The featured image for this post that you see before you come into the post, is of Nicolas Laty – visit him at his website – he does magic work with glass. More about him further down. The photo above is the top of the chocolate mousse desert we had at Philippe Da Silva’s restaurant, Les Gorges de Pennafort.
Tour of Provence – June 11-21
Day 6 – June 16 – Leaving L’Aube Safran and travelling to l’Hotel du Clos, Le Rouret. Fantastic 17 course lunch at Hostellerie Gorges de Pannafort, Callas, Michelin star restaurant, and meeting a very talented glass maker, Nicholas Laty.
As we left the Le Barroux area, I wrote some observations:
1. It is a lavender growing area.
2. So many vineyards – most of which were very tidy. If the grass growing under the vines is not kept clear, then it can be too humid for the grapes and they can go mouldy. The best vineyards keep their vines in good shape.
3. Truffle trees – in some areas a special type of Oak tree is being planted instead of olive trees. The truffle fungus is put into the roots of these trees. There are areas with some quite old trees which are open to the public, but some farmers are planting their own trees. Winter truffles are much tastier than summer truffles.
4. There is a bug in the Olive trees that needs a cold winter to be kept under control, and unfortunately, recent winters have not been cold enough to control it, so for some Olive oil producers, their harvest has been declining. You can’t harvest the olives if they have this bug.
On the way we had to go back through Avignon and then east towards Cannes and Nice.
We stopped for lunch at Hostellerie Gorges de Pannafort, Callas, a Michelin star restaurant run by Chef Philippe Da Silva.
We were supposed to have a 5 course lunch (costing 75 or 85 Euro!) but because Corinne and Chef know each other, our maybe 2 hour, 5 course lunch turned into a 4 hour, 17 course lunch! (They were mostly amuse bouche size = really small portions).
Luckily we had nothing else planned for the day apart from getting to the hotel. Even though we didn’t pay for all the extra courses, we did have to pay for the extra bottled water (very expensive bottled water we discovered later) and the wine that was drunk over that 4 hours! However, none of us are ever likely to experience that sort of fantastic lunch ever again but if we had known it was going to happen we wouldn’t have eaten the bread rolls! Even though they were delicious rolls.
Originally our table was out on the terrace but it was just so hot that we asked to be moved inside where there was air conditioning. It was a good move.
We had crostini on the table when we arrived, then 9 Amuse Bouche courses, 1 main course, 5 desserts (not so small either) and a tray containing a macaron, a lemon tart, a cannele, a strawberry tart and a lemon meringue! I counted the crostini and the desert tray as one course each!
Pineapple tomatoes w basil sorbet (L) Langoustine and caviar (R)
Sea bass with chioggia beetroot (L) Low cooked egg with rocket cream (R)
Beetroot capaccio with avocado icecream (L) Duck liver ravioli with truffles (R)
John Dory w fennel, olives and parsley sauce (L) Lime granite w cranberry sorbet (R)
Main – Sea Bream w langoustine sauce (L) Panna cotta w cherries + yoghurt sorbet (R)
It was all delicious and so beautifully presented.
We did start to struggle with the amount of food by the end, and you can imagine our amazement when we had received the Panna cotta and we thought that was it, and then a tray with 4 more deserts appeared, and then the tray of finger deserts turned up, and another one came with our coffee which we had downstairs!
As we were leaving, a glass artist, Nicolas Laty, website www.nicolaslaty.com was unpacking items for Chef to look at. They were just amazing. He also has a facebook page – www.facebook.com/nicolaslaty. I would love to have been wealthy enough to buy one and ship it home! I just have to make do with photos 😦
The blue jelly fish on the left is fluorescent and glows in the dark. The Hot lips Hoolihan (from MASH – a tv show from way back when) green fish doesn’t!
After this we rolled out the door and headed towards Grasse and then on to Le Rouret where we were staying at the Hotel du Clos. It used to be a farm and the rooms are in stone buildings.
My room was the two windows and door in the picture on the left.
I walked with Corinne to the local market shop and we bought some light food for our evening meal – none of us wanted, or needed, anything much at all.
The hotel has a swimming pool and it was a great temperature – warm enough for me to go swimming even with a cold. It was painted black and I am sure that helped the water temperature. The water in the blue painted swimming pool at L’Aube Safran was actually quite cold.