An Enchanting Evening at Bastide de Marie

IMG_4401

Just a skip down the road from our rental in Ménerbes, we returned to la Bastide de Marie for our final evening of our yearly trip to Provence. And the meal won for best of the trip, though a couscous and garbanzo dish from an auberge in Brantes was hard to forget!

This year the weather was perfect, in the month of June, and the tables were set up outside overlooking the vineyard. We started with complimentary apéros and appetizers before moving over to our table for the evening. Soon the sun was setting, and as if with the stroke of an artist’s hand, the color of the sky was changing moment by moment. A Provençal sunset is a sight not to be missed.

IMG_4421

IMG_4510

With a small, select menu to choose from, we chose the fish and the lobster. It’s the “secret” sauce that makes the meal in France. This was exquisite! And of course, like last time, the wine of the domaine was included throughout the evening.

IMG_4474IMG_4478

 

IMG_4496

Ending our trip with an evening at la Bastide de Marie was special. But really, anywhere in Provence, even sitting on a rock overlooking the valley while watching the sunset would be a special evening indeed.

IMG_4513.JPGÀ bientôt!

The 42-Euro Omelette at la Maison de la Truffe et du Vin du Luberon!

IMG_4109.JPG

At the top of the dreamy village of Ménerbes within a 17th-century mansion is la Maison de la Truffe et du Vin de Luberon. Year after year upon visiting this village, we would peer curiously through the iron gate of la Maison de la Truffe into the most beautiful, intimate garden on the side of a cliff and would wonder what it would be like to dine there. Yet, we always walked away feeling intimidated by its elegance.

IMG_4110IMG_3859

This time we did it! And to our surprise, the restaurant, which is called la Cantine des Gourmets, even has a plate of the day at lunchtime that comes with dessert and a glass of wine for just 20-25 euros! The day we visited, it was cochon du Ventoux, which was excellent. My curiosity though was fixed on the 42-euro omelette. Why was it so pricey? The black truffle of Provence, which is also called the Périgord truffle and nicknamed the black diamond.

IMG_4108IMG_4103IMG_4127

The omelette was indeed delicious, and we would definitely return for the truffle-inspired dishes and the elegant setting at la Maison de la Truffe et du Vin de Luberon. There is also a cave for tasting the local wines of the Luberon along with a beautiful gift shop with books on Provence, truffles, and all kinds of regional products.

IMG_3863.JPG

But don’t forget that for just five euros you can get just as delicious of an omelette or a quiche just a one-minute walk down the hill to Chez Auzet.

IMG_3865.JPG

À bientôt!

Chez Auzet at the Top of Ménerbes

IMG_3784.JPG

Hungry during the afternoon when restaurants and grocery stores are closed in Provence? Then head up to the top of Ménerbes for the most delicious quiche for just five euros! If you want to splurge, you can spend seven euros and get salad with your quiche.

There are two choices—either quiche Lorraine or quiche Provençal—along with a selection of croissants, pain au chocolat, and biscuits to choose from.

IMG_5592.JPG

IMG_5584

After two weeks of frequenting Chez Auzet, I guess we were accepted as locals. Each day, we saw the owner cooking omelettes and other delicious looking dishes for his family. So on our last day there, my husband decides to ask if he can have an omelette even though it is not on the menu. A young cook of the family who was cooking that day says, “OK.” My husband asks for champignons, but the cook says, “No champignons.” He comes back in a few minutes and says, “We have onions.” So for just five euros, we receive an award-winning onion omelette from a kitchen that looks like it is right out of a cooking school.

IMG_4340.JPG

IMG_3788.JPG

Little did I know till now, the owner, Gerard Auzet, has been a famous baker for quite some time. He had a bakery in Cavaillon with a cult following for years, which was written about by Peter Mayle in his first book. Because the bread was that good, Mayle and Auzet joined together in publishing a book all about breadmaking called Confessions of a French Baker

The village of Ménerbes, where Chez Auzet is now located, is a village of dreams. Here is some of what you will see as you make your way up the hill to this salon de thé.

DSC01008.JPG

DSC01232

IMG_4164.JPG

IMG_4344

I know I write a lot about omelettes. But the French omelettes are just that good! So soon I’ll have to tell you about the 42-euro omelette. Yikes!

À bientôt!

La Bastide de Marie Nestled Among the Vines

IMG_3665

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.

IMG_3669

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.

IMG_2504

IMG_2503

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!

IMG_3657

IMG_3650À bientôt!