The coquiles St Jacques with market vegetable burger at le Clos du Patre.
Jambon baguette at Bedoin with a cyclist returning from Monte Ventoux
Day two started pretty early for Iain, after a relatively early night woke up quite early when it was still dark and went off for an explore around Caromb, walking up and down all the little lanes and streets and into the town centre.
We then made the short 50 metre walk up the steps to the bakery for croissants and baguette for breakfast, which we ate on the terrace with the first rays of sun shining over the wall. After breakfast we made for the post office to try and organise an address where our bags could be sent. They were very helpful so we made the call to arrange it with the airline.
It was then off to the car and to Carpentras for a look around at the shops and the beautiful old buildings including a 1300 year old Roman archway. It was here that we saw our first French supermarket! cheeses behind glass that stretched for 15 metres then pate and jambon, then meat and poultry then fish! Mackerel, tuna, octopus you name it! We then turned our backs on all that and aimed for the alcohol section with Champagne, brandy, wine, beer you name it! We picked up a Poire Willlam and a champagne we had never heard of for about 40euros! Leaving with only some basics saving space for markets tomorrow.
Then to another little town (Bedoine) for a ham baguette and a beer at the foot of the Monte Vontoux. There were cyclists everywhere, we guessed it was where you parked to ride up the famous mountain.
We had made a booking for le Clos de Parte, the best restaurant in the village, earlier in the day and made the short walk for 7 o'clock and were able to sit out on the terrace under nothing but the sky and choose the special menu for a choice of 3 dishes plus an amuse bouche, glace and truffled goats cheese.
The Amuse was a coarsely chopped, oily tomato tartare floating on top of an almond cream.
Elysia began with the house made foie gras terrine which came out with a little duck prosciutto and the (we didn't know this yet) same garnish as every other dish, dressed oak lettuce, a beautiful little radish and a quartered cherry tomato. Iain had the Entree de Marchet a salad containing all the best of what could be found at the market including tiny fresh water crayfish, a beautifully smokey piece of salmon and tomatoes.
Second dish for Elysia was the boef roti seared eye fillet with mushroom sauce and potato gratin. Iain had roasted lamb shoulder with lots of lemon, duck breast, barley risotto and sauteed chantrelles and giroles.
Third dish was a passionfruit sorbet containing little bits of frozen chopped peach drowned in poire williams from Avignon (just up the road!). The passionfruit and alcoholically-aromatic pear spirit worked very well together!
Next up the truffled goats cheese, a fresh curd cheese with a dollop finely chopped black truffle bound with a little oil, along with the standard lettuce, radish and tomato. Very very truffly.
Dessert. We struggled to finish a chocolate brulee and an apple clafoutis. The brulee was perfectly set and the clafoutis contained apples caramelised to a point just before they became bitter. A very nice way to end the meal! In all le Clos de Parte was trying a little too hard and had lost focus on the best local ingredients that are about at the moment and tried a little too hard to tizz up the presentation on the plates, the food though was tasty and quintessentially French!
We drank a bottle of the local rose from le Domaine du Grande Jacquet 2008, fresh crisp and fruity it was perfect for a warm night on the terrace.
Our first full day in Provence was exactly as we had hoped it would be. Pretty countryside, warm weather, ancient buildings and rich food that's slightly backwards by Australian standards but where flavour is considered above presentation (presentation being low on the list of things to do).