One of the quirks of the weather here in Provence is the winds that sweep through.
Sometimes, it’s the nonstop Mistral, blowing from the north with icy blasts that go on for days and were said to drive people insane with the constant howling. Other times, they come from the west, as is the case today.
The ride to the dialysis clinic in Salon was made a bit more exciting this morning by wind gusts of 80-100 km (50-60 mph) that buffeted our car and blew branches from the big trees that shelter and line the roads. More than one branch smacked into us, and we were lucky that the windshield wasn’t cracked by one.
David dropped me off about 100 metres from the dialysis centre, and the wind filled my coat and blew me like a kite the rest of the way to the lobby. By the time he returned to pick me up, the temperature had climbed a bit (from 11 degrees C to 16) but the wind continued to howl. In places, it swept up large clouds of dust that obscured the road.
We decided to head directly for Molleges, a small village near Eygalières, where an excellent restaurant – Mas du Capoun – packs its dining room with locals each day for a terrific lunch. It’s owned and run by the Roumain family – Michael in the kitchen, Michelle running the dining room, plus grandma and some of the kids helping out. The food is absolutely wonderful, and would draw a crowd anywhere, but the 24 Euro prixe fixe lunch (including two glasses of wine) makes midday dining here a real attraction.
Michelle greeted us with kisses and hugs and escorted us to our table. The place hadn’t filled up yet, so there was some time to catch up with what was going on with them – recent trips, etc. Then, it was time to get down to business. We sipped on our kirs while perusing the menu. The prixe fixe choices looked good, except that the fish was cod, which I had eaten for two of the last three meals, so we opted for the 39 Euro full menu.
Several selections caught my eye, but I decided to start with the ravioli with shrimp, lobster and scallop, followed by roast farm chicken with potatoes (maybe I could sucker David in for another bet…) David went right for the salmon belly (think sushi) with Quinoa, mozzarella, and a garnish of caramelized vegetables with ginger. He went all fish, with a picatta of lotte (monkfish) with a spicy chorizo.
David ordered a bottle of l’Eole rosé and we were all set. The food, as always, was superb. Beautiful presentations and cooked perfectly. By the time we started our main courses, the place was jammed, with everyone having a great time. The English couple next to us said that they came to the area every year for several weeks, and ate at Mas du Capoun once a week for lunch. They watched as our dishes arrived, and then ordered exactly the same thing.
While we’re not normally dessert people, Michelle’s description of a chocolate dish changed my mind – besides, they are Belgian, and who makes better chocolates than the Belgians? It arrived, looking too good to eat, but I soon ravaged it and ate every bite. David went with their small cheese plate, which Michelle accompanied with a glass of local red wine, a Syrah/Grenache blend.
More hugs and kisses as we exited into the winds, promising to come back next week before we leave, then off to St. Remy to get a few items at the Intermarché there.
While the Intermarché in Orgon is closer to us, it does not have as broad a selection in some areas, so we decided to trek to St. Remy where we knew we could find everything. Our list contained la Mere Richard St. Marcellin cheese and San Marzano tomatoes. The San Marzanos that the store carried were excellent, as good as anything we get at home, so I have decided to make marinara or another sauce in the next few days.
We found everything we needed, and headed back to the mas. The winds had died a bit, and the temperature climbed another degree or so, but it was still far from an ideal day. Arriving at the mas, we saw Patrick and invited him for a glass of wine later.
At around 5:30, we put out a small spread on the kitchen table – sliced baguettes to go with a nice Roquefort Papillion and 30-month old Comté, fresh strawberries and cherries, and some of the local chips. Patrick arrived, and the next few hours were spent catching up on all the local news, and what was going on in his life. We always have an enjoyable time, especially as Patrick has a great sense of humor, and he and David feed each other straight lines. He remembered Anne and Jay from their October stay, and recalled our memorable evening with them at the Auto Musée. That lead to a decision to go back there early next week for some fun together, and then Patrick departed and we turned in, as tomorrow is market day in Eygalières. Hopefully, the wind will calm down a bit.