Tag Archives: picnic

Glamping under the Provençal sun

It wasn’t too long ago that we were doing “glamorous camping” in Tuscany, but while neither that b&b or this one in Provence tout themselves as glamping accommodations, I couldn’t help but point out the details that made me feel like I was living large and comfy in the great outdoors. On the day of our departure I remarked to the hosts of Le Jas du Boeuf:

“I wake in the morning and on one side of the room, I watch the sun cast shadows on the roller shades — it’s like I’m in a big tent. And then when I turn around and look out the window, I’m in the middle of nature. Right out the door is the pool, so there’s your glam!”

Chenes room - interior
The Chênes room at Le Jas du Boeuf

Morning view from the room Chenes
We had the pool to ourselves most of the time as other guests were away for the whole day.

There’s enough space between the 4 rooms (2 are located at the main building) to afford an atmosphere of privacy. The outdoor kitchen/dining area next to the pool is handy for simple meals. We had fun putting together a picnic and eating right next to our room.

Picnic in Provence Picnic supper at the pool

And coffee and dessert afterwards, plus the obligatory Maddie-on-vacation photo. So yeah, the pool was the main attraction being that we’ve never stayed at a place like this.

Dessert by the pool Maddie at the pool

Only once did one of the resident dachshunds come by, but it was more of a property patrol instead of a visit. We saw them at breakfast every morning at the main house. Dachshunds can get pretty vocal (I can sense the collective nods of doxie owners reading this!), but they were super friendly, especially Addis who came out to greet us from the very first day.

Addis and Maddie

Peillon, perched villages, patisseries and picnics

Inevitably, Perosa Argentina’s proximity to France meant that we could not come this far without going all the way. We usually cross the border via Montgenèvre to the east of Torino, but this time headed south, and for the first time ever, used the Tunnel du Col de Tende, just 20 miles south of Cuneo. There is no tariff to traverse the 2-mile tunnel, and it was fairly quick even if only one line of cars is allowed to pass at a time. There was about a 15-minute wait (on either side) before the queue got the green.

Balcony view from Auberge de la Madone
Balcony view from Auberge de la Madone in Peillon, France

Our hotel lay in Peillon – one of those tiny villages perchés that are so cute to look at but often a pain to reach. The pain was mitigated by the fact that we would be driving through a scenic route that included old french villages and the things that we love best about them: boulangeries, patisseries and fromageries.

Tende, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
1st stop, Tende. Boulangerie des Merveilles is on the road that passes through the village.

Boulangerie des Merveilles

This is the first time I’ve come across the onion tart pissaladière (center). What awesomeness it was! The custard tart and pastries (frangipane, apple and apricot) were for next morning’s breakfast in bed because at 20€ per person, Auberge de La Madone’s petit-déjeuner is ridiculously expensive. Maybe if they had promised truffled eggs with foie gras…

Goodies from Boulangerie des Merveilles
Yummy french pastries.

The next day came all too quickly and we ate our pastries and italian coffee (I’ll have to show you my set-up one of these days) at dawn. There was a long haul ahead of us to return home – the same way we came instead of the quicker Nice-Genova autoroute – but not before stocking up on more goodies and one last picnic.

Sospel
On the way back to Italy: Sospel in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France.

Patisserie Alexis Demaria in Sospel scores big for desserts, but what caught my eye from the start were barbagian / barbajuan, a sort of fried ravioli said to be the national dish of Monaco. The seasoned filling is made with chard, spinach, rice, and parmigiano and they were a bit expensive at 3.20€/100 grams, but the taste makes them worth every cent.

Chevre from Auchan and barbagian
Chevre stash from Auchan in Nice; barbagian from Patisserie Alexis Demaria.

Desserts from Patisserie Alexis Demaria
Raspberry tart, lemon curd tart, chocolate eclair! Around 2.50€ each.

Tuna bento from Auchan in Nice
Mini tuna bento (7.10€) picked up at Auchan supermarket in Nice.

Salmon and tuna chirashi from Auchan in Nice
Salmon&tuna chirashi (12.80€) from Auchan’s made-fresh-daily sushi department in Nice. We also had a baguette and french charcuterie!

Dining al fresco: breakfast, lunch, dinner & merenda

While our neighbors come and go on their respective summer holidays (it seems that when one family returns, another one takes off), we take advantage of good weather days by eating outdoors whenever the mood hits. Lazy weekend breakfasts, quick and easy lunches, picnic dinners, and best of all, a late afternoon merenda (snack) with a glass of wine and a plate of nibbles. We have a couple of days planned in Tuscany to check out local food festivals, but other than that, we’re fine with the rest of the season looking like this.

Breakfast al fresco
Stonewall Kitchen pancakes, cappuccino, greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and canadian maple syrup!

Teddy Bear Picnic Day 2014
Freeze-n-serve mojito, gazpacho, bbq ribs, farro salad and chocolate-hazelnut tart.

Merenda al fresco

Piromàfo made from 100% Negramaro grapes. The name, of Greek origin, literally means “fire fighter”. From the website: The local population uses this word to indicate heat-refracting soil. The name of the grape Negroamaro has very old origins; it seems to be composed from the link of two words, niger and mavro, one in Latin and the other in Greek, that in both languages have the same meaning black or dark, just like the colour of the wine. Pair with roasts, game, raw shellfish. Very good also at the end of a meal as a meditation wine.