    August 3, 2012

    OMG, this is absolutely amazing!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    August 5, 2012

    Hi Christine! I haven't tried doing that but I believe you can bring butter back (I have friends who've done it with success :)Hi David! Seriously, right? I'd be a customer too! ^_^Thanks Honey! :)Thanks Kat! :)Hi Madam Chow! I wish I could do it all over again :)

  • S Lloyd
    September 28, 2013

    Hi Kathy, Just re-visited le Louis XV last week. Your beautiful photo report encouraged me to go back there. Eventhough I was not floored by the overall food performance (not bad at all , just wished the ingredients would better express themselves, especially with techniques like pot cooking), It remains, indeed, a great experience. What a lovely place. For some fresh updates, I did a little photo report too:

    • Kathy YL Chan
      November 30, -0001

      Hi S Lloyd, thanks for your comment. I’ve been waiting to return to Louis VX ever since that meal…one day soon! Going over to check out your post now :)

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