Even with all the crazy stuff going on in the Huffington world right now, we do have our laser beam sights set on two special dates coming up this year: June and September. That’s when we’ll pack our bags, leave a forwarding email (or maybe not) and head off over the pond to gorgeous and glorious Provence with a group of fun, adventurous and hopefully hungry travelers.
It’s so fun when a trip can be healthfully hedonistic (and somehow it’s easy to do at Les Murets). It’s all about eating what’s ripe and in season so the flavors are bursting with every bite. It’s all about eating leisurely and taking one’s time to savor and enjoy every little bite.
Dinner’s ready at Les Murets
It’s all about lively conversation, meeting new people and finding common ground over simply but beautifully prepared meals.
It’s all about the ritual of the meal – a nicely set table, some candlelight and plenty of time to savor and relax.
And the wine…well, the wine is simply sublime and a hugely integral part of the whole Provencal experience.
Among lots of other things, we’re happy that our weeklong Provence tours pay due homage to the French tradition of honoring food and the special ceremony of the meal.
At lovely Les Murets, breakfast is as simple as a freshly-gathered egg, a slice of perfectly ripe Cavaillon melon (these are tiny and perfect little melons grown in Cavaillon…they look like mini-cantaloupes but the taste is nothing like you’ve had before…) and maybe a slice of fresh bread or croissant, smeared with locally produced jam and a sliver of slightly salty butter.
The days revolve around lunch: where, what and when. We time the market visits around the lunchtime destination so on Tuesday, it’s a tiny little restaurant in Oppede (a pretty as a picture village near Les Murets). The restaurant is a small little spot and everyone who works there wears about five hats. Jean-Marie is in charge (when he’s not managing his transportation company and driving tourists all over Provence) and we’re pretty sure the nice girl who takes the orders is also busy in the kitchen barking orders and plating the yummy salads and delish main dishes that make up lunch.
Lunch in Oppede.
We love this picture of lunchtime Provencal wine…with the Diet Cokes in the background!
Another favorite spot is gorgeous Ile-Sur-La-Sorgue, the antiquing capital of Provence. The market, brocante and antiques are feasts for the eyes and after a few hours, everyone needs a feast for the tummies. One of our preferred spots is a beautiful little spot off the beaten path. The menu is limited to the day’s offerings…and we’re always delighted with what is set down in front of us. (Plus, it’s sort of a hot spot and you never know who you’ll see…)
The garden setting of our lunchtime pick in Ile Sur La Sorgue is divine…
It’s always fresh, creative and elegantly presented.
And, it wouldn’t be a trip to Provence without a stop at the well-known Bistro du Paradou. Loud, energetic and totally unpretentious, this little gem always seems to win awards for its amazing cheese tray – not to mention the eggplant appetizer and…if it’s Wednesday it’s rabbit, cooked to utter perfection.
Lots of ooohs and aaaahhs for the fabulous cheese tray.
Bistro du Paradou…could it be any prettier?
Over in nearby pretty Loumarin is La Cour de la Ferme, you get to sit outside on a terrace with umbrellas shading you from the sun. The menu is carefully chosen and is always perfect. The wine is sublime. The company is fun and relaxed. It’s nirvana. (And, the last time we were there, we were pretty sure Britsh author and Provencal celeb, Peter Mayle, was sitting near us.)
Dessert: all gone.
But, the best meals of the trip always seem to happen right at home on Les Muret’s terrace. Whether it’s the magical Provencal light, the camaraderie of new and old friends sharing countless adventures over the week or the simple and fresh food, we’re not sure.
One thing’s for certain: no matter how much delicious wine we drink and meals we inhale while we’re there, we never gain weight! Call it the French Paradox or what you will…we just call it a wonderful time and a little slice of heaven.