Sunday, April 5, 2015

buona mangia

Well...I'm happy to be back with my wonderful friends the Coulshaws in Roquessels.

It was a wonderful trip last week across the southern part of France and into Italy. I ate very very well and want to share the deets...
before I left, Simon roasted sanglier(wild boar). It was flavorful, juicy and delicious- the way we wish pork could be. It had a nice nutty flavor (I like to think from all those acorns in the garrigue) with a red currant jus and roasted potatoes it was a feast to fuel me for my coming days of travel.

I stopped at Arles, a beautiful village at where the big Rhone river splits and forms the Camargue delta. I wandered a bit, bought a small quiche from a patisserie and hit the road to Cassis. This is the picturesque spot I found myself rosé in hand and staring into the Mediterraneé.

That night I went back to the same restaurant where I found the same waiter with the nice crinkly eyed smile. I ordered fish soup and grilled dorade. It was simple and fresh and tasted beautifully of the sea. I think he was concerned for my solitude and brought me a nice limoncello with my tarte tatin. Little did he know I love my solitude but I quite enjoyed the local limoncello too!

The next morning fortified with croissant and tea I headed to Bandol. It was market day all along the harbor.

Beautiful but busy and too many people for my liking so after a short stroll along the beach picking up sea glass - quelle surprise there's a lot of green! I headed east. I decided to check out St Tropez because I could. It looked like a busy place so when I saw a small beach along the road leading into town I pulled up onto the curb (typical french style), parked, locked the car and took a walk in turquoise water looking across the bay to snow capped Alps in the distance. The sea glass bounty was even better here.Can you believe I'm even writing this? That the treasure hunting was better in St Tropez than Bandol?? Someone pinch me.

Look at the Alps!

Feeling the need to put in some miles I decided to forego Monte Carlo and headed to Menton. A gorgeous citrus filled town right on the border of Italy. I found free wifi (pronounced weefee here) to check in with my Airbnb host, had a delicious chai, scoped out the beach and crossed the border into Ventimiglia, Italie.


I loved this place instantly. I did not regret my decision to extend my stay and had some of the freshest, memorable, most gorgeous experiences and seafood of my life.
spada (swordfish)carpaccio with shaved local artichokes
I had a glass here (or 2) of Pigato, a local white made of Vermentino grapes, it was light, dry, peachy with nice minerality. It was perfect with this fresh seafood and soft delicate beans.
uber tender squid with these very special local white beans- simple, buttery and just heaven.

then I found the market place....

Though it was hard to leave that oasis I decided at about 4 pm on Friday that it was time and that I needed to go back to Roquessels. Of course the whole world was also in their cars traveling the auto routes across France for Easter weekend so the trip took awhile. But I traveled with an almost constant smile on my face as I recounted the beautiful moments of my few days. It was a lovely evening with a gorgeous sunset that lasted for hours. I arrived at Simon and Monica's doorstep tired and full of stories. They made me tea and listened well past when we all should have gone to bed.
Yesterday Simon allowed me to follow him to a natural wine tasting. Such fun! Then we shopped together and went home to create a yummy meal of seared duck breast, braised fennel, asparagus and white beans with garlic and rosemary. Of course we opened some of the favorite wine from the tasting.
Man, did I go to sleep happy.
Today is Easter Sunday.
The Coulshaws went of to church and to be social. I happily stayed here for some sun and a few visits about town. I now sit rosé in hand on their sunny deck. I'm looking forward to cooking with Simon again. Leg of lamb is up next.
Oh, which wine will we open first?

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thanks for reading!