Just back from an enchanting weekend in the south of France. Karl and I stayed with our friends, Ossi and Paul Burger, in the house they rent every summer at the village of La Garde Freinet, 25 minutes up the hill from Saint Tropez.
Ossi, an extremely capable yet unassuming cook, had for us a majestic meal as soon as we came out from our first run of the pool. Paul got the line caught Loup de Mer at the tiny fish market in Saint Tropez (see above) and Ossi served it in a light broth, made with tomato, fennel, saffron and Pernod. How appropriate!
Cheese - Chèvre frais, Reblochon and Beaufort – Paul got next door to the fish market, at a hole-in-the wall shop selling a huge array of French cheese and run by the entertaining Carmen and Dominique (photo above).
The wine was from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Paul and Ossi went to the famous estate Vieux Telegraph hoping to come back with cases of the famous wines. Instead, they managed to buy a case of wonderful Gigondas 2003, Domain Les Pallières.
There was more, but at some point you just sink into blissful unconsciousness.
The next day we were at the famous beach club 55 in Saint Tropez, where we saw some (literally) unreal bodies descending from yachts for a bite at this 50 year old establishment.
Dinner was at a fantastically hidden-away little restaurant in the village of Cogolin, where Anne and Philippe Audibert have been running and admirable two-man-show for years. The menu at Grain de Sel is minimal, made out of what Philippe buys at the local market and nothing else and is typically Provencal/North-Italian. The highlights were veal confit with roasted vegetable, risotto with wild sea bass and lemon and small yet full of flavour strawberries drizzled with vanilla infused olive oil. Wow!