In the Pursuit of Provençal Honey

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Need a break from wine tasting? How about honey tasting? Although, I don’t think anyone tires of wine tasting, especially when in Provence and having access to Côtes du Rhône wine in abundance. But the honey in Provence is divine, with hints of lavender, thyme, rosemary, chestnut, acacia.

Scattered throughout the region are honey farms, where the local honey can be tasted and purchased. Local honey can also be found at the outdoor markets held each day throughout the villages. Here are two producers that we have enjoyed.

Miellerie Lo Brusc: Located in the rural village of Viens is a honey shop run by the Bresc family. These honeys are perhaps the best of the region. You can also purchase gorgeous soaps, candles, sachets of lavender, lavender oil, and other specialties. (Rue de la Porte Neuve, 84750 Viens; Phone: +33 (0) 4 90 75 24 42)

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Produits de la Ruche by Marc Agnel: Next stop is a farm located near Gordes in the countryside of Murs. Here there is another lovely shop to taste and buy honey. We were even able to have a peak into the workshop. (la Charlesse – Route de Gordes, 84220 Murs; Phone: +33 (0) 4 90 72 05 82)

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Do take a break from wine tasting and taste some honey. Local honey and goat cheese together on a salad will not disappoint.

À bientôt!

La Bastide de Marie Nestled Among the Vines

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Just outside the village of Ménerbes lies an 18th-century residence nestled among 57 acres of vines, surrounded by cypress and olive trees, and scented with rosemary and lavender bushes all around. La Bastide de Marie is an intimate, luxury farmhouse—a Provençal oasis in the Luberon to be discovered.

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I had heard mention repeatedly that dining at the bastide was an experience not to be missed. So finally, we decided to splurge and experience this hidden retreat for ourselves. I must emphasis the word “splurge,” as this was not our usual bistro or café dining. So to justify, we decided we would celebrate our anniversary a few weeks early just to make ourselves feel better.

The evening menu consists of a prix-fixe selection. It starts with an open bar on the outside terrace overlooking the vineyard, offering wines of the Domaine de Marie, kir, pastis, or whatever you choose. Along with that a delicious buffet of appetizers is laid out in the inside dining room. As we sipped our apéritifs, a waiter came over to review the evening menu. We then moved inside to the gorgeous dining room to choose our table. In the summer months, tables are set up outside in view of the vineyard. But on the cooler evenings, the inside dining room offers beautiful views as well.

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The menu includes an entrée, a plat, cheese, dessert, and coffee. You also have your choice of limitless wine from the domaine. Your waiter returns again and again to refill throughout dinner. With the unlimited wine, we reasoned that we were actually saving money with our splurge. If only! The red wine of the domaine was outstanding and was our favorite of the trip. It is well worth stopping by the cellars for a tasting and to buy a bottle or two, since it is very reasonably priced.

Here is a little view of the food at the bastide. We thought it was quite good. It didn’t surpass our favorite restaurants of the region, but the atmosphere is enchanting indeed.

La Bastide de Marie is part of a small group of exclusive destinations of Maisons and Hôtels Sibuet. I would imagine the rooms are just as inviting as the grounds. I’m always nervous to stay at hotels, fearing that noise may be an issue. However, I asked an older gentleman who was staying at the bastide if the rooms were quiet. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said that he normally suffers with a sleep issue but had the best sleep of his life while staying there.

Dining at la Bastide de Marie is indeed a special treat. But as most would agree, all of the Luberon, all of Provence, and all of France is one big treat!

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IMG_3650À bientôt!