le tasting room

Loire wine tours, tastings, day trips from Paris & short breaks organised by experienced English wine trade professionals.

Monday, 18 January 2010

La bûche de sot l'y laisse

We had dinner with a group of friends from around the world on Friday night at Le Clavier, a restaurant in Avrillé, close to Angers. A diverse lot from England, the USA, New Zealand and France - we all met through the English Language Library in Angers, a great library that organises a whole plethora of activities throughout the year for Anglophones, their friends and families.

Looking through the menu, there was a dish that meant nothing to me. La buche de sot l'y laisse, chou vert et marrons au curcuma. Sot is French for 'stupid' or silly,' laisse from the verb laisser, to leave. The dreaded 'y' in the phrase meaning 'there, here' and the 'l' referring to 'it' whatever 'it' is. Luckily, our French friends were able to explain. The sot l'y laisse is an expression that refers to the 'oysters' on a chicken (or other bird for that matter). Those two little nuggets of sweet sweet flesh that are tucked away underneath the bird hanging on for dear life to the carcass. Many people aren't even aware of their existence. We always argue over them in our house and I often pick them off the carcass after dinner is done, quietly in the kitchen when noone is looking.

I just had to order this - for the name alone. What came was a large cabbage leaf in which were tucked, 4 large juicy 'oysters' or sot l'y laisse, with a rough purée of chestnuts flavoured with turmeric.

So, 'sot l'y laisse' roughly translated means, the fool leaves it, only a fool would leave it, it would be foolish to leave it. I totally agree - what about you though - do you eat the sot l'y laisse?


  1. Chicken oysters - carver's perks - I'm no fool! Appetising post, thank you.

  2. Thanks Brett - other carver's perks include the best crispy fatty bits on the roast beef and more than my fair share of crispy skin off the duck!