The Four Hour Lunch
Having worked up an appetite touring the monastery, it was with great pleasure we found ourselves at Le Bastide de Moustiers. The founder and we presume current owner, Alain Ducasse, is perhaps the most prolific and high profile Michelin Star chef and owner whose food we have tried. Of course, the highlight of our experience was the company we kept. This is how it should be and our lunch was the perfect compliment to that delightful engagement with Andre and Anna.
Le Bastide is a beautiful inn with a cozy and intimate feel. The staff was engaging as you would want them to be and the food was locally sourced, always something we appreciate. We did join our hosts in taking a Pastis to start our meal. We tried two different recipes and preferred the local more delicate blend of herbs over the more common variety found throughout the region. It did go to our heads a bit and we both were a bit flushed from the experience. The rabbit and veal steak, which appeared somewhere near the third hour, were both quite enjoyable. Somehow we managed to roll out the door in time to gather up the kids from school and head to the farms for…
Vegetables and Snails
Thank goodness the area had been blessed with some rain while we ate. After a stop at Anna’s favorite vegetable farm for the ingredients she needed for ratatouille, we stopped at the snail farm. The fun part was that the rain had coaxed all the snails out from under their boards. The sad part was that fresh snails were not available due to some type of licencing restriction the ensures they only raise the snails they purchase. Apparently, breeding snails is not allowed and they must process all their snails at one point and start over with live snails they purchase. This may have been a little glimpse of the French bureaucracy that seemed to pop up when we chatted with business owners there. Or it may have just been that our timing was off. In any case, snails would not be on the menu that evening.
Gifts from Hawaii and food
We opted for a moment to return to our casa for what the Spanish would call reposo, to lounge while the meal settled before we resumed the consumption of yet more food and more drink. Our mutual friends, Carl and Deb Ramsey, had sent some gifts for Anna and Andre’s girls and after having the opportunity to lay flat for a few minutes, we headed off to present their gifts. The girls, ages 5 and 7, had received two dolls previously, that had traveled from Illinois via Bulgaria before landing at their new home in France. Deb had sent us with gifts for them, and watching two very cute French girls open their packages was like Christmas come early. They received doll outfits and accessories. Watches, necklaces, bracelets, multiple outfits, shoes, sunglasses, etc. Too much at once perhaps, but delightful indeed.
Leaving the girls to play with the numerous outfits, the adults had a chance to sip on a little wine and chat about their house, the neighborhood, the schools, and other bits. May and Scarlet eventually joined us in the kitchen and May created a yarn lei and a headband for Deb and Carl as a thank you for the gifts. We’re planning on getting a picture we can share. Anna made a delicious meal of ratatouille with some French bread and local hard sausages. We returned to our inn a little late satiated and content.
More Food and Away
Just when you thought we might be done eating, we ended our visit the next day with a visit to both the cute little village of St. Croix and the gorge that makes this area famous. Since sightseeing can build a mighty big hunger, we enjoyed another great meal in Moustiers. In a demonstration of restraint, we kept it to two hours. To that end, it was time to say goodbye. Off we went to Nice to catch a plane, leaving behind some good friends and memories.