Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Provence: Tasting dinner at Auberge du Tavel

After a long day of sightseeing, we headed back to cozy Tavel and to our room at the Auberge du Tavel. We spent some time at the pool, and as we read the owners were busily preparing the tables for dinner. When we booked our room, we had heard of the hotel through trip advisor, but as we got closer to our stay, surprisingly it was written up in the NY Times! The writer had eaten lunch at our cute little hotel. Needless to say, I was looking forward to our dinner. We knew it would be delicious, but were not prepared for the level of culinary skill and beauty this meal would entail.

To start, we ordered a flight of rose. Each wine from the region was paired with a course of our meal and gave the opportunity to see the subtle differences in the terriors of Tavel. The dinner was a coursed tasting menu. To begin, the escargot served out of shell, sauteed, and over small glasses of different creme sauces, one with basil, one traditional, and one that seemed to be red pepper.

Our other appetizer was a take on a pate served with amazing strawberry glaze and toasted bread. The flavors of the rich pate were accented by the tangy strawberries for a memorable taste.

Our main courses were roasted pork tenderloin served with a roasted eggplant, rather like an open face ratatouille and a roasted fish Provencal. To settle our stomachs, we were served a mini creme brulee served inside of an egg shell and this was followed by a delicious French take on what I would call a strawberry shortcake, featuring basil ice cream!

As we sat in the tiny courtyard, we dreamed of meals like this every night, relaxing with good company from gracious hosts, to a friendly Englishman at the adjacent table. The Auberge is well worth a stay for its large well appointed rooms and perfect location for wine tasting and visiting several of the larger cities in Provence, but I would go back again simply for its beautiful and deliciously unpretentious food.

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