Relais de la Poste, Magescq

September 30, 2008

Magescq is a dusty little village in the Landes, halfway between Bordeaux and Spain. Centuries ago pilgrims passed through it on the way to Santiago de Compostella. In 1870 the Hôtel de la Poste was built for travellers and their horses. With the arrival of the automobile, the N10 passed through Magescq, but the N10 has been upgraded to an autoroute with a bypass around Magescq, which is left to doze.  In 1952 the hotel was taken over by Bernard Cosseau, who had been a chef at some of France’s most prestigious hotels. He renamed it the Relais de la Poste and gained two Michelin stars in 1971, which the restaurant still enjoys. It has been run by his two sons since 1996, one the chef, the other in charge of the dining room and the wine cellar. Ten years ago it had been upgraded enough to join the Relais & Châteaux, although it still seems like a friendly old inn in a little village.

When Linda and I stayed there the night of September 18, 2008, we had a small suite with a balcony overlooking the back garden with its swimming pool. The complex has a big plot of land with various annexes, houses, a winery next to a small vineyard, a spa, an herb garden and a cutting garden which provided the beautiful dahlias on every table in the dining room. In such an isolated place they have to provide lodging for much of the staff.

For apéritif Linda had a glass of Champagne and I had the house Champagne cocktail. A plate of hors d’oeuvres arrived.

Normally, in a two-star restaurant we would order the big tasting menu (106 €,) but the smaller “Menu du Saison” (77 €) looked more to our taste that evening. With the help of the sommelier we ordered a bottle of southwest wine 1999 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige Madiran. It stayed somewhat closed and tannic, which I guess is typical of a Madiran. 

The amuse-gueule was a Brunoise de coques.

Mixed vegetables diced into little cubes were served with cockle meat and a foamy cream sauce with the cockle juice. Very nice.


Then came



Black is the natural color of this variety of potato. As served they were slightly sweet. The lobster was fine, with a sauce that had a strong lobster flavor.  

Salade d’Herbes du Temps
The terrine was particularly good and was enhanced by the freshly sauteed foie gras and its fruit.

Girolles à la Pointe d’Echalote, Croustillant de Cuisse

Here you have, from left to right, fresh girolle mushrooms cooked with shallots and formed into a rectangular mound; the shredded meat of the pigeon thigh in a pastry wrap; the pigeon breast cooked perfectly with a crisp skin and a pink inside. The two sauces were well done. A very nice dish.

Desserts were chosen from the à la carte menu:
Linda had the
Mousse de Citron, Confit au Fruits Rouges
This was not at all like a classic baba au rhum, but it was fine and the fruits were sensational.

My dessert was
Glace, Soufflé, Moelleux au Russe.

I really liked this presentation of pistachios in four different ways. The little pistachio soufflée was very hot. The ice cream was cold and the other two in between.

After dinner we took a walk around the hotel.

In the morning there was a nice breakfast.

We are glad we stopped at the Relais for a night. While our meal was very good, I regret that we did not have a more challenging menu. I am sure that the chef would have been up to it.

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