/L’Auberge de Chassignolles

L’Auberge de Chassignolles

auberge-de-chassignolles

There aren’t many vineyards around Chassignolles, a miniscule village in the Auvergne. The surroundings are dominated, instead, by vast pine forests and verdant pastures where cows lumber and sheep graze. Yet the sparsely inhabited medieval hamlet is a magnet for wine drinkers who gather in the town square annually–or for three years running, at least–for a small but serious fête du vin. The wine fair attracts natural producers from all over France; this year the international contingent included Spain’s prolific Barranco Oscuro and Slovenia’s inimitable Aleks Klinec.

When my friend Raef of Gergovie Wines and 40 Maltby Street told me about this year’s festivities, I immediately booked a place at the Auberge de Chassignolles. Raef organizes the fair with Auberge owners chef Harry Lester and Ali Johnson, along with a team of chefs from London who have transformed the nearly vacant village into a summer haven for food and wine loving Brits.

For four days, including the one-day wine fair, Hande, Theo and I spent virtually every waking moment on the Auberge’s terrace, which faced the rear of a 12th century church whose bells occasionally set off harmonized howls from the local dog population. We ventured away from Chassignolles only to hike through the forrest and visit the nearby (totally weird concrete) reservoir. After a dip in the odd water pool, we happened upon a lovely little goat dairy followed by a horrifying meal in one of the most beautiful villages I have ever encountered. I can’t really elaborate on all the details of what we were served for fear of catatonic shock, but let’s just say the principal ingredients were canned corn and crab sticks.

The food and wine at the Auberge more than made up for this travesty. Daily, we feasted on organic cheeses, house-cured charcuterie, crusty baguettes, slow-roasted meats and foraged salads. These were paired with artisanal beer from the Loire or natural wines from all over France.

We were so lucky to have visited the Auberge in it’s final season with Harry and Ali at the helm. Whether the wine fair will continue is up in the air, but the Auberge is definitely for sale and the owners are moving to Clermont-Ferrand to open a bistro. So go while you still can and drink in its atmosphere, the virtuous approach to cooking, and, above all, the wine.

chassignolles church

apartment auberge

charcuterie

champagne auberge

cheese auberge

harry bbq

melon prosciutto

veal and mustard sauce

aleks klinec

klinec wines

in nomine

chilling bottles

salmon mushrooms

chicken plating

2017-02-17T15:16:42+00:00 July 24th, 2013|Categories: Accommodations, Food & Wine, France, Travel, Wine & Spirits|11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Patrick July 25, 2013 at 11:08 am - Reply

    I’m excited to be staying here next month. Especially if this is the last season. Is there any speculation to who’s taking it over?

  2. Fiona Beckett July 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Lovely post – brings it all back! (Glad I avoided the crab sticks!)

  3. Evie July 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Sorry I missed the wine fair but so glad I visited the Auberge under Harry and Ali’s care.

  4. Lindsey July 25, 2013 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    So would have loved to go!! Very curious about the specifics of your horrific dining experience- that teaser sounds dreadful.

  5. […] the small town in far eastern Turkey. And this was after 4 days of partying researching wines at L’Auberge de Chassignolles. Frankly, I felt a bit insane. But in the days that followed, I realized the familiarity was real. […]

  6. Fergus Miller January 21, 2014 at 7:11 am - Reply

    Peter Taylor Chef/Owner of the riverstation in Bristol http://www.riverstation.co.uk/home has taken over L’Auberge de Chassignolles.

    He we open it’s doors on May 1st 2014 you can follow him on Twitter here @chassignolles so it’s passed in to good hands, I have heard that Harry Lester will do the one-day wine fair this year.

  7. Patrick January 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Do hope the food is of the same quality. And I wonder if the menu pricing will remain the same too.

  8. Fergus Miller January 21, 2014 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Hello Patrick,
    I have it on good authority although the menu will not be exactly the same it will be along the same lines, good sourcing of local & seasonal produce will be used etc, as for the pricing I am sure that will remain the same also.

    Peter is an excellent cook and has a great knowledge of wine, he also speaks good French. We are visiting in early June and I will make a post about our visit on my blog here http://www.fergusmiller.com
    Regards
    Fergus

    • Katie January 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      looking forward to the update!

  9. Katie Parla February 5, 2014 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Thanks fergus!!

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