Last weekend we were feeling rather nostalgic for France and began to reminisce about our recent vacation to Burgundy. Being the food-centric people we are, we reflected about all the visits to the great bakeries, cheese shops, markets, wineries, and all the wonderful meals we shared.

One of our favorite experiences was sitting in the warm sun, surrounded by the world’s most iconic vineyards, indulging in a simple plate of escargots while drinking a perfect glass of Pommard. Soon we were in the kitchen, preparing our own plate of escargots and opening the last bottle of Pommard we brought home from France.

Escargot with garlic butter.

The Jolly Roger

If you drank too much Pinot Noir in Pommard (trust me this is not as implausible as it may sound) and headed toward Volnay on the D973, a narrow and winding road that cuts through numerous scenic vineyards, you’ll find a converted country home in the middle of nowhere with the Jolly Roger hoisted over.

Given the alcohol, you might be persuaded to believe that there are pirates in this part of Burgundy, but instead what you will find is an incredible wine shop and restaurant with fantastic hospitality, well priced rustic fare and one of the greatest wine values of all of Burgundy.

Pavillon Francois Gaunoux, located on D973 in Volnay, Burgundy (image borrowed from Google Maps)

Ahoy Matey

We stopped at Pavillion Francois Gaunoux at the recommendation of our exuberant new-found friend Pascal, who claimed Gaunoux as a must-see for any serious trip to this neck of Burgundy. Every time we saw Pascal he would ask if we had been there yet.

By the time we pulled up, I wasn’t expecting too much. I had worked at winery tasting rooms in California and become jaded to the dog and pony shows. I halfway expected to see a French guy wearing an eye patch greeting us with the French version of ‘ahoy matey!’.

Thankfully I could not have been further from the truth. A few moments later and we were seated on the terrace armed with a delicious glass of white wine and a bubbling hot plate of garlicky escargot. Time felt as though it had stopped; we were alone enjoying the late morning sun feeling extremely relaxed.

The pavilion made for a welcomed refuge from a busy morning being fast talked by the slick vendors of the Beaune Saturday market who tried their very best to get us to buy a 50-pound wheel of AOP Beaufort cheese. It’s not that the cheese wasn’t incredible, we just were at the end of our time in Burgundy and I didn’t think I could keister it back through customs; please no visuals.

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Huge wheels of Beaufort Cheese at the Beaune Saturday market.

Relaxation

The gentleman running the shop allowed us to relax in peace on the terrace, and enjoy the wines at our own pace. There were no convoluted sales pitches expounding the virtues of a particular vintage over another or overly technical boring details about brix levels and fermentation. He poured a wide range of styles and vintages and afterward we ended up buying three Pommards to bring home to the states, a 1995, 1998 and 2007.

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Filling escargot shells with snails and garlic butter

Baked Escargot with Garlic Butter

If you want to feel like you are in France on vacation, give these escargots a try. Hashtag us at #PistouAndPastis — We love to see what you made!

Ingredients

Snail Butter (which is crazy good on grilled fish and meats)

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter room temperature
  • 6 cloves garlic mashed
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 1 tablespoon Pastis
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fennel tops
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme

To Finish

  • 24 big fat snails
  • 24 snail shells
  • 1 baguette served warm

Instructions

Snail Butter

  1. Melt two ounces of butter in a saute pan. Add garlic and shallots and cook for a few minutes, or until you can smell the fragrant garlic perfume your kitchen.
  2. Pour into a food processor along with everything else and puree till smooth.

To Finish

  1. Fill each snail shell with one snail then pipe garlic butter into shells.
  2. Turn your broiler on as hot as it will get and cook the snails for approximately six minutes.
  3. Enjoy with a warmed baguette and a really big glass of a great Burgundy.

Written by

My earliest attempt at cookery began with the filleting of my sister's goldfish at age 2 and cooking my pet rabbits by age 7. Life has been downhill ever since.

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