Pilgrimage to Provence

“Pilgrimage to Provence:” Memories in a Glass

Saint Pal de Vence.

Twenty-six close friends enjoy a leisurely lunch al fresco at Restaurant Le Tilleul, a sweet, hilltop spot in Saint Pal de Vence.

Our final prix-fixe event of the year, “Pilgrimage to Provence,” has a very special meaning for me and the two dozen Carpe Vino Wine Club members who journeyed to the south of France in early October.  We spent 10 days eating, drinking and touring our way across one of the most alluring regions of this dazzling country.  And for all of next week, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the epicurean delights we encountered–from fanciful rosés, to lusty Chataeuneuf du Papes to stunning cuisine.

Join us from November 17 to November 22, starting at 5 p.m. each evening for Pilgrimage to Provence, four courses with choices for $59.95 pp++.  Chef Alexander, who is trained in classical French cuisine (at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY) and has traveled in Provence, has created a menu that exploits the regional preparations and Placer County’s seasonal produce.

Designing the menu was a challenge:  The Thanksgiving holiday forced us to move the prix-fixe schedule up a week; and the classic Provencal dishes focus on fresh produce available in the summer that, of course, are no longer in season (think tomatoes, squash and the like).  So, Chef Alexander is capitalizing on what is available in the market now.

Click here for the full menu that features dishes such as Steamed Clams Bouillabaisse, Fall Vegetable Soup Au Pistou, Herbs de Provence Roasted Chicken and Tarte Au Citron.  Sounds very much like my four course program next Wednesday when my fellow Provence travelers gather for a reunion in the Wine Mine, complete with multi-media presentation of the trip.  Oh mon dieu, it’s going to be a four-star evening!

And adding to the decadence will be a remarkable selection of wines from Provence and the Southern Rhone.  Not to worry about me going all Francophile on you, but we’ve brought in some tasty, 90+ point Chateauneuf du Papes that will knock your crew socks off.  We’re bringing back Atmosphere Brut Rosé, a sparkling wine from Provence, and we’ll have a rosé from Mas de Cadenet, an estate we visited owned by the same family for nine generations.

So, take my advice and make reservations now by calling the restaurant at 530-823-0320 or go to www.opentable.com.  This is the last blowout dinner of the year and the menu is gonna be–to borrow a phrase from a Republican presidential candidate–HUGE.