Auberge de La Tour the Hidden Gem of Cantal in France

In the heart of Cantal region in France, there is a little charming village called Marcolès. Surrounded by a bucolic countryside rich of legendary cows which produce some of the best milk and beef in the world, there is the "Auberge de La Tour" with its amazing restaurant.

Chef Renaud Darmanin invites you to discover his Michelin-starred restaurant. With his wife, he took over two years ago the orders of the Auberge de la Tour, in the heart of the Cantalian chestnut grove in this medieval city, labeled "small city of character". "Also this charming stone building dating from the 17th century, with its corner tower and its spiral staircase. The chef Darmanin works only very beautiful fresh products and makes a fine and tasty cuisine, marrying with talent the terroir to spices from here and elsewhere.

Chef Renaud Darmanin
At 33, Renaud Darmanin offers his customers a fine and tasty cuisine, but above all creative. It works exclusively fresh products and constantly values ​​regional products in its plates. And it's not the Michelin Guide's distinction that will distract him from his way of working. This chef is well known in the world of gastronomy. Graduated from the Hotel School of Chamalières in Puy-de-Dôme, he had great experiences in gourmet restaurants in Paris (Le Pré Catelan), Lyon (Paul Bocuse) and Geneva (Le Parc des Eaux-Vives) and the Royal Manotel. Renaud has been rewarded twice by the Gault & Millau Guide: "Young talent" trophy Auvergne in 2014 and "Innovation" trophy Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in 2016. He also received the prize of the initiative by the Hotel Union (UMIH) in the category "Restaurants" for the year 2015.

The brigade and chef Renaud Darmanin with journalist Luca Centoni
We have met him and his amazing staff on June 1st 2018 and came here specifically to try this thrilling gourmet experience, at dinner time. First of all, we immediately noticed the quality and preparation  of the team and so it wasn't a big surprise to expect from them a top level hospitality, during our staying there. "Auberge de La Tour" has very nice rooms completely renewed with modern style and fine decor. They respected even the ancient architecture of the tower.

In the evening we went down the old stone stair to the restaurant and when we sat at the table we immediately met "Sophie Jammet", the chef sommelier, who welcomed us. This woman really impressed us for her ability in pairing wines perfectly to each of the dishes that we have tested. The pics below show the full course tasting including the wine labels.

Mise en Bouche

Tartare de Boeuf Pesto de Fane de Radis au Vieux Salers

Royal de Légumes de Printemps, Herbes Sauvages et Fondue de Cantal

Cabillaud Snacké à la Plancha, Joue de Boeuf, Légumes Fanes, et Copeaux de Boeuf Salers

Plateau de Fromages Affinés d'Ici et Ailleurs 

Pêche... Estragon et Eau de Tomate

Our final score for this French restaurant is 20/20. We think the chef and his team will get another Michelin star in the future because their efforts and dedication are very high. We will be back probably the next year to see how is going. We wish them good luck for the second star. On our end we will submit chef Renaud Darmanin as one of the candidates for Travelscore Chef of the Year 2018.

Chef Renaud Darmanin and Sommelier Sophie Jammet
Chef with his Équipe de Salle and Hotel

In Marcolès you will find also another guy who is a phenomenal producer of Hydromel (ancient wine made with honey). His name is Fabien Kaczmarek and he is a Maître Hydromellier and the owner of  the label "Apis Terrae".

Fabien Kaczmarek

But what is exactly Hydromel? Well Fabien himself tells us....

<<Let it be said, Hydromel is a forgotten wine! Wandering with fabulous poems in whimsical legends, with catchy songs in disillusioned words, this drink has gone through time. It is the oldest known alcoholic drink. Having gone through all ages, its decline is due only to the tremendous growth experienced by wine and beer in our contemporary societies. Too often, wrongly assimilated to the Chouchen popular drink Breton, it knows today a resurgence of popularity. Riding a medieval fashion that has unfortunately monopolized the product, Hydromel is meant to be the bearer of "the drink of the gods", "the divine nectar" or the "magic potion" of Asterix. What is it really? No offense to lovers of vikings, knights and other irreducible Gauls, Hydromel is not only that, it is much more than that ... my company APIS TERRAE tells you the story of a unique and authentic product, fruit of the osmosis between several great kingdoms of the living of which the man is only the modest assembler.>>

Being in Marcolès to test the "Auberge de La Tour" allowed us to discover this wonderful product which is also used on the tables of the same restaurant. Fabien has amazing projects for his company and in a nearby future you will certainly hear about him again. Until then, Go Mr. Kaczmarek!

Auberge de la Tour Marcoles
Place de La Fontaine - 15220 Marcolès, France

Phone: +33 (0) 471469915   email: aubergedelatour15@orange.fr

article and pictures by Luca Centoni