Our Vacation Rental Homes in Sablet, Provence

Sablet Village, Vaucluse, Provence, France
Maison des Pelerins and La Baume des Pelerins, or "les Pelerins" as we affectionately refer to our dream come true, of owning our own homes in Provence, are located in the heart of the Vaucluse. We thoroughly enjoy hearing from our guests to "les Pelerins" that they feel they are spending time in their own home in Provence. To be a part of village life, Sablet is the perfect place. "Les Pelerins" dates back to the time when the Popes administered the Catholic Church from Avignon, with a Papal Vice-Legat having a residence right here in Sablet. Our neighbor's home was the Vice-Legat's residence. Ours was one of the buildings that housed visitors and pilgrims and was connected to it, as we can see from the internal portals, and the front door of Maison des Pelerins. Hence the name - Pelerins is French for pilgrims. I hope this Blog will help you get to know Provence and live your Provencal Dream.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Truffle Away!

It's that crisp, delicious time of year again!    

Truffles are on everyone's mind (including mine) ...  Truffles in Foie Gras... "Truffled"  Boudin Blanc sausage... "Truffled" Cheese ... and then of course, the old favorites ... Omlette aux truffes.

Our own truffle!  The dish is  three inches in diameter.

What a delightful surprise when our neighbor in Sablet came to the door with a fresh truffle - one of the truffles they had just gathered at another friend's truffle oak forest in the Luberon.  With just one truffle of about 1.25 inches in diameter we enjoyed two great meals - one delicious dinner main course of scrambled eggs topped with shaved truffle, and our last lunch at Maison des Pelerins before leaving to come back to California. A hot, toasted baguette, spread with demi-sel butter from Normandy and covered with mounds of shaved, Luberon black truffle!  

It felt completely decadent to be eating truffles on toast - such a great idea, which came from our neighbor.  The fragrance and nuttiness of freshly grated or shaved truffles only intensifies when it is combined with hot foods.

Creamy scrambled eggs with shaved truffles - yum!
Truffles were definitely on New Year's Eve Menus .....
This delicious dish (below), is the Chosson des Truffes we were treated to at Les Abeilles on New Year's Eve - a steamy black truffle wrapped in ham and baked in buttery puff pastry!

Double yum - Chosson des Truffes

As you cross the bridge into Richeranches, this "panneau" makes sure visitors know of the Saturday Truffle Markets

Truffle Market goers crowd the narrow streets of the small village on cold Saturday mornings between November and March - some for serious negotiations - some to witness the whole spectacle
The Friday Market in Carpentras and the Saturday Market in Richeranches have buyer's from Restaurants throughout France and beyond bidding for these little "black diamonds".  During the week after New Year's, "les truffes" were selling in Paris for 3,000.00 Euros per Kilo!

The "Black Diamonds are carefully weighed as a fraction of an ounce either way can add or subtract lots of money!
Is it any wonder that the weighing of these delicious little morsels is take so seriously by both buyers and sellers!

Truffles in are carefully stored in their bags

Carefully cocooned in cloth or plastic bags, the truffle exchange goes to the very knowledgeable buyers from growers who carefully watch over and tend their truffle oak woods which dot the countryside throughout the Luberon and the Vaucluse.  It is a labor of love for the first ten years which is the time it takes before the first truffles begin to appear on the roots of the host trees. 

One of the truffle oak forests you see as you travel through the Vaucluse (this one on the Plan de Dieu).

A stand of young oak trees near Richeranches - it takes about ten years for the first crop of truffles to appear.

Truffles in church?    Bien Sur!   .....you know that Gourmets throughout the world take truffles very seriously when you hear that there is a Mass specially dedicated to the "Rabasse".

In Richeranches, the third Sunday of January each year sees the well known  (and well attended),
Truffle Mass.

The small "Eglise Notre Dame de Richeranches" is packed for the Truffle Mass
Dedicated to St. Anthony who is the patron saint of truffle growers, this mass has grown so much in popularity that the tiny Church cannot possibly accommodate all who wish to attend.  A giant TV screen is set up outside in the courtyard of the Knights Templar Commandery so that visitors to Richeranches can join in the ceremony.  The Mass is said in the old Provencal language, during which the truffles are blessed and prayers are offered for a successful truffle harvest.  When it is time for the collection, the baskets are filled with truffles, and the church fills with the aroma of the "black diamond" also known as les truffes, rabasse or by its botanical name, Tuber Melanosporum.

The Truffle Auction after Mass takes place outside the Mairie
Members of the "Conferrerie du Diamante Noir et de la Grastronomie" (the Confraternity of the Black Diamond and Gastronomy), play an important role in the day's ceremonies as they join in the procession out of the church with the priest out into the square and make their way to the Mairie (Town Hall), where they officiate at the Auction.

The Conferrerie  offers an aperitif to all those who attend the festivities, followed by a truffle based lunch - a sought after event which requires a ticket.
Truffle Auction
Many of the attendees who are do not stay for the lunch, take advantage of the "Truffle Menus" offered at Restaurants throughout the area ...... just take a look at the Menu offered by our own Les Abeilles in Sablet!

Bon Apetit!

Menu truffes 2012

L’œuf de poule poché, truffé
(Truffled poached egg)

Foie gras de canard poêlé sur endives braisées aux truffes
(Foie gras served with braised Belgium Endives and truffles)

Noix de Saint Jacques, sauce

iodée de l'huître à la truffe
(Scallops with Oyster and Truffle sauce)

Granité … Noilly-Prat – citron vert
(Granita of Noilly-Prat Vermouth and Lime)

Poularde aux truffes, sauce suprême

pommes de terre écrasées
(Truffled Chicken with sauce Supreme)

Coulommiers parfumé à la rabasse, quelques feuilles de roquettes
(Coulommiers cheese - from the Seine-et-Marne region flavored with truffles, served with rouquette)

Entremet à la mandarine et « diamant noir »
(Dessert of Mandarins and "black diamonds")

valable de janvier 2012 au 3 mars 2012

90,00 € personne sans boissons

Many thanks to Chef Johannes Sailer for the pictures of the Truffle Mass two Sundays ago
                                                               - Merci Chef!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How Do You Know It's Getting Close to New Year's Eve In Provence?

From Sablet - Provence  ...... Happy New Year!  Bonne Annee!   

2012 started off with a spectacular sunny and Springlike day that had several of our neighbors enjoying their terraces in the sunshine.

During the past week, the signs of New Year's preparation and festive spirit have been unmistakable, and I think the best way to enjoy the mood of Provence during this time is to notice the signs of season .......

St Sylvestre - as New Year's Eve is commonly known - 
In our Village, colored lights and festive decorations brighten up the village square, 
as Sabletains do their last minute shopping and preparations for the celebration  "Revellion" with friends and family in a few hours.

In the shops .. you know it's getting close to party time when .....  Foie Gras fills the refrigerator cabinets ..... there is always a crowd around the seafood section ... especially for oysters ... Champagnes of all grades and prices fill the shelves ...

... When you're not sure if you're looking at Cabbages, Roses or Cacti 
.... but they all glitter!

At the Markets ..... Stallholders toast the end of the day with Champagne ...


.... and some of the nine courses of Dinner at Les Abeilles look like this ....

Amuse Bouche ... 

Chausson des Truffe, demi-glace - fragrant black truffles in  buttery puff pastry served
with demi-glace

Brisures de Homard dans une salade aux argumes -succulent Lobster tail and Citrus salad ...

Medaillon de Lotte lie-de-vin ....Medaillon of Monkfish in a rich wine & demi-glace sauce ...

Granite au Nouilly-Prat et citron vert ..... Nouilly-Prat Vermouth and Lime Granita

.... at this point, I was firmly focused on food and fun, thus missed photographing the next two courses of Lievre a la Royale .... Hare served in a rich red wine reduction sauce followed by Filet Mignon de Porc aux Prunes ....  Pork Fillet perfectly cooked with red wine and prunes... 
Almost forgot ... also didn't photograph the cheese course ... Brillat-Savarin et endive braisee

But this got my attention!
       Desert!  Trilogie d'Ananas - Pineapple ... Caramalized ... Sorbet .. and .. Bavarois
But ..... that was not all!  It was all followed by Mignardises!!!!!!  
Tiny, delicious tuiles & cakes ..... 

I think I rolled all the way home - so - 

It must be time for the world's most favorite New Year's Resolution!

Here's to a Spectacular 2012!