Brrrr, chilly temps have arrived early in Provence—along with grim, gray skies. Lamenting the absence of summer’s azure canopy and endless soleil-filled days can lead to sliding spirits. But wait—Provence is prepared. To the rescue—a hearty harvest treat and community camaraderie, plus the all-important twinkly lights. The Danish may have perfected hygge (cozy comfort), but here in Provence, the locals know a thing or two about wishing au revoir to winter dreary and bonjour to joyful celebration.
Strands of stunning twinkly lights, illuminated for the Fête de Lumière, bring to life the Place de la Republique, the main square in the village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.
Across the street from La Place de la Republique, the diamond-studded columns of the Eglise Saint-Martin sparkle, lifting hearts and spirits.
Around the corner, in the historic center, tea lights illuminate the fountain dedicated to the seer, Nostradamus, Saint-Remy’s most famous native son.
It is during this special Fête de Lumière, that merchants, like N&M Déco, deck their halls to the hilt and welcome late night shoppers.
At the popular resto, Gus, fresh oysters are offered to passersby.
A few doors down, the ritzy boutique, Escale, delights customers with posh seafood and foie gras hors d’oeurves.
Another early winter celebration takes place at the fabulous Domaine Rabasse Charavin, just outside the town of Cairanne in the southern Rhone Valley. A homemade jam festival at a winery? Far from it.
Resting nonchalantly in heirloom china, is the star of the show, the world’s most expensive mushroom–the truffle. Slivers of the earthy, smokey tuber will decorate the finished edible masterpieces.
In short order, the family of vintners whips up no fewer than 125 truffle omelettes to serve to their devoted patrons. (Three eggs, blended with a truffle mixture have been staged ahead of time, stored in the individual jam jars, placed to the side.)
Voilà, the scumptious truffle omelette, set off with a mound of fresh spinach and a split steamed potato, also sprinked with a dash of truffle bits.
Enjoyed by all–in winter coats. A small sacrifice. After all, those stainless steel tanks protect a precious liquid!
…which is ready for your enjoyment during the Salute to the Truffe celebration. The open bar offers a delightful array of the domaine’s marvelous products, including the Rasteau and Abel Charavin, en rouge, which I love. Yes, you can take home a few cases, if you like. And we did.