21.06.2010 - 21.06.2010 25 °C
The morning woke ahead of us in our comfortable lodging in the home of M&M (Mark & Michael) as I call it.
Breakfast was exactly like we saw on the internet, Alfie included, and our chatty hosts helped us plan the itinerary for the day. Except this time we were there:
We were half an hour away from the Mediterranean so we reckoned we ought to slip down there. There were several sweeteners which made the choice easy. They had established a relationship with a local winemaker, an ex IBM executive, who produces a wine called "Vincent" amongst others at La Grangette. We didn't buy it but we tasted it upon our arrival. Quite tasty, fruity and nearly a full palate. We wanted to get a photo of the bottle and Karen and I sitting under the table at our lodgings just so we could say "we drank Vincent under the table" but he had thrown it out.
We also learned about Picpoul de pinet grapes and a couple of links are provided for the wine aficionados amongst you:
A sign at La Grangette celebrating the 'cepage' or variety of grape:
The flavour for us was not unlike that described in the notes on the site above. Then we citroened on to Marseillan, the home of Noilly Prat, a vermouth which is still being produced in the manner it was some 150 years ago. We decided to taste their products just to reassure ourselves they were still doing a good job. They were holding a degustation talk and tasting as we arrived so we joined in. Interesting, although we are slow learners we reckon we recognised several more words in the talk given in French of course. Encouraging!
Karen bought an apron at Noilly Prat and was delighted to be told she could work their now in her apron, French looking thing she is.
Well, Marseillan is on the lake between Sete and Agde and is only a hop skip and jump from the Mediterranean. So away we went and drove along the narrow stretch of land separating the lake from the ancient sea. Just out of Sete and acting upon the recommendation of M&M we stop at Villeroy and wandered barefoot onto the sand. We are not sure if this was genuine Mediterranean sand or sand bought in to supplement the beach; didn't really matter at the time because we figured they hadn't been supplementing the sea itself.
We decided to eat, unusual that, at L'Oala (I think the spelling is correct) which is a tented restaurant on the beach. We chilled out there for nearly two hours soaking up the sun and the view of the settled, glistening blue Mediterranean despite the strong off-shore wind. And, no vapour trails across the largely unclouded sky. After dragging ourselves away we wet our feet in the sea, fun. Mind you, our ancient Australian beaches have finer sand than this part of the Mediterranean.
Karen in the Mediterranean:
We drove through Sete, a large fishing town with the town embracing the canal and the fishing boats. No need to stop as we were oyster hunting.
To prove we did, herewith:
At Bouzigues we planned to have fresh oysters with a glass of the picpoul de pinet. Damn those French. "Déjeuner est terminé."
We avoided an international incident and headed back being 4pm. Ee had decided to have a easy, layback night gathering our thoughts and thinking about Barcelona ahead. We were willing to take the risk of the local pizzeria. Much like a take away pizza back in Australia, but not before I caught the patisserie just as it was closing at 7:30 at night. The pizza, washed down with a chilled La Grangette cabernet franc was a kind of comfort food. Jack asked about a meat pie and sauce. We never thought about it and haven't see any. I wonder what our mate Heston Blumenthal would do with a meat pie?
One of the nice things about France is that the shops generally are open later after their siesta over lunch. Even small shops in small villages. The taste of his eclair and pomme tarte after pizza was not small however.
We had enjoyed a fun day and gently eased ourselves into a restful sleep.