9.08.2008

Paw Paws At L'Auberge Provencale

Paw paw fruit in the orchard at L'Auberge Provençale

In the midst of Hanna's drenching rain, I set out for an overnight stay at L'Auberge Provençale. After some hurricane wine tasting (more on that later), we settled in for dinner at the country inn — and my first taste of paw paw.

Chef Alain Borel opened the restaurant in 1981 with his wife Celeste. For its fixed-price five-course dinners, the kitchen makes good use of the property's gorgeous herb and vegetable garden and a small orchard, where paw paw trees grow. The green paw paw is reportedly the largest edible fruit native to North America.

I had to try both dishes that used paw paw: sautéed foie gras with an ice cream made from the fruit and, for dessert, a towering paw paw soufflé with huckleberry sauce. The flavor was fairly subtle, faintly tropical and very creamy.

Ever tried paw paw or seen it on a menu?

4 comments:

Sylvie said...

Hello Amanda, Colleen At FoodieTots pointed your post out to me. Not only have I eaten pawpaws, I forage for them. I also planted some named cultivars earlier this year, but will not see any fruit for a few years. If you want to learn more about them, check out the post I wrote yesterday about pawpaws:
http://www.laughingduckgardens.com/ldblog.php/2008/09/06/pawpaws-are-our-bananas/

They don't take kindly to being cooked because they have such an elusive flavor. So I am really intrigued by the two dishes you mentioned. I am sure ice-cream (or sorbet for that matter) would be delightful. I really wonder about the souffle though: was it a cold mousse-like (uncooked) souffle? or was it cooked?

Thank you.
Sylvie
http://www.laughingduckgardens.com/ldblog.php/

Lisa said...

Hi Amanda - I've never tried pawpaw, but I have been to L'Auberge Provencale for a wine tasting weekend and LOVED it. I was very impressed with the food, particularly a foie gras appetizer with brioche and peaches. Glad to hear it's still going strong!

Out of curiosity, which vineyards did you visit?

Amanda said...

Sylvie: That's so cool that you forage and that you just posted about it. I've learned so much about them in just 24 hours. Cool to see the flower on your blog.

The souffle was a traditional cooked version. Very tall too! A little pitcher of huckleberry sauce came on the side. I'd say I could taste the fruit more in the ice cream, though the souffle was delicious.

Lisa: Planning to post a bit on the wineries but we just hit Linden and Naked Mountain. It was raining so hard we didn't get to as many as we wanted. L'Auberge is a great getaway, isn't it?

jburka said...

Some years there's a vendor at the Dupont Farmer's Market hawking paw paws. The season is only a week or two, the cost is high, and the presentation is twee (the delicate fruit is wrapped in tissue paper), but it's hard to resist them when I actually find them at market!