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I wanted to be an engineer since I was nine years old.  But prior to that, I dreamed of being a princess.  In Bricquebec, I got to be both.

On the last evening of my French nuclear facilities tour, our group was treated to a lovely dinner and overnight at l’Hostellerie du Château in Bricquebec, a village in the Normandy Region of France.  This twelfth-century manor home — complete with moat, ramparts, and circular tower — has origins with knights from the Crusades.

IMG_1332aI took a 360-degree video in the courtyard, showing the fortified walls, pyramid, tower, and the main building known as the knight’s hall.  Guest rooms and their Michelin-starred restaurant are in the knight’s hall.

Dinner at l’Hostellerie was the most profound dining experience of my life.  The wine and food pairings were impeccable.  A sip of wine on its own or a bite of food on its own was good, though unmemorable.  But together, they brought out these very deep, pronounced flavors in each other that were otherwise impossible to detect.  The experience of the pairing unfolded on the palate like a flower blossoming on time-lapse video.  Never before had I tasted such harmony and experienced two halves equaling more than a whole.

dinner

First course:  Steamed foie gras with fleur de sel and Espelette chilli, a mango and sherry vinegar jelly, and crystallized kumquat, with Sauternes Château Saint Michel 2010 (vin blanc Bordeaux)

Second course:  Red mullet fillet, fennel and orange caramel, with Montagny 1er cru 2008 (vin blanc Bourgogne)

Third course:  Beef fillet, crispy crushed potatoes with mushrooms, au jus reduced in a creamy bacon sauce, with Clos des Menuts Saint Emilion Grand cru 2008 (vin rouge Bordeaux)

Cheese course:  Pont l’Évêque (a local cheese) in a crisp phyllo package

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