Provence - Day One
Today is our first full day in Les Roux, a very small hamlet of 59 inhabitants located between Peypin-d'Aigues and La Motte-d'Aigues two slightly larger villages about 30k from Aix-en-Provence.
Red-eye flight from Toronto to Paris, a 2 hour wait at the CDG TGV station at the airport, a 3.5 hour train ride and, after picking up our car, a very kicky little Peugeot, an hours drive through the countryside being misled by the GPS which didn't know the location of our village any more than we did. Fortunately we had arranged with the caretaker of the property to meet us at a little village that the GPS could find who led us to our home for the next 10 days.
The hamlet of Les Roux is sited on the top of a little knoll surrounded by vineyards and off in the distance are the Luberon mountains. The hamlet really is tiny and our house is a very charming renovated village home with a rough barrel shaped ceiling, rough white-washed walls and nice big fireplace which we immediately lit as the evening was chilly. We had planned to go the Cucuron market today but after yesterday's travels we fell into bed at about 10 after a very good dinner of local wine, lamb and vegetables and for the first time in years we slept the clock around and did not waken until about 11:00 this morning.
Showered, dressed and jumped into the car to get to the market which supposedly finishes by noon but when we arrived at 12:30 it was till going strong and so we stocked up on cheeses, some fabulous looking white asparagus about the thickness of my thumb, some roasted pork and lamb and a little terrine of fois gras. Another very good dinner ahead.
Had an epiphany while having dinner last night. Have read enough in the last couple of years about locavore cooking, 100 mile food sourcing and eating home-grown foods, as we all have, and it made sense at some levels, however I felt as if I'd been hit between the eyes with, not the concept, but with the reality of the concept as we ate our dinner. We had stopped at a large hypermarket in the only big town in the area, on our way to our little house last night to pick up supplies and things for our dinner. This was a a large supermarket serving the needs of the town and surrounding villages so we expected, like Loblaws, that there would be a very wide selection but that it would be fairly generically supermarket food shopping. We were therefore very pleased to find 6 different kinds of freshly dug new potatoes, 4 varieties of artichokes, and a whole variety of dressed meats ready for the oven.
We bought a little loin of lamb wrapped and tied with thinly sliced fresh pork fatback, some just picked asparagus and some little new Marilyn potatoes. Being very tired and a little the worse for wine, our cooking techniques were a somewhat lost in haze and fumes, so it came as a really pleasant surprise to discover how wonderful the food tasted and how enjoyable the meal was as a result.
I have always believed that food was a result of good technique and that a good cook could always make it work. For the very first time I felt the force of wonderfully fresh, locally grown foods and really understood how content can surpass process. Our dinner could have been better prepared but the quality of the ingredients just shone through.
Had a pleasant lunch at the outdoor patio of a restaurant across from the market and tried to think of 5 good reasons why we shouldn't buy a little farm and move to the south of France; gave up after not finding any so our fate may be sealed!