Posted by: Carolyn ODonnell | June 7, 2019

Gastronomy in Grenoble

Unforgettable foie gras on roasted apricots at La Veyrie

Grenoble is one of those cities that is geographically blessed, nestled beside waterways and surrounded by mountains thrusting towards the sky in this picturesque part of southwestern France. Many visitors gallop through Grenoble intent on reaching ski resorts, but there compelling reasons to linger in this town, many of them edible. Really, why would anyone slide down some femur-busting slope when they can sit at a table and eat murçon, ravioles or fancy walnuts floated to digestive peace on a tide of Chartreuse? This is also the kind of place where foie gras is offered quite frequently, and it’s done so damn well (see photo above), it’s hard to resist.

Chartreuse on the rocks

Chartreuse is actually from the nearby town of Voiron, and you can visit its museum HQ – taking in the longest liqueur cellar in the world and marvelling at the 130 odd ingredients in a recipe that took more than a century to perfect. After a selfie with the giant Chartreuse glass in the foyer, it is worth locating the Speakeasy bar, naturally hidden behind a secret door, and do some Chatreuse tastings. Green, yellow, aged – all varieties can be found here. I also learnt how to make a Chartreuse-ito (a mojito with you-know-what rather than rum) and why it’s necessary to slap the mint.

Back in Grenoble, visit Cafe de la Table Ronde, the second oldest cafe in France, sampling murçon (local delicacy of sliced, boiled pork sausage) and ravioles (Grenoblois version of the Italian pasta parcels). This is hearty, mountain fare consumed in an authentic bistrot atmosphere favoured by Gallic celebrities such as Jacques Brel and Johnny Hallyday.

Sliced murçon atop a bed of ravioles to satisfy the hungriest sightseer

The city is well known for its “bubbles” cable car, which whisks passengers to a lofty vista overlooking Grenoble within moments. Once at the Bastille, there is a museum, but even better, the restaurant called Chez le Per’Gras. This splendid establishment has enormous windows to take in the panorama, a welcoming atmosphere, and a delightful menu. Laurent Gras, the current owner and chef, is the fifth generation of his family to commandeer the stove here, combining tradition, modernity and the best of local produce, whether grilling duck breast, searing Charolais beef fillet or buttering fresh fish. Vegetarians are catered for with vegetable and egg dishes. His potato gratin dauphinois is made to his grandmother’s recipe, and this regional staple has accompanied dishes here for more than a century.

Gratin dauphinois at Chez le Per’Gras: Compelling carbs

La Veyrie is outside Grenoble near the village of Bernin, and definitely worth the journey for its gorgeous al fresco dining combining beautiful gardens and majestic mountain views. The menu includes venison, organic salmon, lamb and a dessert called cuisse de velours, or the velvet thigh of a woman. A layered confection of berries various ways and intoxicatingly creamy mascarpone, my own thigh is in no shape or form any competition for the sweet seduction this creation offers.

The Coupe Icare is a free flight event that takes place near Grenoble in September. Similar mountain views with food are found at La Veyrie

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