Sunday morning we headed down to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a town close to the Luberon that’s known for its picturesque waterways and large markets. I was glad that I cajoled Larry into getting up and leaving early, since finding parking by 9 am was a bit of a challenge. The market did not disappoint.
We bought a bit of cheese, and also some pretty Provencal dishcloths. We had an amusing conversation with a shop owner whose son lives in NYC, and enjoyed wandering around. We stopped back at La Thor to get inside the church, and joined the elderly parishioners for a few minutes to quickly look at the interior, which sadly had been stripped of all interior sculpture. Ah well.
We love finding ferme-auberges in the countryside in France, farms that serve meals sourced from their farm and often rent rooms. A bit of poking on the ferme-auberge website netted two possibilities, one of which was serving a sunday lunch. Les Mas des Vertes Rives is about 10 minutes from L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. We reserved the day before, which was a good idea, as the tables were full. First you get to stroll around to “meet the meat.” (forgive the Douglas Adams reference)
Lunch took three hours, and was very enjoyable. We were first offered a choice of aperitif, we chose kirs made with homemade fig juice. Served with a tasty olive-ham bread and olives. Then we had delicious eggplant mousse, popette d’aubergine. Got to get a recipe for this. Then a serving of duck rillettes with foie gras pate, amusingly made to look like a goose or swan with a tiny bread-dough head. Tacky, but cute. And very tasty. Served with salad to somewhat lessen the dietary guilt. Some time to digest, and then on to the main course, roasted duck with figs, served with roasted potatoes and a lovely chard and tomato gratin. And of course there was wine, you had to ask? The cheeses were all homemade chevres in various stages of ripeness, one being so strong Larry describe it as tasting like something died. I like the rest of them. And my goodness, finally dessert, which we could only manage a few bites of.
After lunch we drove over to the hilltop village of Venasque, which has a beautiful 9th century Baptistry that was built on a Roman site, using bits and pieces of the previous buildings. It is nicely maintained and lit, and the desk has some good info in English. The town is lovely for walking around, and also has a fine old church and partially rebuilt Saracen walls and towers.
Dinner? Don’t think so.