A walk near Puyricard: Aix and surrounds
Yesterday, I was invited to lunch in a little town called Puyricard. I know a couple of people that live there, and it is a cute little countryside town 10-15 minutes outside of Aix-en-Provence. This was meant to be an English lesson for my friend, but it turned into a beautiful walk and a typical French lunch.
The English lesson becomes a beautiful countryside walk
Once there, we left the house and went for a walk for an hour or so, which took us through many fields and winding country roads. Although, as winter has just ended, it was difficult to discern what exactly would be growing in each of the fields we passed. I was told there are lavender fields, olive groves, wine vineyards, wheat farms (she told me “cereal“), and everything else you may find at the market. There wasn’t a home that didn’t have some kind of field surrounding it, and many of them had a patch of land covered in vines. I can only imagine the wine cellars in these, not so humble, abodes.
At each turn, the Mont Saint Victoire loomed in the distance. On this day, she was trying to peek through the clouds, and although partially hidden, her presence was as strong as ever. My friend said she’d love to have a little house where she could sit every morning over coffee and look out at this beautiful view. Who wouldn’t?
Near Puyricard hungry beasts make their presence felt
As we walked through fields and wooded paths, we saw signs of wild boar that had made their way through the area. We wound our way amongst big ditches where they’d been digging during the night. It’s incredible the damage caused and how deep the ditches are that these animals dig in their quest for food.
I once saw a friend’s garden after an evening of moonlight feasting nearby. The whole yard was a mess of turned earth where hungry beasts had come in search of a meal. Thankfully, they are nocturnal. I don’t think I’d want to come across one of these creatures. They seem dangerous.
The ritual of preparing simple meals in France
After our long walk and talk (mainly in French), we went home to have a little lunch. I’m always amazed at the effort that goes into these French meals and my host did the usual.
She started by pulling out the cheese, eggs, salad, and bread and then shouted,
Ohhh, I have some truffle, leftover. Let’s make a little omelet.
It sounded great.
So, I stood in her kitchen as she peeled away at every leaf of lettuce, spinach, and fennel and washed each piece with care. I then offered to dry it in the salad spinner, which had a pully on it, almost like a doll’s toy when you want it to speak.
So I stood there, pulling and pulling at this little string to get all the water out of the lettuce. As I did that, my friend grated the big piece of truffle. She asked me to smell it.
Ahh, comme c’est bon!she cried.
She then grabbed the little container it had been sitting in and inhaled with her eyes closed – as if she was in a dream and transported by the aroma of a bottle of perfume – she was looking at me, eyes wide open, then placed it under my nose.
Smell. Isn’t it wonderful?!
I had to agree; the aroma was absolutely amazing.
Now the Omelette
So, after she sniffed the truffle, cleaned the lettuce, and grated a carrot to put in the salad, my friend broke the eggs and got ready to make her omelet. I noticed that she put a big chunk of butter in the pan, moved it around to be sure the whole pan was covered, she then put in the scrambled eggs, and just let them cook, untouched. Once they were almost finished, she sprinkled the entire pan with the truffle.
That was it!
Rich aromas and food fresh from the garden or market
It was one of the nicest meals I’d had in a while.
We ate the omelet with the salad, then continued with some more salad and cheese. Everything was fresh, and everything was local. It was full of flavor and sunshine. This was the best part.
It was a really lovely day. 11,000 steps, beautiful scenery, and a simple French lunch that only the French can serve.
I can’t wait for our next English lesson (LOL)
How well do you know Provence? Have you ever been to Puyricard? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
1. Puyricard surrounds copyright Suzanne Vidal
2. Google maps
3. Wild boar in Provence via Google images
4. Making a truffle Omelette via French Entre by SGillies