Saturday, September 8, 2012

More Provence Touring, Wine, and, of course, Food

We set out after breakfast to see more of the area.

First Destination was back to Vaison-la-Romaine, the same town where we went to our first Market earlier this week. This time, Hallie and Mary were showing us some of the sights, starting with the Chapelle Saint-Quenin, a church that was built in 1100.

It is said to be one of the most beautiful examples of Provençal Roman Art.

We walked through the chapel out to the lovely cloisters.

In the same area, we found Roman ruins.

Driving a short distance, we walked through part of Vaison that is above the town center where the weekly Market is held.

This is the hotel where Mary and Hallie decided that this part of Provence was where they wanted to buy a house. They had been teaching cooking in Paris and coming here to unwind between classes.

Vaison reminds me of other French towns that I've visited...St. Paul de Vence and Les Baux come to mind.

I love the feel of Vaison and it's cobblestone hilly streets and amazing views.

We left historic Vaison and headed to Crestet to taste chocolate and nougat at a factory that makes both.

I tasted several nougats and liked the one flavored with lavender the Provençal. But, they had none wrapped in plastic wrap and fearing how it would travel, I bought an orange cinnamon flavor that was already packaged.

The chocolate bark was certainly tempting.

Then it was back to Maison Mollans for a mid-day class and lunch.

Today's topic was fougasse, a French version of Focaccia. Hallie believes in creating recipes that take no more than 5 or 10 minutes to prepare. Her Fougasse meets this criteria.

After mixing the yeast dough, you let it rise in the refrigerator for a few hours. Her "secret cooking accessory" while it rises is the cover for the bowl. Can you guess what it is?

Yes! a shower cap...the kind like most hotels provide in the bathroom accessories.

Before heading out for the afternoon outing, we lunched on Pissaladiere, an Onion Tart, most often found in the south of France.

Hallie used the Fougasse dough for a base and the topping was caramelized leeks.

To go with the Pissaladiere, we had the other night's duck and chicken casserole served cold with a neighbor's homemade tomato chutney.

I am not a big aspic person and did not care for the gelatinous quality of the cold casserole. I'll always serve mine hot. But the tomato chutney was delicious by itself.

Fans of Kermit Lynch's wine selections would think they'd died and gone to heaven with our afternoon of wine tasting.

The wines from Domaine de Durban in Beaumes de Venise are some that he imports.

We had the place to ourselves and tasted white wines, from a light Viognier to the fabulous sweet Muscat.

Not only are the wines at Domaine de Durban delicious, they are so inexpensive. The ones we tasted ranged in price from about $6 a bottle to $15 for the Muscat. You won't find these prices at Kermit Lynch, but you will find some of the wines.

Also, this winery is in a scenic spot high on a mountain.

The reason we only tasted whites at Durban was because our second tasting was in a tasting room in the center of Gigondas, which is at least as famous, if not more so, for their red Rhone wines than nearby Chateauneuf du Pape.

Kermit Lynch also imports a lot of Gignodas.

The tasting room has every wine made in Gigondas. By the way, there is no charge to taste. I tasted several..all very wonderful.

By now, the afternoon was gone and it was time to go home for dinner: Sausage Night.

Read more about this in my next post.

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