Thursday, October 13, 2011
In a trip marked by beauty, charm and history the most magical nights were spent at Barbabelle, Claude Verbraeken’s amazing estate just south of Baudinard. Surrounded by 94 acres of olive groves and Chenes Verte or Green Oaks, the kind that host Truffles, this is one of the special places on the planet.
The first such evening was wine and cheese at 11pm after a concert at a Danish composer’s home. If you get the impression that some worldly and talented folks keep homes near Baudinard you’d be right. Feature bottles being passed to the patio through a window in the kitchen of a 17th century Provencal mas (farmhouse), candles flickering and cigarette smoke swirling in a soft summer breeze. A movie moment to be sure.
Second was an early evening dinner, very un-French, after a classic deluge that transformed summer into fall for a few gauzy hours. And I use the term dinner loosely. It was really late lunch at Chez Francoise morphing into a dinner-like meal at Barbabelle. A movable feast of pungent cheeses, peppery saucisson, figs and grapes from Claude’s trees and more rose. Certainement!