As we unpack our suitcase right in the heart of the city of Cognac, a treasure that has been lingering on here since 1838 unveils: the Chais Monnet, dedicated to the production of the elixir to which the area owes its reputation.
For the record, in French, the “chai” (‘wine cellar’ or ‘wine house’) is originally the location where the winemaking process takes place. This process consists in transforming the grape must into a type of wine, in our case, the ‘Cognac’.
It is precisely on this exceptional legacy and in this atypical context that the hotel Chais Monnet comes to life.
The talented architect Didier Poignant transformed this old wine merchant house into a modern have of elegance and refinement.
With its 92 guest rooms, the hotel is a blend of modernity and tradition.
Wood and glass meet in its enchanting interiors as natural light penetrates the spaces to make them one with their environment.
But the hotel is also a gastronomy venue. Sébastien Broda's brilliant cuisine unfolds at the gourmet restaurant “Les Foudres”, but also in the meals of the brasserie “La Distillerie”, already a superb location for a weekend brunch. A majestic jazz bar, with its impressive grand piano, also offers the ideal atmosphere to unwind.
The hotel room service is a stunning surprise.
The hotel wanted to create a room service experience that would be playful, smart and modern at the same time: breakfast, lunch or dinner is served from an antique trunk, whose style is chosen by the customer.
A peaceful retreat
Guests and visitors alike can enjoy 7,500 sq. ft solely dedicated to their well-being: an infinity pool, 4 wellness rooms with the CODING signature, a fitness centre, a sauna, a hammam and a jacuzzi are at their disposal.
The exceptional facial treatment that renews and soothes the skin is a must, as well as the superb relaxing massage with essential oils…
At Sébastien Broda's table
Former chef of the Grand Hotel in Cannes and the Saint Martin de Belleville, Sébastien Broda offers a contemporary, tasty and seasonal cuisine.
That evening, the restaurant “Les Foudres” has not yet opened its doors and we have the privilege to be invited to dinner at the chef's table… We sit down just in front of the stoves, bustling with a passionate and dedicated team. Audacious food and beverage pairings give rhythm to the meal.
The cauliflower curry miso with ginger water is an excellent exordium. The celery/tangerine combination, served with a Japanese Hojicha tea with roasted flavours, also sets the pace. The savours are perfectly matched.
With serving tongs, the chef plates with utmost precision and remarkable dexterity: butternut, orange and fennel ravioles. The balance is impressive: the synergy of flavours generates a light, yet strong dish. Forget the pastry dough: here the butternut itself contains its stuffing. The dish is served with a gin and mint cocktail with an egg white emulsion.
But soon, another favourite comes in: coffee, girolle mushrooms and Charlotte potatoes, accompanied by a fruity Luberon Sepia red wine. Everything is spectacular: the dish expresses the terroir and comforts us with its savours, creamy yet not greasy on the palate.
Eventually, a creative variation of the tuberous chervil awaits us. This vegetable root, similar to celery, is now combined with an onion juice and a few drops of cognac. A 15-year-old Godet cognac is a perfect pairing. The whole dish does justice to the venue: savours are both solid and liquid and tickle our nostrils with the emanations of old wood.
Pastry takes over, with a two-step dessert: first, Douceur d'automne, featuring clementines, chestnuts and hazelnuts served with a Pineau des Charentes...
Following, a honey madeleine and a chocolate truffle conclude this splendid feast.
The experience leaves us completely astonished. Not only by this new experiment around taste, but also by the stunning opportunity to be there, with the team, and experience the creation and the attention given to each plate.
All is unique and majestic, just like the setting, which is in keeping with its motto: “We strive for excellence in all things, and this includes the warmth of our welcome”.
50 Av Paul Firino Martell
16100 Cognac, France
Photo credit: Marion Flipo
Translated by Tania Ricci