Posts Tagged ‘Chez Bruno’

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Dine Well, Dine Savvy, in Southern France

April 1, 2009

 

Peppers at the Provencal Market by Michael Gwyther-Jones
Peppers at the Provencal Market by Michael Gwyther-Jones

Having eaten out every day for the past two weeks (and set to do so for another four), I categorically confirm the following top three tips for dining well, dining happy in southern France:

 

  1. Do not be bullied into ordering a bottle of water. Even in the most multi-starred Michelin restaurant, it is quite acceptable to ask for une carafe d’eau. A nonchalant ‘une carafe’ will do should you really want to say ‘I know what’s what in this Frenchie neck of the woods, so don’t mess with me!
  2. Go on, be a devil, rip a chunk off that bread and wipe your plate with it. It goes against the best of English table manners but it’s soooo satisfying, honest.
  3. If you’re unsure precisely how to eat something, don’t be afraid to ask for un petit conseil (a little advice). This is something I have done on several occasions with magnificent results (and not only on truffling matters at Chez Bruno). Take last night at the Hotel des Deux Rocs in Seillans: As starter I ordered saumon dans un macaron et salade japonaise. What came was two plates, one displaying a ‘flower’ of raw salmon with a sweet macaroon at its centre, the other an Asian-style patty of flaked raw and cooked salmon, mixed with hazelnuts and Asian spices, and topped with tart rocket and other green. I didn’t even pretend to know which plate to tackle first, to which I was told ‘don’t hesitate to eat them together, the sweetness of the first neutralises the acidity of the second’. And indeed, the orgy of contrasting tastes was fabulous.
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Where would you stay in or around St-Tropez?

March 16, 2009

 

I leave for Provence in one week, rendering the list of what I have to do before throwing laptop and luggage in Twingo and driving six hours south decidedly daunting:-

 

  • Finalise Provence book style-sheet with Lonely Planet style guru in Melbourne and send to co-authors
  • Re-read and digest 150pp of map, book and product briefs plus too many related emails to count.
  • Discuss potential new maps with cartographer.
  • Read and make notes on 100-plus readers’ letters.
  • Create list of Provence highlights for images to be sourced.
  • Buy new Michelin Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur road map (one I have dates to 2007 when I updated the last edition).
  • Finalise day-by-day travel itinerary of Leg One: St-Tropez Area.
  • Stop dithering about where to stay, make a decision and book: in St-Trop itself aiming for Hôtel Lou Cagnard (cheap, spitting distance from Place des Lices, has its own – drum roll – free parking. Got a better idea?). Elsewhere must reserve Chez Bruno (eat, sleep, truffle cooking course: this chef’s even on Facebook); sign up for ‘Man & Forest’ hike in the Massif des Maures with the Conservatoire du Patrimoine in La Garde Freinet; keep looking for olive farms/wineries where guests can help with the harvests – any ideas?
  • Continue stuffing freezer with meals to avoid husband @luefkens and two small boys starving in my absence.

Enough chat. Best get on with it.