14 November 2005

Wine Tasting

The winemaker's prayer basically says God give me a healthy life, love from time to time, work not too often, but good wine all the time!

This was an incredible day full of what we love best about this country. We drove out to the countryside and discovered some new wineries...Domaine Devois du Claus, Emeritage and Zimbaum-Tomasi. Wine tasting here is such a wonderful and intimate view into the French culture. The tasting is free and the winemaker will take as much time as desired to ask all questions, give tours of the caves and explain each of their wines with great pride and incredible knowledge. We feel so fortunate to be able to communicate with these incredible artisans about their trade.

The restaurant that we stumbled upon was just as incredible as the wine tasting. It was like having lunch with the chef/owner at his own house. He brought each course out with a full story of its origination and subtleties. Mary Z, Mike F and our friends Sue and Niel had an incredible menu consisting of
An aperitif of a fresh peach liquor made by the chef
Foie Gras terrine made by the chef himself This was served with a wonderful local bread of honey and possibly dates spiced with cinnamon and cardamon and accompanied by a Muscat de Lunel
Lotte - a white firm monkfish - served with two types of wild mushrooms picked by the chef. The fish was fresh off of the boat locally on Friday.
A cheese plate including chevre that had been herbed with the wild herbs of the garrigue (the woodsy area surrounding us) and blue cheese that would have knocked our noses to the next country had we not already been drowsy with the wine.
Before the dessert, the chef brought us a marc that had been steeped with pine needles and a marc steeped with the local wild thyme from the wilderness around the restaurant.
Dessert included homemade ice cream flavored with the local honey and every fruit the chef had in his garden including abricot, plums, peach, and many other fresh fruits, a cake made with a chestnut ganache, flan flavored with wild thyme, anise mousse cake.

With every course, we were regaled with his stories of how he created the courses and where he harvested the ingredients. He was very interested in the organic qualities of the ingredients, but organic here is more closely defined as not interrupting the natural process...such as only milking the animals for the cheese when they are in their natural cycle of supplying milk.

We quickly noticed that our's was the only table to receive such intimate information. All others ordered, were served and left as in a normal restaurant. We were at lunch from 12:30 until 4 pm. This was no mere lunch! We feel so incredibly fortunate to have experienced this event.

The picture is how they were at the moment...a little fuzzy from all of the wonderful wine. This is Niel and Sue with Mike F and Mary Z.

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