In New Haven, Tuck Into Tourterelle's Gallic Gourmet Eats | 7 Nights Spotlight | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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In New Haven, Tuck Into Tourterelle’s Gallic Gourmet Eats 

click to enlarge Tourterelle - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Tourterelle

You could say there's a "French spot" along Route 7 between Middlebury and Ferrisburgh. For years, Christophe Lissarrague served up spectacular French fare in Vergennes. To the south, Roland Gaujac used to cook at the 1796 House, a longtime landmark along Vermont's western corridor.

Roland's Place is now Tourterelle — French for "turtledove" — where Bill and Christine Snell are carrying on the Gallic gourmet tradition. The American chef and his Breton wife left Brooklyn in 2009 to open a little place in Vermont. They've since established relationships with local farmers and are cooking up Vermont products using rustic French techniques.

The elegant setting has France written all over it. Photos of Loire Valley cathedrals adorn the walls, and Christine, who runs the front of the house, directs her staff with a heavy ... accent.

Location Details Tourterelle
3629 Ethan Allen Hwy.
Middlebury Area
New Haven, VT
802-453-6309
closed: Mon., Tues.
French

Ready to eat? The vegetarian tartiflette is a good place to start — or you can have it as a main course. It's filled with seasonal vegetables and potatoes from local farms, then baked with slices of reblochon cheese. The fromage melts over the vegetables to create a country version of pommes de terre au gratin.

click to enlarge Tourterelle - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Tourterelle

In winter, the menu is all about hearty stews. The bean stew — cassoulet — is slowly cooked with ham hocks before a veritable mixed grill of garlicky sausage, duck confit and braised lamb is added to the mix. Boozy-tasting boeuf bourguignon, served with crispy polenta on top, melts in the mouth. Year round, Tourterelle's signature dish is its unconventional bouillabaisse, a fish stew with a base of Thai red curry and a side of saffron aioli.

At dessert, Bill marries American tastes with French in his chocolate-chip bread pudding. The tender pastry is topped with housemade chunky peanut ice cream and sits in a pool of caramel sauce like an enlightened Snickers bar.

Like almost everything on Tourterelle's menu, it's a pleasing blend of Old World and New.

This article was originally published in 7 Nights: The Seven Days Guide to Vermont Restaurants & Bars in April 2011.

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About The Author

Alice Levitt

Alice Levitt

Bio:
AAN award-winning food writer Alice Levitt is a fan of the exotic, the excellent and automats. She wrote for Seven Days 2007-2015.

About the Artist

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen

Bio:
Matthew Thorsen has been shooting photographs for Seven Days since 1995. Read all about his work here.

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