Thursday, September 29, 2005

France: 1e Jour

Déjeuner

After a long flight and a bus ride, we check into our first hotel, Le Mas d'Artigny, in Saint Paul de Vence, a town near the sea in Cote D'Azur.

First Meal


We arrive in time for lunch, or at least, the late lunch, because all that's really left is a cold buffet. My first thoughts about food from this part of France - lots of vegetables and cheese. The cold plate was about 50% vegetables, from beans to cucumbers to tomatoes (fruits, whatever), with generous helpings of a very creamy cheese (could have been creme fraiche, I was too tired to care), and not all that much meat.

Lunch wasn't mindblowing, but I was hungry and it was very filling. I could barely manage the cheese course and had no room for dessert. Sated, I settled back and waited for dinner.

Dîner

Dinner was at the hotel's restaurant.

Le Mas d'Artigny 2


French food is known for being rich, so why not start the first dinner with an unhealthily rich meal? Ravioli of foie gras and black truffles, in a delightful cream sauce. This was really good - the foie gras melted away into my throat the moment the ravioli skin broke, and the cream sauce was a good complement.

Le Mas d'Artigny 4


With so little meat at lunch, I had to have a nice thick slab of beef, and the pavé of filet of beef with caramelised pears and potato was the only logical choice. I actually thought the accompaniments were better than the main attraction; the beef was surprisingly chewy. The caramelised pear was perfect though, and the potatos were nicely browned and flavourful.

Le Mas d'Artigny 3


Dessert was hard for this one. There was no chocolate dish, or at least none that wasn't contaminated with some other base concoction, so I settled for the red fruit compote (a dessert which, apparently, is very popular in the south of France, because I saw it on many many menus). Didn't really like this one, as the compote must have been made with fruits rather too acidic for my liking. Sourness that went straight through your tongue and into the wine. Incidentally, is it just me, or does sweetness kill wines more completely than sourness? Wines always taste terrible after (most) desserts.

In any case, day two's gastronomic adventures awaited.

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