It was my birthday yesterday, woo-hoo, and I even got some great presents – including a CD by Antony and the Johnsons (who he?); a couple of carbon-fibre bottle holders for my bike (these are much too expensive to justify buying for myself but very welcome as a present); and the usual stocks of gloves and socks to see me through the winter.
I also had a box of handmade macaroons from daughter 1 who was shocked to find I had never had a proper French macaroon – I don’t know how they have passed me by but apparently everybody else in France eats them in great quantities.
But the highlight of the day was a trip to a local restaurant at lunchtime. Just a few kilometres from us, the restaurant opened a couple of years ago and has just been awarded a Michelin star. Not surprisingly it isn’t the sort of place we go to every day, being about 75 euros per person (plus wine) for an evening meal, and 30 euros for a ‘sampler’ menu at lunchtime.
But as a special offer they happen to be running a promotion during November where each Monday lunchtime you can have a three course lunch for 10 euros. That’s not a typo – we had a real three course lunch cooked by a Michelin starred chef for 10 euros per person! It’s quite an adventurous restaurant so I’ll tell you what we had for our 10 euros (there was no choice of menu, you get what you’re given):
starter: soup made from various pumpkins and squashes, with slices of chestnut and cuttlefish, and topped by a blob of parsley and orange cream
main-course: slices of grilled pork on a creamy parsley risotto with fresh coriander with the best ‘gravy’ you every tasted
dessert: caramelised fresh pineapple, with mango-peach-coconut sorbet on ‘baba’ (like the cake part of rum-baba) and a caramel and raisin sauce
Jealous? You should be! how much does a MacDonalds burger and fries and a large coke cost? Pretty much 10 euros I bet.
You can see more about them at Les Etincelles, including some mouth-watering pictures of what you can expect to eat if you visit (or stay at their chambre d’hote). But the November ‘special offer Mondays’ are long since booked full so I’m afraid you’ll have to pay full price!
As always on the day after a birthday, today I’ll be off cycling to burn off these excesses – I’m pleased to report it’s still pretty warm and pleasant here in the south of France, which is quite impressive for the end of November.
Now, let’s get started on that Christmas list. If I replace all the little bolts on my bike with light-weight titanium versions I’ll save about 20 grammes in weight (same as one gulp of water), they only cost about 200 euros to do the lot…and I’m sure Santa will be able to squeeze something so small in his sledge without too much difficulty…