A French Gastronomical Experience

We arrived in Nimes yesterday and pretty much crashed. We were tired. In the evening, we were invited to the house of Alain and his family for a crepe party. I’ve never experienced anything like it, and it was a lot of fun. Basically there’s a large griddle in the middle of each table with 6 circular spots and one person ladles out the batter onto each spot. Then it’s your responsibility to watch your crepe until it’s ready. When it’s done, you can transfer it to your plate, add yummy savory things like ham, leeks, and cheese, and then eat away. It was a fun social experience. Somehow I got seated at the teenagers’ table (which made me feel a little old) but it was fun hearing them quote American cultural references and trade broken English (them) and broken French (me) phrases back and forth, with the occasional help of a dictionary.

Now, on to today! Yesterday you heard (or saw) me say (or write) that I had a true Savoie meal in Aix-Les-Bains. Now, it was time for us to experience a true Provencal meal in Nimes. The hosts of this wonderful lunch were Frenchie’s grandparents who live nearby. I don’t think I can do this meal justice in words, so you will get to experience this meal in photos…

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Our meal started with hor d’oeuvres on their terrace accompanied by bubbly champagne. From the front to back: Codfish in puff pastry (trust me it tastes SO much better than it sounds), home-cured olives, beets and fromage blanc with a toasted parmesan crisp, and in the background, sausage in a puff pastry. And this was just the hor d’oeuvres!

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Onto the appetizer (or entree as they call it in French): Cured duck salad accompanied by (the best part!!!) foie gras on ginger bread. Oh, and accompanied by a Muscat. Soooooooo goooooooooddddddddd…..

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The Main Course: Duck Breast (seared on the grill fueled by old vines) somehow tasting like a delicious steak, with a melange of eggplant, squash and red peppers. For the duck breast, there was a sweet onion accompaniment special to the area. Oh and also paired with a Bordeaux blend

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Cheese course with a variety of sheep, cow and goat’s milk cheeses. By this time, I was so full that I could barely take a couple bites. And I love cheese!

Not pictured was our dessert of a fruit salad, lemon meringue tart and apple tart. Saying that I literally rolled out of Frenchie’s grandparents’ house is a gross understatement…

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By the way, this is Frenchie’s younger brother, Maxime. As you can see, he is super playful, always entertaining and like a mini-Frenchie/Cami. I love this photo (taken during lunch) – it somehow kinda reminds me of a surreal Magritte painting…

After that gastronomical adventure, Frenchie’s father correctly surmised that we needed to do something to work off all of that food. So we went to the Pont du Gard. The Pont du Gard is an ancient aqueduct bridge built around 50 CE by the Romans. It is the highest of all aqueduct bridges. I’ve seen pictures of the Pont du Gard, but there’s nothing like seeing this gargantuan bridge in person. It was a lot of fun to walk, climb, and hike around the bridge and hopefully we burned at least a few of the calories that we consumed.

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Using my dad for scale shows you how massive the aqueduct arches are!

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My dad and I actually took a wrong turn, but we were rewarded with a cool panoramic view

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View of the Gardon River from the Pont du Gard

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The men pose by some other Roman aqueduct ruins, near the Pont du Gard

What a day! Sleep will feel so good tonight. Bonne nuit!

P.S. Oh, and I forgot to add: Go Giants!

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