Auberge de Clochemerle, a magical corner in Beaujolais (and so good!)

In the elegant inn of Delphine and Romain Barthe, hospitality and food make for a memorable experience

16-05-2019
The wisteria on the façade of Auberge de Clochem

The wisteria on the façade of Auberge de Clochemerle, restaurant with a Michelin star in Vaux-en-Beaujolais, France

A young chef who arrives at his workplace in the morning, parks his van in front of this workplace and together with his beautiful blonde daughter by his side unloads the logs of wood that will serve for the day. This image is enough to make even the hardest heart fall in love, let’s not speak of someone who’s sensitive enough. This is an ordinary daily scene at Auberge de Clochemerle, a place where everything is different and everything has a superior magic. The atmosphere in Vaux-en-Beaujolais will charm you at first glance, especially in the hamlet of Clochemerle, perched on the hill, just a few houses, a church, a winery and this place that is worth the trip even if only for a meal (but we recommend to stay for the night), in a spectacular location with a view of the vineyards but also strategic for a corroborating tour of Beaujolais.

A young chef. But what a chef. Explosive in his ideas. Brilliant in his shyness and humbleness. Romain Barthe trained at the legendary Maison Troisgros, three Michelin stars in Roanne. In 2007 he took the helm at Auberge de la Clochemerle together with his wife Delphine, a very qualified sommelier and the granddaughter of wine makers. In 2011 Barthe was the first to be awarded as “Chef Espoir”, the prize given to emerging chefs. In 2012 the first well-deserved Michelin arrived and from that day it’s been shown with pride and joy at the entrance of the place. His philosophy is based on a very simple concept: searching for all the incredible excellences produced in the Beaujolais region and enhancing their value through the inspiration that all his past experiences suggest. A fine territorial cuisine that follows international concepts. All this while he works like a real craftsman, breaking raw materials bit by bit in search for almost absolute perfection.

Fish tartare with sticks of green apple 

Fish tartare with sticks of green apple 

Mousse of blue cheese with lentils and pistachios 

Mousse of blue cheese with lentils and pistachios 

The strict rule according to which everything that is served must be very fresh and unquestionable transfers to the menu. Auberge offers 3 tasting menus and doesn’t have a real à la carte menu. The courses change daily depending on what they get from the excellent local suppliers. In pure theory, the Caprice menu includes two dishes plus a dessert, the Plaisir menu includes three dishes plus cheese and dessert, the Evasion menu is a discovery of the chef’s universe. All this in theory, because Barthe then changes (in a positive way) the life of his guests with a series of surprises. A range of finger food to start with, even before you choose the menu, three pre-starters that deserve a standing ovation like the small fish tartare with three sticks of Granny Smith apple.

The courses themselves are all worthy of an Academy award for the main role, and the same applies to Romain’s hospitality. But just to give an idea of what happens at Auberge, at one point the starter arrives, which in this case is foie gras blessed by a glaze of red fruits gelatine that you won’t forget. With another couple of lovely ideas what with one main course and the other we arrive at the Beef filet cooked in the best possible way, paired with braised fennel and a purée of herbs from Beaujolais which has a unique and unrepeatable flavour. As for the cheese, you can choose from a cart that has no flaws and there’s creation of the chef, who in this case presents a cream of fresh blue cheese with lentils, pistachios and orange. Crazy good. Then there’s a pre-dessert, a chocolate cake that will take you straight to heaven, and the post-dessert petit fours made of sable biscuits and various mousses. The wine list of course is very carefully studied and has plenty of wines, both local and coming from other regions of France - Delphine personally takes care of it – with an international page for the most unusual needs.


The cheese cart 

The cheese cart 

 Delphine and Romain Barthe

 Delphine and Romain Barthe

What makes you smile is that this is a hotel restaurant and that you could actually have the dinner at Romain Barthe included in the half board service. As for the rooms, the standards are also very high. It’s a dated building (3 star hotel) but has been completely renovated. It has 10 beautiful rooms, unnumbered. Each one is named after a flower, with great attention to details, true kindness in an idyllic place, with unforgettable views. And in the morning, when you load the car on the way home, you’ll say goodbye to the chef who’s unloading the van with his blonde daughter by his side and you’ll want to stay in a blink.

Auberge de Clochemerle
Rue Gabriel Chevalier
Vaux-en-Beaujolais, France
+33 4 74 032016
contact@aubergedeclochemerle.fr
Open at lunchtime and in the evening, from Thursday to Monday.
Tasting menu: 48, 76 and 96 euros. With wines, add 36, 45 and 63 euros

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso 


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