Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Week in Provence

The trip from our meal in Bordeaux to our next meal in Carcasonne, was somewhat without incident. David, having been there in 1960 remembered that Carcasonne, a 13th century walled city was quite extraordinary. So we doubled back from the highway, parked the car in a lot not unlike Arlington National Cemetery, and began to search for some chow. It was about 2:00 and we were starved and just wanted a quick bite. But it was France and not uncomplicated. The omelet place we stopped at first did not serve omelets after one. The second place was about as unfriendly a tourist dive as we had ever visited. After years of travel and eating out we have learned that if the Karma is bad the food can’t be good so get out. But we waited and waited and until we got up to leave, the waitress failed to acknowledge that we were sitting at a table she was supposed to serve. As we walked out she attacked David to see if he was Spanish or German (surprisingly she listed 3 or four countries and never mentioned the U.S). He was just short of asking her if she were the Gestapo, but we were too hungry to start a war. Finally, we spotted a raggedy guy eating a pizza in the middle of a courtyard and figured that was where we wanted to be.

After lunch we trekked on to our next meal, which was to be with new friends, Michael and Sarah Brown. They run a program for would be chefs and aspiring historians called, “A Week in Provence.” ( )Sarah is not only a gourmet chef and brilliant historian, she is also and engineer and has a PHD in archeology. Michael, who was a pal of Soozies when she worked as a bartender (a few years ago), was a successful Washington lobbyist gone good. And he too, has a most interesting background. Back to the important stuff.

With Michael and Sarah at Les Martins
You will note that in order of our priorities gourmet chef is right at the top. Despite both their laudable accomplishments, they are ‘just plain folks’ who are enormous fun.

Misa, the Browns ever faithful dog, attending a lunch in La Fontaine
Their program, which is housed in a wonderful farmhouse surrounded but their vineyards, cherry trees and an olive grove, includes touring the magnificent countryside and learning the simplicities of Provencal cooking.

An Almond Joy of a different kind

It’s a great place to take a break, eat wonderful food, drink plenty of their wine and relax.

Lavander, for sale by the Cartful, in La Fontaine
We only spent two nights, which was not enough time but was packed with non stop chewing, conversation and laughter. Sarah whipped up some of the greatest meals we have ever experienced, (she insisted some were merely leftovers), including a winter salad with homemade mayonnaise topping the hard cooked eggs and the largest selection of cheese I have ever seen served on a platter.

Le Mayonaisse (or is it La?)
You are probably wondering if we will need extra seats to fit on the plane.

Michael amid the smoke of a Lamb-roasting set of coals

Well, thank God Soozie and I are traveling on free business tickets and David can disappear anywhere.

An actual duck moment in La Fontaine: No Photoshop used in this picture!

And speaking of God, La shana tova for all you who understand what that means. The two days passed too quickly after a teary au revoir we headed out for our next meal. We’re Just Sayin…Iris

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