Last week I had the opportunity to attend the second Dîner Cousu-Main in the garden at Musée Christian Dior in Granville. The dinner at La Bonne Aventure together with Mauviel 1830 featured Granville-native Chef Alex Néel and a meal inspired by both Christian Dior’s La Cuisine Cousu-Main cookbook and local products.
I’d been dying to experience a Dîner Cousu-Main in the garden at Musée Christian Dior ever since I saw the first in the series this summer. I was in the South of France (tough, I know) during the first dinner and was hoping I could attend another. I was thrilled to receive an invitation to attend the second dinner.
A Visit of the Current Exhibit at Musée Christian Dior
The evening started with a private visit of Musée Christian Dior. The current exhibit features pieces that are all a part of the museum’s permanent collection.
There are gorgeous pieces from the various Dior creative directors, including Christian Dior himself. I especially loved Marc Bohan’s Lily of the Valley bride top and skirt (and veil). Other special objects featured included Dior’s personal Hermès planner, his scissors, and lucky star. If you’re in the area the exhibit is worth a visit.
Alex Néel’s Dîner Cousu-Main in Dior’s Garden
We then moved to La Bonne Aventure, the restaurant in the garden of the museum. The weather had been off and on all day, but by dinner time it was a pleasant evening. The setting is absolutely sublime with the garden, the pink house, and of course the sea below.
We started with mimosas (apparently a Dior favorite) garnished with thyme from the garden. I’d never seen thyme with a mimosa before, but it gave it a really nice flavor. We actually recreated the drink for our Saturday lunch. Afterwards there were two mise en bouche bites: one with dried beef, shallot, corn, and crème d’Isigny, and the other with green peas, white peach, onion and dill.
The garden of Villa Les Rhumbs inspired the starter and many of the products at La Bonne Aventure are grown in the garden. Néel created a cured mackerel with a farm cider vinegar served with multicolored chard, ricotta, cucumber water, and borage oil. No one knew what borage oil was (bourrache in French), so we looked it up, and it’s actually a small blue flower with numerous health benefits. In-between the entrée and plat we had a New-Look rose and jasmine tea.
The sole with sorrel from Christian Dior’s 1972 La Cuisine Cousu-Main cookbook inspired the main course. Néel served the sole with sorrel, Lardo di Colonnata, smoked potatoes, and garnished it with begonias. I’m crazy for sole and loved this quintessential Normandy dish.
We finished with a dessert by Valentin Martin, the pastry chef at La Bonne Aventure. Inspired by a profiterole, Martin created a chocolate sphere filled with raspberry sorbet and served on top of a rose meringue with rose mascarpone whipped cream. She topped it with a delicate pink opaline glass and gold leaf that gently blew in the (increasing) wind. The blend between chocolate and fruity flavors was perfect for the end of summer.
Mauviel 1830 Products
The second Dîner Cousu-Main in the garden at Musée Christian Dior was fabulous. What really took it to the next level was all of the beautiful Mauviel 1830 products used throughout the meal. Mauviel 1830 is well-known among professionals for incredible copper, but they also have quite a few beautiful and practical pieces that could be used for everyday dining and entertaining.
The tables at the dinner were each set slightly differently. This not only added charm and character, but also showed the range of types and colors of Mauviel 1830 products. While I appreciate copper, I’m not a huge fan of the color. Luckily, many of the objects come in aluminum for a more neutral look. I really loved the ice buckets and little butter dishes.
I had such a wonderful time at the Dîner Cousu-Main in the garden of Musée Christian Dior. While the dinner series was special, be sure to keep a lookout for upcoming special events at La Bonne Aventure. As always, the garden and museums are one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in the area.