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Video: Rikard Hult, L’Épicurien restaurant
Rikard Hult from Sweden cooks delicate cuisine which adds a touch of Scandinavian melancholy to modern cuisine from the French South-West and serves it in a refined, serene setting.
As one might guess from his name, Rikard Hult, the chef at l’Épicurien, is Swedish. Married to a Belgian lady, Hult moved to France because he believes that gastronomy still holds a unique place in the daily lives of the French. An artist who enjoys painting when he has a bit of spare time, Hult has developed a particularly sensitive approach to cooking, with perhaps a touch of the Scandinavian melancholy familiar to fans of Bergman films (pardon the cliché). A complex fellow at the crossroads of two cultures, Rikard Hult creates cuisine which takes both respect for local customs and dietary considerations into account. He excels at combining briny, aqueous, raw and green flavours and textures, as well as those that are earthy, carnal and crispy. Faithful to the vision of his vintner comrades, he is unusually attentive to the marriage of food and wine and takes care so that the flavours of the former never overshadow or clash with the aromas of the latter. This is one reason he so appreciates the vintages produced by his wine-making friend Patrice Lescarret (Domaine de Causses Marines) who is his sparring partner in our film. They meet over a Mont Royal pigeon served on a bed of mushrooms and celeriac, large caramelised turnips and ground walnuts and pistachios.
42 Place Jean Jaurès
Tel: (33) 09 63 55 40 65
Hôtel Mercure Albi Bastides
41 bis rue Porta
Tel: (33) 05 63 47 66 66
Located on the banks of the Tarn (one can hear the river roaring below) a few minutes’ walk from the city centre, the Mercure Albi Hotel is housed in a superb building: an 18C flourmill built of red brick. The hotel offers magical, incomparable views of the Old Bridge and the old Episcopal City with, at the top, the imposing St. Cécile Cathedral. The hotel has 56 rooms, all renovated in 2008, a restaurant and, at breakfast, a fine buffet. Welcoming staff.