A culinary highlight during my time in France recently: eating at Alain Ducasse’s La Bastide de Moustiers restaurant in Moustiers Saint Marie in Provence…not far from the Gorge du Verdon (a mouthful!). I was in the area hiking and mountainbiking with my brother and it felt just plain wrong not to eat there. I was reminded that it was here in the region while scouting MrandMrsSmith …they look after the hotel and restaurant on their site.
Let it be said: the French know how to plant food on a plate perfectly. Somehow it doesn’t come out all pretentious and silly. It’s all for a reason. Just enough fussiness to show a carrot the respect it deserves. Just enough jus or smear or garnish to make a turnip sing. There is no superfluous flourishes, no excess, always just enough and always respect for the process of eating.
This is why the French don’t get fat: they’re not at war with food. They’re at ease with it.
I admire the way the French eat. I really do. But back to Bastides….
I ate nine courses, sitting on a terrace overlooking lavender fields and olive groves with that Provencal light that sends Peter Mayle-ites into spins. I’ll share more pictures of the various courses below. But first to course four: a plate of vegetables. Yes. A plate of vegetables. All picked that morning. Supremely fresh and sweet. They were served before the meat (pork) arrived. Which is a nice idea. Too often vegetables are seen as fodder, to be doused in sauce, mopped up