Faugères has a new eatery, La Dame Jane, on the main road running past the village, opposite the car park and the mairie. An association of local producers, of both wine and food, have restored some old vaults, to make a welcoming café and small shop. There are bottles, not just from Faugères, but also a little further afield, and local cheeses, honey, and charcuterie. I popped in for lunch last week, between a couple of cellar visits. The plat du jour was a tasty meatloaf accompanied by a colourful pumpkin purée and some green salad, and my friend Alex opted for the other choice, an hachis parmentier, or shepherd’s pie to you and me, but not with beef or lamb, but duck, and that was very good too, and just the thing after a morning’s wine tasting. There was a wine of the week, by the glass, 2011 Domaine Binet-Jacquet Faugères, which was fresh, elegant and spicy. And we finished our meal with a small plate of local cheeses, goat’s cheese, and some sheep’s cheese, pieces of tomette and a more mature tomme. And the espresso coffee was one of the best I’ve had in the region. At this time of the year the Dame Jane is open from 10 am to 2 p.m.
The Bel Air restaurant at the top of the hill in Faugères has apparently recently changed hands, so we checked that out earlier in the week. The food was perfectly edible, but nothing more. As for wine, the only choice by the bottle was the coop’s basic Mas Olivier, and as for the red wine en pichet, it was frankly a disgrace for a wine producing village, with a flat bitter finish. I assume it was some dregs from one of the coop's vats.
At Sylva Plana in Laurens you have no choice but to drink the wines of the estate, either Abbaye Sylva Plana Faugères, or Domaine des Henrys Côtes de Thongue. The best thing on the menu is the tapas of Spanish ham. My salade de tempura was quite tasty but the déclinaison de canard failed to deliver. The cold slices of magret were good – you can’t do much with that – but the cuisse had been jogging, and the pâté had recently come out of the freezer, and I couldn’t possibly tell you what it looked like. So the Dame Jane is a very welcome addition to the lunch possibilities in the Faugerois.
And on a previous occasion I had a very acceptable plate of charcuterie with a fresh salad in the cafe in Autignac, with an eminently drinkable carafe of wine, so that is worth checking out too.