Posts Tagged ‘beaumes de venise’

Our holidays in the Provence were coming to an end…

Arles

We returned to Arles, but again and again, what a surprise… we discovered a new location that we had not been to in our previous sojourns in the Provence! It’s a drawbridge which was a subject of several paintings by Vincent Van Gogh. It was the replica of the original Langlois Bridge (Pont de Langlois) or better known as Pont Van Gogh.

Walk

Nearby the Pont Van Gogh was a lovely walking trail that seemed to run to infinity. The surrounding flora were very simple; dried thistles, wild berries, shrubs and bushes, fathomless stream and dusty trails.

We seemed to be walking for ages until thirst and hunger got the better of us 🙂

We returned to the car and drove back to the centre of Arles. We found a good spot under a shady tree but had to walk quite a distance passing deserted alleys and back lanes.

We finally stopped at the first resto we saw, Le Bistrot des Artistes. Surprisingly, the choice of dishes were fab, but the service was quite slow, despite the fact that we did not order a set lunch for once. From too much of walking, we did not feel like eating too much variety of dishes, but were definitely more parched. Or perhaps we wanted to save space in our tummy for the much talked about artisanal ice-creams in Arles!

Last year my friend and her family stayed in Arles and she recommended an ice-cream parlour that served only artisanal ice-creams.

We thought we found it. It’s located just outside Le jardin de la Maison de Santé à Arles de Vincent Van Gogh (once upon a time a hospital). Whew! It’s a bit of a mouthful, innit?

It was there that Van Gogh was admitted after cutting his left earlobe. The Hospital of Arles is the subject of Van Gogh’s 2 paintings; one of them was the painting of the inner courtyard of the hospital called Le jardin de la Maison de Santé à Arles (Courtyard or Garden of the Hospital in Arles).

Oh by the way, the pink-coloured ice cream parlour we went to (Glacier Fraîcheur et Délices) was not the one my friend mentioned. She went to the yellow coloured ice cream shop called Soleileis. Anyway, there were several artisanal ice-cream makers in the vicinity of Arles. We just found one that succeeded to ‘cool’ us down on a hot day and both parlours were in close proximity to Place du Forum.

Unfortunately, the day was still young and there were no stars in the sky! Sorry, no starry night, Vincent 😉

Finally at Le Bistrot de La Galine!

It was Friday and our last day at La Maison Blanche. We were to check out the next morning.

Before wrapping up our stay at La Maison Blanche, we were looking forward to lunch at the nearby Le Bistrot de La Galine. We had missed that place just a week before because it was closed on a Sunday.

I had the Bistro menu of smoked duck salad and the local specialty of Camargue, Gardiane de Taureau à la Provençale served on a bed of tagliatelle. Both the starter and the main course were good until the house dessert came. The banana chocolate tart was an anticlimax, for me at least. It was just not my favourite, however, my younger son hit a home run with his choice of dishes; ravioli, burger and fries and tiramisu!

Back for the Muscat

Last year our trip to Beaumes-de-Venise was extraordinarily special with a hint of nostalgia. This year we only went to the wine tasting cave of Coyeaux. Yes, we came back for the muscat Beaume-de-Venise! After tasting 4 different Muscats, hubby bought the muscat Beaume de Venise rosé (2016). The 3 bottles followed us back some 1k km…

Knock! Knock! Who’s there?

We headed back to La Maison Blanche and guess who came to visit us?!!

Yay!!! Our friend came back! He may not have the friendliest of faces, but I guess for a dog’s expression that would probably be translated as his sensing our imminent departure from La Maison Blanche, hence the sad drooping look through the glass door of the back yard.

By the way (not in the photo), before the littlest hobo scampered away, he peed on the shrub bed, as if to tell us that he’d be back.

I’m sure he would or did, but with new tenants to pick up where we had left off…

Bonjour! Merci! Au revoir!

À bientôt!

Until we meet again!

From Bonjour to Hola!

We checked out La Maison Blanche at 10 am and left St-Rémy-de Provence in South France direction Girona, North East Spain!

Thus, ended our Provençal vacation, and the beginning of Catalonian summer escapades!

From Bonjour et Au revoir France to Hola España!

Spain, here we come !!

To be continued…

Enjoy the rest of the week. TGIF!

Cheers !

After gallivanting around the Tuesday village market at Vaison-la-Romaine until midday, we were famished. 

Jackpot!

Our search for a perfect lunch ended at the nearby Beaumes-de-Venise. We hadn’t a clue about La Part des Anges. We just followed our instinct, as the other restaurant we wanted to lunch at, was full house, hence, we walked a bit up a hilly slope and found a somewhat quiet road with several old and vacant shoplots or terraced houses. We saw several tables on the terrace were taken except for one with four chairs! It was our first eat-out meal in France since we arrived 3 days earlier, hence, we had hit an instant jackpot!

As if that wasn’t enough, we were being served with a fantastic local wine as aperitif, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise from the local Domaine de Coyeux.

Remember Anton Ego from the Disney film, Ratatouille?  The Ratatouille he ate at Gusteau’s transported him back to his childhood?

Well, it was probably the same feeling my other half had when he had his first sip of the Muscat. It must have transported him back to a special occasion or reception he had attended once upon a time. 🙂


By the way, hubby is a small collector of wines. I won’t call him a connoisseur of wines, but he seems to know his wines quite well, while I seem to know my grudges and complaints of him stockpiling bottles and crates of wines in our small cellar. Lol!

But, honestly speaking, I liked the Muscat, too. It’s a natural sweet wine and refreshingly fruity, so no prizes for guessing what comes up next on our agenda!

We drove to Domaine de Coyeux where I experienced my first wine-tasting. We tried 3 different seemingly similar wines, but they tasted different. A Muscadine is less sweet than a Muscat, and a Muscat from different years tasted different, too. 

To me, the Muscat tasted like the Sarawak tuak. Ha ha ha …!  But a more refined, fruity and clear tuak, and less sweet and heavy. I’m glad I’m not a sommelier. I would be fired immediately. Lol!

Like all Belgians who travelled all the way to France in search for good wines, my hubby bought half a dozen of the Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise from the grapes of Domaine de Coyeux, from the production year 2014.

By the way, Muscats cannot be kept too long. They last between 10 to 15 years, however, I don’t think the 6 bottles will age past the time stamp 🙂

With the superb weather and a fulfilling day, we were all very tired. Luckily I could catch a siesta in the car while hubby was driving. The 2 boys were also dozing at the backseat. 

Home-working

To be honest, my real summer hols had not begun until I had submitted some reports from work. I knew I should not be working during my holidays, but it’s just me. I’d be freaking guilty if I had not distributed the forecast reports by timeline. 

I realised it was a real challenge for me to download all the reports. It took me ages because of the bad internet connection at our holiday home. The night before saw me hitting the sack at almost 2 am! I continued with my work the next day, thus, we had to re-shuffle our holiday itinerary. We all stayed home that  Wednesday. Ouch!

To make amends and peace with my ‘housemates’, I whipped up a tasty and rustic meal of spagbol, my version, plus mushroom soup.

While the guys were in the pool, I was juggling between working at my laptop and cooking the spagbol from scratch. Yup, multi-tasking is my middle name 😉. 

I knew there would be 3 very, very hungry tummies after the swim.  And I was right! So glad to see happy smileys on the guys’ faces gulping and downing the hefty spagbol 🙂

It was back to work for me after lunch until I finished the reports at 7pm!

Some colleagues even noticed I was online and thought I was back from my hols! Nope!

I felt a huge relief when I clicked “send”. My reports were finally distributed, and my real Summer hols had just begun. Yay!

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Domaine de Coyeux is just one of the hundred thousands of vineyards in France. Our next stop was at Château La Nerthe at Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a region famous for its best wines. The journey of 24 km was strewn with vineyards with different types of grapes grown. I noticed the earth where the grape vines were grown was covered with small stones or pebbles and was rather dry. Perhaps that gave the best result to the wines, pressed from the best grapes of the region.

I was excited and was looking forward to another adventure of wine-tasting :D. We wine-tasted some of the red wines. I tasted only one type as I felt a bit tipsy from sipping the wine. 

By the way, the proper wine-tasting etiquette follows the following process: looking, swirling, smelling, tasting and savouring or the five “S” steps: see, swirl, sniff, sip, savour. 

I think I went straight to swallowing and had a big TKO instantly! *big grin*

One consolation though, it was nice and cool in the cellar of the wine-tasting area. When we walked out of the cellar door, we felt the gush of the August Summer heat. What a contrast!

Hubby bought half a dozen of the Château La Nerthe from the production year of 2013.

We left Château La Nerthe and drove to the centre of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in search for a decent meal.

After the successful lunch deal at Beaumes-de-Venise, we chose for the complete menu of  Eur 18 at Restaurant La Mule de Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

It was a good and simple lunch but in comparison, we still preferred the lunch deal at Beaumes-de-Venise for the same price tag.


Our day at Châteauneuf-du-Pape ended at Mason des Vins (House of wines) from 90 Domaines & Châteaux.

Did hubby buy any wines?  Erm… Let me guess… I think that was the silliest question. He bought 6 bottles of Moulin des Saints Rouge 

I felt tipsy just looking at the 4.5 kg extra weight (or 6 x 750 ml)!

 

After consuming a bit too much fermented grapes the past couple of hours, I slept like a baby, only to get up the following morn for another new adventure…

See ya!

Cheers from Sunny Provence!

Sunday arrived. We had 6 guests coming at 3 pm. I had no idea how to start or what to cook or prepare as there was zero inventory in the pantry, fridge and freezer! 

Luckily, the night before, we consulted the villa owner about supermarkets in the vicinity. He was very kind and provided us with an address. Brilliant! That was a good start.

Meanwhile my girlfriend, M, was sending me updates about her contingent and going through the names of who would be coming. I have met M’s husband as well their 2 daughters and have known the girls since they were tiny tots. They have now grown to be knockout beauties!

The 2 girls brought along their schoolmates and suddenly M had to be an instant Mum to 4 lovely ladies.

M is not just a friend. She was a former colleague. We both worked at Pfizer BE in the late 90’s. We now work in different companies and we still get to meet socially when we could with 2 other former colleagues for an all ladies’ day out. Check out this post Ladies’ Day Out.

Putting my Thinking Cap on …

Thanks to the villa owner who passed us the address of the Supermarket the night before. It was definitely easier visualising what to put on the table for our guests when we were at the supermarket.

French baguettes were a life saver! And they’re in abundance where we were. Phew

To go with the baguette, there’s soup. I also made sardine dip or side dish (with chopped chillies, shallots, spring onions, fresh coriander, lime juice, salt and pepper). This went perfectly with the baguette as well.

I made a 3rd plate of the refreshing yum woon sen (my own version of the Thai vermicelli salad).

Since it’s Summer hols, we didn’t go by any dining rules. Why bother? It’s not all about food, by the way; it’s meeting and greeting and having a sense of comradeship that’re more important. Chips, nuts and what-have-you nested happily on the serving table. 

And then there were 10 of us …

Our guests arrived on the dot. 3 pm sharp! Bravo. Well done, M!

It was great meeting up with M and her family again ~ and mind you ~ in France, more than 1,000 km away from our homes. So glad that our paths crossed this Summer hols. Everyone had a fantastic time in the pool or poolside and basking in the sun and just talked, oblivious to the passage of time. 

I couldn’t remember what time M and her family left. No one kept track of the time. When they finally left, suddenly our house became so quiet…

Sunday was a fulfilled day spent with friends. Monday was a day of rest, which helped a great lot in charging our mortal batteries for the next days.

Vaison-la-Romaine

We headed for the Tuesday markets at Vaison-la-Romaine, which was 22 km away. I love going to the markets in the Provence. There is at least one or more than one village market every day in the week. Vaison-la-Romaine is just one of them. Unfortunately, it’s not my favourite village market. I’ve seen better ones at Bonieux, a hilltop village in the Luberon region of Provence.

When going to one of the village markets, we had to make sure that we left early as all markets will call it a day by 1pm. 

We bought a huge loaf of pain fermie (sourdough loaf), which lasted for 2 and half days. This was considered as fast moving and would only happen during the Summer hols. Breads back home in Belgium would often go untouched, until they get mouldy on the 5th day. Lol!

The Best Cheap Lunch Deal Ever at Beaumes de Venise!

For a complete menu of Eur 18 per person, comprising of a starter, main course and dessert, I would recommend this address: La Part des Anges at Beaumes de Venise.

We were pleasantly surprised by the excellent presentation of every single plate served for an incredibly cheap lunch menu. 

Mind you, I had one of the best starters in a long time, Tiramisu Provençal. My main course was duck meat in raspberry sauce served with French fries and salad. My dessert was the refreshingly light and tangy lime panacotta. 

The tagliatelle carbonara was my younger son’s choice of main course, by the way.

Thumbs Up for a superb lunch👍🏼

We stayed on at Beaumes de Venise a bit longer because suddenly my other half was attracted to something …

Was it something or someone? Let’s find out, so stay tuned to Part 3…

Cheers!