Auberge de Bardigues
‘Chef Ciril’ as he’s known to his friends or, more formally, Cyril Simon is the proprietor and chef of the lovely Auberge de Bardigues. A culinary gem hidden in the pretty, but little known, village of Bardigues (82340); not far from Auvillar in the Tarn et Garonne.
Cyril learnt his skills at La Belle Etoile in Niort and then later from the 3 starred Michelin Chef, Bruno Menard and then Chef, M. Romain at the Logis Saint Martin in Saint Maixent (79) who developed Cyril’s passion for always sourcing the best of ingredients.
Cyril, and his wife, arrived in Bardigues from the Deux Sèvres in1999. Their plan was simply to manage the Auberge for the summer season but they were then delighted to be asked to stay longer and keep the Auberge open.
All the way along their journey Cyril, and his wife Camille, have been supported by the village’s enthusiastic Mayor, M. Abarnou and his team. The community was very keen to keep a thriving restaurant in its midst. The couple chose, to point the Auberge in a gastronomic direction, right back to Cyril’s training and passion. Very soon their reputation for inventive menus with fresh, original and local ingredients meant people came from near and far to dine.
The building was soon too small and so it was decided to build a new one, across the narrow lane, this would be much larger and include a wonderful terrace for 70 people. With a growing family Camille cut her work at the Auberge and Cyril’s brother Fabien came to join him. Fabien is now the ‘colourful’ sommelier within this dynamic duo. Amongst Fabien’s responsibilities is the 50 cheese, cheese board – truly something to behold.
Cyril’s thoughts on the challenge of providing gastronomic food in such a small, out-of-the-way village are that ‘when you are far from everything, you must learn to be as original as possible and charge reasonable prices’. It is certainly working!
During the winter the Auberge holds food-related theme evenings. It’s worth keeping an eye on their website or Facebook page. They are open all winter except for the 2nd week of November, the last week of January and the 1st week of February. The normal opening hours are midday and evening each day except for Sunday evening, all day Monday and Wednesday evening. You can arrange gift vouchers, so for the keen diner this may be in ideal present – see their website or give them a call.
Cyril is also President of the association ‘Les Restaurateurs du Tarn et Garonne’ who provide a supportive network for chefs throughout the region.
Cyril has shared, with us one of his recipes ‘le moelleux pousse rapière’ maybe there’s some room in your seasonal menu planning to give this a go!
Gâteau moelleux aux pruneaux - parfumé au pousse-rapière
For 4 people
Preparation time 1h30
150 g castor sugar
100 g icing sugar
½ packet of dried yeast
Zest of 2 oranges
Squeezed orange juice 10cl
In a bowl or in an electric mixer, mix the softened butter with the castor sugar and orange zest until a soft and creamy mixture is obtained. Add the eggs. Continue to mix and then add half of the orange juice. Mix again. Add the flour, yeast and pousse-rapière. Place in a greased and floured cake tin and bake at 180°C (mark 6) for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the tin whilst still warm. Melt the icing-sugar into the remaining orange juice and drizzle over the cake. Add a few drops of pousse-rapière.
500 g red wine,
½ orange, ½ lemon,
60 g castor sugar,
200 g water,
2 bay leaves,
½ cinnamon stick
Boil all the ingredients together, except for the prunes. After boiling, add the prunes to the syrup, then boil again. Cool and refrigerate (can be kept for one month)
Draw a straight line with the prune syrup on the side of a plate. Then place a piece of the soft pousse-rapière flavoured cake in the middle and arrange 5 to 7 prunes around this.