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Oct 31, 2003 12:55 PM

"L'Oreiller de la Belle Aurore" Dish Available!

  • c

I have finally identified a restaurant capable of making the L'Oreiller de la Belle Aurore dish described in Lucien Tendret's (sp) "La Table au Pays de Brillat-Savarin" (The dining table in the country of Brillat-Savarin)

The L'Oreiller dish is one of the three famous pates of Belley ("Les Trois Pâtés de Belley").

The restaurant is Gerard Besson, which recently lost its second Michelin star. The dish is for a minimum of two people, and requires advance notice. Besson is known for game, so it's a good venue for having the dish. I didn't ask how much the dish was, as the price became irrelevant once its availability was identified.

This dish contains: veal, partridge, rabbit, chicken, duck, porc and sweetbreads. I have sky-high expectations of this dish.

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  1. From Lucas Carton's website : "Pie filled with game and foie gras and served with a mixed salad with truffle oil and roasty juice". This is one of the dishes they serve as part of the lunch menu.Do you know if this is, even remotely, linked to the "Oreillier de la Belle Aurore"? Or is this a more classical "pithivier de gibier"? Incidentally, which dish would you go for on their current lunch menu? I was thinking the canette but could use some enlightened advice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: molochbaal

      The Lucas-Carton dish not L'Oreiller, although that would be a natural question, given some of the ingredients of the L-C pie. The L'Oreiller dish is so distinctive that it would have been named as such, I would imagine.

      Alexandre Dumaine cooked at least two of the three pates in Tendret's book for the Club des Cents, at La Cote d'Or. One of the three pates (not the Oreiller) requires woodcock, which is now prohibited from being sold in restaurants in France.

      I plan to take in the L-C pie dish too, and will report on it and the restaurant's wine-by-the-glass pairing. I'd have to admit that the duck main course in the business lunch menu (76 euros) sounds good too. Typically, one item on the main course side is a pigeon from Kernivian or some specified place sounding similar to that. It's a good choice among the mains.

    2. Eight years later I can tell you that Restaurant Pierre Orsi in Lyon will make one "sur commande".. I plan to go next month. I'll let you know what happens. I did have Gerard Besson's three years ago. It was beyond devine. Too bad he retired shortly after.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Robert Brown

        Goodness gracious, Cabrales and Robert Brown, welcome back, as Victor Laszlo said in Casablanca: Welcome back to the fight. This time I know our side will win.

        1. re: Robert Brown

          On the subject of tribute dishes, did you indeed have the (Chapel) Oreille de Veau Farcie at Restaurant Troisgros for your birthday as planned? I haven't noticed a report. Inquiring minds, etc.

          1. re: mangeur

            I sent an e-mail to the restaurant asking for a confirmation that the recipe would be the same as the original. As no one answered me, I figured there was something they didn't want to tell me. So I ditched the project and went to Venice and Senigallia instead to eat fresh fish.

              1. re: Robert Brown

                What a change of plans. Did you go to Uliassi in Senigallia? And where in Venice? Hoping to read about your experiences. Thanks.

                1. re: PBSF

                  Chef June, Senigallia is on the Adriatic, about three hours south of Venice. It has the distinction of having two two-star Michelin restaurants. One, Maddonina del Pescatore, is everything I dislike about contemporary restaurants (limited choice, dishes from outside the region, trying to be hip,etc) whereas Uliasse is everything one could hope for. I've been twice in just a bit over a year and because the first meal was so mwmorable, we ordered two dishes we had already had; smoked spaghetti with clams and tomato sauce and a magnificent local fish stew (brodetto). It's overall a refined, caring restarant. Mauro Uliassi apprenticed in France and put in a bit of time with Adria. There is a "Uliassi Lab" menu, but I haven't ordered from it yet.

                  PBSF, a real find for me in Venice n May was Flaschetteria Toscana. Impeccable seafood, maybe the best in town. Alla Testiere has sold out; nothing like it was the first time I was there several years ago. A complete sell-out. My other place is Osteria Santa Marta, but it's a cut below. How about you?

                  1. re: Robert Brown

                    We had an excellent lunch earlier this year at Uliasse. The two of us had the different menus. We enjoyed the Classics which had the smoked spaghetti more than the Lab 2112. The service under Mauro Uliassi's sister, Catia was wonderful. Also the comfortable decor and open feel of the place.
                    We've been going to Fiaschetteria Toscana and Alle Testiere for many years. FT is probably the most reliable restaurant in Venice. Alle Testiere has changed over the last few years but along with Antiche Carampane, still one of the best seafood restaurant in Venice. For seafood, we also like Boccadoro a lot. Is Osteria Santa Marta the same as Santa Marina? Thank you for sharing your experiences.

                    1. re: PBSF

                      My fault. It is Santa Marina. I really came away rom alla Testiere with the feeling that now they are only in it or the money. When I asked what they had rom the lagoon, Lucca told me that it wasn't a good moment for that. When we went to Fiaschetteria, the menu was laden with them, including the soft-shell crabs.

          2. Any news on what M. Besson is doing? There were rumors that he might have a project after closing his restaurant, but I haven't heard anything for quite awhile. I greatly admired his cooking.

            6 Replies
            1. re: rswatkins

              When Gerard Besson closed his restaurant, his website said he was beginning a well-deserved retirement. I regret going there only one time, although I did encounter him at one of his first jobs at the pre-Robuchon Jamin. It would be nice if someone knew where he was. Given his age, I would be really surprise if he undid his retirement.

              1. re: Robert Brown

                I heard he was helping his daughter and son-in-law on their own restaurant, somewhere in Paris, but I haven't heard more about that since then. What a loss that was.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  I hope it's true and that it would be a restaurant that would have some semblance of tradition. Please let us know if you hear anything definitive. Thanks so much.

                  1. re: Robert Brown

                    To get back on topic, I have pissed away the last two days on Bell Aurore research. I include here several links that cover ths situation, meagre as it is.

                    ( It looks like you'll have to paste this address in your browser).

                    This link will show you how complicating the making of the dish is.

                    Link 2 is a short video of the dish as made and sold at Charcuterie Raynon in Lyon. They offer it only during the last five days of the year. The grandson of the founder hews to the receipe of Lucien Tendret, the nephew of the 16-17 century creator of the recipe Brillat-Savarin. Each one Reynon makes weight 66 pounds. You can read more about it and see some pictures in this link (in French, for better or worse):


                    One restaurant in Lyon that offers La Belle Aurore is the old-line Pierre Orsl, which was where I intended to go next month. However, the segment in the video (close to the end) of a fairly recent 'Les Escapades de Petitrenaud") shows the dish chez Orsi as a not-very-enticing rendition, such that I am no longer interesting in going.


                    In this last link (another Petitrenaud from a few years and about six minutes in), Jean-Luc Petitrenaud visits Gerard Besson, who was the only person in Paris making the dish. As he says, his version is indeed a verson, what he calls an interpretation. He uses several ingredients, but not nearly the number that Reynon does. He also serves his warm with a sauce. I Would think it's a more-succulent rendition, but in any event, this was the best bite I put in my mouth in several years.

                    5. mms://

                    The seeming conclusion to all this is that if you want the dish in its presently most-glorious form, you'll have to be in Lyon and go to Raynon at year's end and find a place like your hotel room to eat it. For the record, Paul Bocuse will make the dish on request, but clearly you would need a large group of convives to share it with.

                    1. re: Robert Brown

                      When I had it chez Besson, I was told that there were seven types of game in his version. I can't remember exactly what they were, but very emphatically hare was not one of them, being considered too strong.

                      I was dining alone, so I went by the restaurant two days in advance to request a version for one. They were glad to oblige. A great memory, not to be repeated.,

                      1. re: rswatkins


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