Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Generous Friends

Taking us by surprise, friends who have a holiday home in the village that we keep an eye on, invited us out to a restaurant tonight. We all had a great time as you can see!
They are fairly serious 'walkers' and the many tracks around the village and in the surrounding countryside, are what originally tempted them to buy here.

When they first came down they set off for the gentle stroll up to the auberge at Le Pradal only to be disappointed - it was shut. They tried several times afterwards only to find the same - it was always shut.

Further investigation showed that it was an unusual establishment. There was always a fixed menu with no choices (it does change regularly though), and it did not open unless there would be a minimum of 10 people sitting down to eat! Not a place you could just turn up to, it seems!

With charm and persuasion, Jan and Colin got the owner to open tonight even though there would only be eight of us in total. It was an interesting experience - a bit like a dinner party with someone else doing all the cooking behind the scenes.

The food was tasty, although for a restaurant that set out all these rules, maybe we expected a bit of je ne sais quoi? It was, however, a genuine family auberge with homemade produce it's speciality.

We started with a salad and a wide selection of salamis and a terrine - all made by the owner(s) and their family. Main course was duck in a rich green olive sauce with fried potato cubes and mushrooms. Dessert was an apple crumble and miniature strawberry tart. With coffee we had cherries steeped in alcohol a la maison.

Aperitifs were their speciality. White wine kirs made with any of the following liqueurs: violette, peach, orange, gentian or walnut. We tried them all (!) and very good they were, if a bit unusual!

So if you have a large family or group of friends - you should consider trying L'Ostal Viehl !

As we were leaving and wishing the patron goodnight, he suddenly noticed the girls' perfect French accents - and started exclaiming over them. Seems his daughter is at the same college, and we realised as we got back in the car that we recognised him. We think he goes to some of our village get-togethers.

It's a small world down here!

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