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Friday, November 5, 2010

The Petit Beat: Rainy Hikes, Chestnut-tasting, & Quiche Lorraine

Well, here we are again at Friday - and boy, it was another quick week.  All thanks in part to our Monday holiday which meant no work for us and a long, lovely extended weekend.  Although said weekend would have been made just a tad lovelier if it wasn't for a particularly feisty thunderstorm that lasted a good four days...four very, very wet days.

By Monday, we had practically turned movie-watching into a spectator's sport; starting a Saturday night marathon that ended sometime on Sunday with a much-anticipated Time Bandits finale. And when you've traveled through the Napoleonic Wars and back again (with the help of a magic map no less), it's probably time to get off the sofa.  

Since we were rained out of the chestnut festival (sniff), here's a bit of what we got up to this week (in between Provençal squalls).

1.  Rainy hike through Collobrières
Just when I was starting to despise the rain, we found ourselves on the way to lunch in Collobrières & I was suddenly in love all over again.  The road was dotted with miles and miles of grapevines that have turned a vibrant shade of yellow with the coming of fall. 

And it wasn't only the vineyards that were awash in fall color, we took a walk through Collobrières itself to discover some pretty vistas of the region and surrounding countryside.  Luckily the friends we went with were familiar with the area, as they led us up from the main square (pictured, top), along a rushing river, to a small hill overlooking the small village.  We side-stepped a few quiet homes, and I got into romantic mode wondering, yet again, what it might be like to have a home in the country. Little House on le Prairie.

2. Chestnut specialties at Clos du Pere Louis
Although the rain threw a bit of a damper on the chestnut festival, it did nothing to dampen our desire to taste a few of the region's chestnut specialties.  And thankfully, our lunch at Clos du Pere Louis (just outside of the village) did not disappoint.

The restaurant itself is right off the autoroute, and I imagine during the summer months it becomes quite lively with all the tourist folk seeking refuge in quaint little villages just like Collobrières.

What's more, our friends let us in on a little secret - Clos du Pere Louis had a real working fireplace.  Believe me, I was already sold on the chestnuts alone, but the fireplace considerably raised my impression of the place.  Trés cozy indeed.

We ordered off the fixed-price menu and a Provençal stew (daube) headlined as the main entrée, but the chestnut plates where certainly the real show-stealers.  

We started with a chestnut bourride (a traditional Provençal soup), made with vegetables of the season, and finished with chestnut blinis - accompanied by a Cassis-soaked pear, fig purée, and vanilla ice cream.  

If it all sounds quite rich & decadent, it must-be said that our delightful All Saint's Day lunch was €24 each - including the petit glass of homemade chestnut liqueur that just happened to make its way to our table.  That chef was smooth, very smooth.

3.  Lovin' the Lorraine
Phew, I feel full just thinking about that lunch, but I have a good feeling we'll be eating a lot more in the week to come.  We're heading to the Lorraine next week to visit the boyfriend's folks, and let me just say, his mom is an *awesome* cook.  Any diet plans are being thrown out the window...awhh, who are we kidding, what plans? Christmas is right around the corner, y'all!

In honor of our trip, I'm posting a photo and recipe of perhaps the best-known export of the region - the Quiche Lorraine of course!

Part of the reason for the trip is the boyfriend's birthday, which we celebrated one short year ago in Rome with a French-themed party (everyone had to wear red, white, and blue...luckily we're all still friends).  Our friend the Quiche Lorraine was featured along with about 4 other quiches.  And now here we are...more quiches, more Lorraine, and...we're living in France.  

There seems to be a growing theme here, and luckily it all involves food. Here's a link to make your own yummy quiche via Simply Recipes: Quiche Lorraine.

Bon weekend a tous and thanks to everyone who wrote comments on the 4 Hours in Paris post! It's not too late to enter either - the winner will be announced on Monday & all of your suggestions will be posted on Tuesday. Trés cool!


  1. Can I say first,how envious I am? Rain or no rain the stroll through Collobrieres, the food spread with chestnuts as the star and a reminder how much I like quiche Lorraine- is just delightful.

    Thanks for sharing. Stay warm and dry.

  2. Thanks Velva! We had a really great day...& I'm fast becoming a fan of the chestnut. We also had a few roasted ones, but think I enjoy their flavor a bit more in dishes - so nice to discover the regional specialties.

  3. Hope you had a great weekend! I'm a little behind on my blog reading :-(

    I'm not that much of a marron fan but I think I would have been all over those chestnut blinis :-)

    Bon Lundi and cheers to another short week x

  4. Chestnut blinis with chestnut liqueur sound like heavenly autumn delights!

    I fell out of love with quiche Lorraine some years ago, maybe it's time to rekindle the friendship :)

  5. Ohhh, I love this, Tuula! What a marvelous way to spend a rainy weekend. :-) Your weather sounds very much like ours. I was so happy to see a few rays of sunlight peeking over the mountains this morning. :-) Your chestnut meal sounds amazing. Especially that blini. Yum! :-)

  6. Yep, have to say I don't really like chestnuts on their own either Sara - but the blinis were excellent & the chestnut liqueur was so smooth, not at all what you'd expect. I'm a happy convert :)

    Krista, I get a lot of inspiration from your blog - you always have great rainy-weather fun!

    Corinne, hope you get back on the quiche Lorraine boat, so yummy for fall. Ahh, bacon..:)