Monday, December 24, 2012

Joyeux Noël

A French tradition, Bûche de Noël , will be enjoyed by many after lunch tomorrow.
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Top wine in 2012

As many visitors to our village and the Luberon know the area is surrounded by grape vines.
We cultivate great vines which produces great wines!
As modelled by Sheena! See you soon Sheena! X

Another great restaurant find!

Constantly on the look out for great places to eat we came across this restaurant 
in L'Isle sur la Sorgue run by French Canadians Fabrice & Maryline.

Karen's main course of Gambas came with a twist, filo pastry straws stuffed with prawns went down a treat!

Whilst the plat de jour comprised of calves Liver, stuffed ravioli, chirizo & parmisan cheese on a bed of salad.

Another great dish, a seafood salad, simple but beautiful.
Again, simple , but so often so wrong, a Creme brulee with Baileys. Very right today!

 And the classic moelleux au chocolat, quite delicious.

Whats makes the meal extra special is the price, plat de jour, dessert , a quarter of wine and coffee just 15€,
And the name of the restaurant 'Umami',
Open until early January and then closed for a month, we will sure be there in February! Go & enjoy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Autumn Update

 December is here, and it is a little under seven weeks since our last gite guests left.
During this time as well as some down time we have been carrying out routine maintenance to all of our properties and  making preparations for winter and the season ahead.

Our Olive Harvest was disappointing, caused by the exceptional cold snap in February and the trees taking a year off producing fruit!

Our bins are empty!

Well we found a few Olives!

22 Kilos to be exact, down from 48 last year and 248 kilos in 2009 and 2010.

Each november we meet close friends, who now live in Germany, somewhere in the world!
This year Rome, wow, we really loved this city.
One day of rain did not spoil our fun! we walked for miles, ate well and at reasonable cost, drank moderately!! and took in so much culture!

Our friends Roy & Andrea with Karen and I outside the Vatican.

It was amusing to see the Trevi Fountain, over run with tourists even in November - imagine the summer!

In the market, some fabulous wild mushrooms - Porcini.

Karen was in her element in Rome, her dream car, the original Fiat 500 were everywhere.

Whilst my pleasures were satisfied in one of the many wonderful wine stores!

And this bread shop had people queuing outside the door.

Back in Saint Saturnin Les Apt, the village is quiet and peaceful.
It is such a nice time of year to walk and appreciate the clean air, the light and glorious countryside that surrounds us.

A sign of the superb air clarity - the mistletoe is full of berries this year.

One of our favourite ruins, a perfect maison secondaire!

We took a quick trip to Montpellier, a very difficult city to navigate by car ( park outside and take the tram) and so headed for La Grande Motte, right on the coast, again, heaving in summer, delightful off season with plenty of restaurants open to enjoy the freshly caught seafood.

Tucking into my plate of Oysters, mussels and sea snails.

La Grande Motte in early November.

Our own interpretation of a seafood medley, dressed fresh crab, prawns, crevette grise and bulot with oysters (not shown). Delicious with a chilled burgundy!

Autumn leaves, friends commented how dry they are compared to the soggy version found in England!

Another day out, 'The Chateau La Coste' ( not related to Lacoste in the Luberon) near Aix has a wine domain, gallery, display of modern sculpture and restaurant. Note the counter is built from wine bottles. 
Well worth a visit.

As well as loving wine, desserts are my weak point! 
I came across this wonderful selection!

We took a trip to the coast, Le Lavandou on the cote d 'Azur.
As many of our friends and clients know this is an area we try and escape to once or twice during summer and Joe's restaurant, right on the beach is famous.

And this is it in November, closed & dismantled!

Karen and I on the beach in November!!

Who would know what a contrast to summer.
And this is the beach in St Clair, again a mass of bodies in summer, piled up with sand  in winter and truly deserted!

In summer we sat here having cocktails, there was a bar, tables, chairs and lots of people - and now look at it!

And then winter arrived, a little snow, minus 6 degrees.

Time to bring out the winter coats!

Me too!
Mont Ventoux is now covered in snow.
But the sky is blue, the sun is shining and with the correct attire it is wonderful walking weather.
The church in St Saturnin, is preparing for Christmas with a wonderful creche.
Whilst our cats have been doing a little modelling!

Matisse enjoying the view.
And Ginger too.

Whilst cold and snowy the light is spectacular as are the clear starry nights.
Roussillon, again now deserted of toursist in the winter sunshine.
We had lunch today in Bonnieux where the mistral was blowing but Ventoux looked as stunning as ever, the host to one of the stages of next years Tour de France on Bastille day.

We today went to Lourmarin, which was very quiet, here is the chateau normally buzzing with activity!
Who said St Saturnin was quiet! Here is the menu for New Years eve in the salle de Fete - last time we were there it was packed, we left at 2 am and from what we hear it was still going at 5 am!!

The Luberon in Autumn is really quite wonderful!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Glorious Autumn Day!

We are often asked which is our favourite month in the Luberon?
Well November has to be one of them.
This week the skies have been clear, the sun has been shining & temperatures have hit the late teens even in the shade and 30 degrees plus in the sun.

Today I was almost tempted to go in the pool!

We wee planning to go for lunch on the coast but instead opted for a day of gardening.

However it was such a nice day we decided a bottle of rose with lunch was in order! 

The temperature on the terrace today. 

And another reason we love November - the colours,
 as the Cherry trees turn red and vines a golden yellow.