If you are ever celebrating a birthday or anniversary in the area, my tip is to get yourself pampered at Michelin starred restaurant La Table de Castigno in Assignan. In fact, even if you don’t have something to celebrate, you should still go! Sometimes you just have to indulge yourself. And this restaurant completely understands how to spoil you with the best local wines and the finest ‘farm-to-table’ cuisine, using extra fresh, organic and local products.
Sense of calm
Chéri and I had two good reasons to treat ourselves to a dinner at La Table de Castigno: our wedding day and my birthday. Every time we arrive in the sleepy village of Assignan, we feel a sense of calm wash over us. La Table de Castigno looks like it’s housed in some kind of barn. But don’t let the exterior fool you (although it is pretty too, with abundant ivy covering the walls). When you walk in, a lovingly decorated space embraces you with its warmth. And the experienced staff expand this feeling with a genuine welcome.
The chefs Justine Viano and Stephan Paroche wish to surprise their guests with a culinary experience. Therefore, there is no menu here, and you only have to choose how many courses you want. Life can be simple in the South of France. Chéri and I went for the complete feast of six courses (110 euros) and the wine pairing (54 euros). Soon enough, we were served with our first- out of three- amuse bouche. I won’t describe all of these appetizers, otherwise this post would be too long… However, a special note goes to the various variations on bread, as they were all divine!
After this promising start, the first of the six courses came: a fillet of mullet fish with Mitraille potatoes and a mustard mousse. The second course was a delicate composition of anchovy on a bed of chickpeas finished with Japanese dashi and organic caviar. This was followed by a tastefully grilled octopus tentacle with fermented black garlic and a coulis of red peppers. The bold main course was a pigeon fillet topped with a heavenly and syrupy dark red sauce, a pigeon’s tochis, and a sweep of liver on the side. This dish was the perfect example of how the chefs adhere to the principle of head-to-tail cooking.
Of course, no dinner is complete without dessert. Here again, the chefs worked their magic. To top off our delicious dinner, we had a wonderful fresh fig wrapped in its own leaf and spectacularly served with hay-based smoke. Another fresh fig came on the side, served with a scoop of goat milk ice cream and a blackberry coulis. The second dessert (or the sixth course, if you’re still counting) was an elegant hazelnut praline ice cream and a savory mousse (sarriette in French). But that wasn’t all! When Chéri and I ordered our coffee and tea, it came with what they called a ‘little tasting of goodies in remembrance of a French childhood”. Our table magically refilled itself with madeleines to dip in an almond milk mousse, quince ice cream with chestnut tuiles on top, and a chocolate mousse. Completely satisfied, I was already looking forward to our next celebration.