This was a busy weekend. There was no cleaning and no work in the fields. Two groups of friends came to see us on Saturday and on Sunday. We had 2 nice meals and went to the local olive oil festival.
On Saturday, we ate at one of our favorite restaurants in Fontvieille, about a 15 minute drive from Maussane les Alpilles. The town is about 5 minutes from Alphonse Daudet’s “famous” windmill. (He wrote a book called, Les Lettre de Mon Moulin.) We ate at La Table du Meunier. This is a charming restaurant with an outside terrace, a charming inside restaurant as well as a dining area in the chicken house dating from 1765 that holds about 7 tables. We try to go for lunch or dinner at least once or twice every time we come to our home in Southern France. The pictures show that there isn’t much left from our lunch. Just a bit of wine and 2 cookies that we finished with our coffee. We love the ambiance that comes from the owner – Thierry. He is a kick!
Maussane-les-Alpilles is located on the edge of the Alpilles Mountains. Fields of olive-trees, almond trees and pine forest surround this small but very charming village. The village is ranked 1st among olive oil production in France.
They were celebrating the new olive oil so our only choice was a 25-euro menu. (Not much of a choice?) I enjoyed my lunch, and as no one complained, I can only assume that everyone was satisfied with theirs. I started with an anchoide (anchovy paste mixed with olive oil) with raw vegetables and lamb stew.
About 10 of the large oil producers had little booths where one could buy oil and oil based products. I learned that they don’t put the date of the oil production on the label. This differs from wine labels, since one never knows how many labels you will need . There were lots of people tasting oil and buying what ever was being sold. I hope that once we produce a reasonable amount of oil, we can have a presence at this fair.
I bought a gift for a friend and a bottle of Frigolet alcohol. Apparently this is an after dinner drink made from plants and is supposed to be good for “digestion”. I could have bought prepared snails or even sausage made from snails, but I decided against that. One booth had a beautiful selection of candied fruit and another had rice from the Camargue area as well as wine from the same location.
Oh by the way, I wanted to bring this to your attention – Buying Christmas trees. This is not the same outing as in the US. This morning when I went to the Super U grocery store, I found a small selection of trees. I guess the fun part is being surprised when you open the netting and find a good tree or one with major holes.
Look for my next blog report when I will talk about the olives that are used to make olive oil as well as the local history of olive trees.