The seasons in the south of France, nature's celebration, slowly lifts the veil revealing blossoms, crops, the work of the hand, the harvest and eventual a feast at the table. Around the Provencal countryside, where I live, I am reminded of home. Not that the crops or flowers blooming in the fields grew in my rural hometown of Willows, but, the way the seasons unfold, the silent steadfast work of the farmers out in the field, the evidence of nature providing, the circle of life: Seed, bloom, harvest...
Valensole, the town sits like an amphitheater which is located on the top of the plateau next to the valley of Notre Dame." It is surrounded by many other little villages, though stands above with a spectacular view of wheat fields, mustard and rows of lavender fields.
We stopped for lunch at the Grand Cafe in the center of Valensole,
A picturesque medieval village in the region of Haute Provence, in the north by the Alps, Le Grand Café serves Provençal Specialties every day of the week.
I ordered a salad, expecting green lettuce, a few tomatoes, and black olives... Instead I received a masterpiece that if I weren't perishable I would have taken it home as a piece of art. As salads go it was one of the best I have ever had. Delicious was too simple a word to describe it.
Whenever I taste something that unbelievable good, I literally stop and let it melt slowly in my mouth. One bite of something good is a meal in itself. Seriously, have you ever eaten something tasteless where you find yourself searching for the taste, waiting to be satisfied with the next bite? Where as one bite of something sublime satisfy instantly?
The salad at Grand Cafe was sublime... Can you imagine the rest of the menu!? My mouth waters.
And as the unfolding of the day should have it, I thought I was going to admire the lavender fields that were barely blooming and instead had another slice of life surprise me. Why should I ever plan anything? Life does it on its own whether I am ready or not.
Had a panna cotta based, which is usually served sweet. Though in this case it was not. On top of it was a subtle garlic Italian thick tomato sauce, which was topped with the following:
The vegetables were "baby" version, the mere stage of ready, but not full grown. The tenderest of mache, roquette, red cabbage thin as a hair slices, red and yellow peppers, cut into tiny cubes lightly grilled then marinated in lemon, a homemade tomato sauce.
Mozzeralla cheese, black olives, baby radishes cut into flowers and then bits of marinated carrots weaved inside! And baguette croutons.
For exact details you will have to taste it yourself in Valensole and beg for the recipe.