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Dining in Provence


PaulaJ
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We ate in the courtyard (I'm not sure if they even have an inside), but its entirely enclosed so this was just about the only place we ate in the whole two weeks without any view.

Actually, there was a view from the Mas de Safran, but probably only from my seat, not Duncan's. From the right angles (either through the gate or over the walls) I had a very nice view of the reflected sunset on the surrounding hillsides.

Given the apparent lack of inside seating I was also eyeing the black clouds overhead wondering what would happen if it rained, but fortunately we didn't get to find out!

Judy

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  • 1 year later...

Hi all,

My boyfriend and I are going down to St. Remy for the weekend and would love to have couple of recommendations for great restaurants down there. We will be close to St. Remy of course, Arles, Avignon, Les Baux, Orange, Chateau Neuf de Papeetc. As it's off season it should be relatively easy to get into the good places, so hoping to hear what people think. Open to both high end and just good down home cookin experiences people have had. Thanks! Zoe

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Hi all,

My boyfriend and I are going down to St. Remy for the weekend and would love to have couple of recommendations for great restaurants down there. We will be close to St. Remy of course,  Arles, Avignon, Les Baux, Orange, Chateau Neuf de Papeetc. As it's off season it should be relatively easy to get into the good places, so hoping to hear what people think. Open to both high end and just good down home cookin experiences people have had. Thanks! Zoe

Not a restaurant, but the Sunday morning market at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is pretty legendary and, this time of year, will likely be stocked with cheeses, preserved meats and other local treats, and substantially less crowded than in the summer. Go early to beat the rush.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Unquestionably the best St-Rémy has to offer is the Hostellerie du Vallon de Valrugues. (quite a mouthful) Headed up by Laurent Chouviat, this place is a home-run. Beautiful venue, and carefully prepared local specialties. Caramelized Duck Confit and Pistou L'Agneau are some of the terrific dishes here. Do not miss!

Vallon de Valrugues

Chemin de Canto Cigalo

(3 minutes from St-Rémy centre)

04 90 92 04 40

Edited by menton1 (log)
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thanks for the tips - all taken and written down. we leave tomorrow night....any last minute must eats?

zoe

You may know better than I, but if was headed to Provence this time of year, I'd try to hunt down some game: sanglier, the wild boar; ]marcassin which is the younger version of the same pig; rabbit and game birds, maybe served as a civet, a stew finished with blood or read wine, and hopefully consumed near a fireplace with lots of burly red Rhone -- maybe a Gigondas or a Vacqueyras.

Bon voyage. I an vert with envy.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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thank you thank you. speaking of the Cabro D'Or, the other reason we're going down to provence is to check out places that we might want to get married in this summer. we were trying to find a ancien mas/prieure that isn't too stiff...not chateau...that would be good for 100 people - dinner outside not in the building. just for fun we had asked L'Osteau de Beaumaniere....tres chic in Les Beaux but their "sister" hotel - Cabro D'or is the one that does the weddings. anyway - if anyone has been to a darling hotel that isn't too stuffy but at the same time is nice and a bit chic that might make for a nice venue, please share! thanks,

zoe

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Far nicer than either the Cabro D'Or and the Oustau de Beaumaniere is the Domaine de Valmouriane in St Remy, A gorgeous olf farmhouse (mas) that has been restored perfectly inside. A bargain for the quality you are getting as well. Only 12 rooms, try to get the largest one, with a huge bath, and fabulous antique furnishings.

Domaine de Valmouriane

Petit Route des Baux

St Remy

Domaine de Valmouriane Web Site

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I have stayed at La Cabro d'Or twice and loved everything about it. I was actually going to recommend it when I saw your post, but the website says it is closed now. http://www.lacabrodor.com/US/index.html The French page is better. http://www.lacabrodor.com/decouvrir/maison.html The hotel is wonderful, and the restaurant, especially in the warm months when you eat on the terrace, is even better. For the price, the place is as good as it gets in my opinion. I would think it would be a great place for a wedding.

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Cabro D'Or is nice, but Domaine de Valmouriane is story-book heaven!! We absolutely loved the place! Their grounds would be perfect for an outdoor wedding. Check the web site link above, and see what you think!

Bonne chance avec votre mariage!!

Edited by menton1 (log)
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  • 3 months later...

Calling all foodies for help :-)

My french fiancee and I (ny-expat in paris) are getting married in Provence, near St. Remy this summer. We are in the process of looking for a caterer but have found our tastes don't seem to match with those of a traditional caterer. We just got back from a tasting at HELEN, supposedly the top de top of the south for caterer and were depressed by the tough meats, overly fancy complicated hors d'oeuvres, grey overcooked veggies and just all around bad taste of the food.

I am hoping that someone on the board will have some advice - perhaps a restaurant you know that caterers or a great chef or something. The issue is that we have a house where we are planning the party and thus need someone who can come to us. The caterer tried to explain to us that they are not a restaurant and can't be expected to do as well as a restaurant would and that it's a caterer that's needed for a wedding, not a restaurant....but I have a hard time believing that we can't do better than that.

What we'd ideally love is something refined but simple - not provencal or heavy french food - but something with great products with a twist. Imagine hor d'oeuvres of a great foie gras poilee on a superbe pain de mie ...or a lovely chevre on toast with a super tapenade....non fussy main courses like a roast lamb and wonderful mashed potatoes - simple but if the ingredients are top quality, yum!

We loved restaurants in the area like Cabro D'or or Chez Bru (Michelin 1 *) and in Paris we do little neigborhood places like Le Temps au Temps but also love the tops like L'Ambroisie or Atelier de Robuchon...just to give an idea of our tastes.

So with this, I am truly hoping that someone might know of someone or know someone that knows someone....food is super important to us and it depresses us that we'll end up with a commercial caterer that thinks frozen over cooked veggies are acceptable!

Thanks for any and all advice about this, I'm open!

Many thanks in advance,

Zoe

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I've heard that excuse from caterers before and I'm sorry to say that most catered affairs in the US or France are disappointing. "Wedding food" is not a term of endearment. It's not an expression I've ever heard used in any way but pejoratively. It shouldn't have to be that way. Americans I know who have been to weddings in France tell me the food is not all that much better than what they've had in the US.

I haven't spent much time in that area, but I know Restaurant Bru where we had a lovely meal some time ago. Sometimes restaurants cater off premises. It's a long shot, but you might contact them. It's also a long shot, but they might be able to recommend someone.

Hopefully, one of our members who doesn't believe that everyday food in France has gone to hell in a shopping basket, may be able to defend the honor of French food with a suggestion of a caterer in the area.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Zoe, How many guests do you plan to invite? That can give an idea of the kind of place you need to go.

I was also married in Provence, and was exactly in your position in the year 2000. You won't be looking for a general run of the mill traiteur to do your wedding. What you want is someone who specializes in wedding meals. One good thing to say about French weddings is that the food can be taken very seriously. Especially at weddings.

I like what you're describing in your post, about just having the best ingredients and good choices. Most traiteurs are going for look and not for content, unfortunately. You might search out some of the places off the beaten track for the reception, in the country. It's there that you'll most likely find someone who will listen to your needs.

Take photos. I know it sounds corny, but what you need to do especially if you are going to be traveling back and forth and in France for limited amounts of time is make a scrap book of ideas, of table settings, atmosphere, flowers, etc. ideas for dishes you find in magazines, Even if it's just clippings from magazines, take photos to all of your vendors and tell them you want something like it. It's really the best way to get what you have in mind. Things have a way of being misinterpreted or misunderstood even if you have someone there helping and even if you are fluent in French.

With what you're describing, you might even ask some close friends to take care of the food, ones you trust to do it justice. In that way you can most likely get the best bang for your buck.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for all the replies and help. Sorry to not have posted sooner but I wasn't recieving the emails that said there was an update to the post.

We've found a few options....one Michelin starred chef that has a catering company in Paris but is extra expensive and one in the south who is no bad but not great.

We're still in the search - maybe will try Lyon. More soon!

Zoe

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Ask the catering people at the Four Seasons Provence.

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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we're still planning on having the wedding in st. remy, but we've been told that most caterers are used to travel. since there are quite a few big towns nearby, I've started putting out some feelers. starting with the michelin starred restaurants and calling to see if they cater outside the restaurant. so far the moulin de mougins has said they do. will find out cost tomorrow.

any ideas?

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Hello again,

I recently posted looking for help about a caterer for my wedding in Provence this June. We haven't had a ton of luck finding a good one, so I'm going to take another route...

If you have any suggestions of restaurants, please let me know, I will contact them to see if they do catering from time to time.

What we'd really really like in terms of cuisine, is the idea of simple, uncomplicated food - a wonderful roast lamb, pommes de terre puree, foie gras - but done on a very high level. Best ingredients, perhaps a twist in a recipie...but not complicated. No mousses, napleon of crab, etc...

The example I'm trying to recreate is what I ate at Chez Bru in Eygalieres (have already contacted them to see if they will cater...waiting for response).

So if you can think of a restaurant in Provence or the Cote d'Azur, Michelin starred or not (but close perhaps), that seems to recall the type of cuisine we're searching for...it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks very very much in advance. I promise to post pics of the wedding!

Zoe :smile:

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The example I'm trying to recreate is what I ate at Chez Bru in Eygalieres (have already contacted them to see if they will cater...waiting for response).

Zoe, why not give us a description of what you had at Chez Bru.

In the meantime, I can provide you with the number for the restaurant that catered my wedding, it was simple traditional food and quite good.

La Cerisaie in Belgentier

04 94 48 98 77

We had sangria aperetifs with little toasts, then a buffet with lots of things, then magret de canard with various simple vegetables, salad, a cheese course and desserts. The wines were quite good, served in unlimited quantities. Since we were on site, the group stayed until 5am, and the wine kept flowing... From what I remember it was about €60 a head with aperetif including drinks, buffet, full service main dish, wines, cheese, and desserts.

The only thing I would do differently would be to order the cake from a cake specialist and not the restaurant.

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Thanks Lucy. I'll look up that restaurant. And I totally agree about the cake. I'm sort of toying with the idea of having a friend fly over with one...there are such cake experts in the states!

As for what we had at chez bru...honestly I can't remember the dishes exactly, it was about a year ago - I usually take notes - I should have then!!! But the dishes were simple - I think I had porc but it was roast with all sorts of yumminess - simple a bit sucré - but delish. It's jus the vibe at Chez Bru that I adore - food that is traditional - roasts or simple meats - no vertical food or complications - and the dishes melt in your mouth. Food is of the highest quality and there is always a little plus (like the sucré with the porc). The decor and ambiance also reflect that "we're in the country, but we have great taste...simple but very high level". I hope this helps. Going to call Mme Bru now and get the final response.

Zoe

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