Sunday, September 20, 2015
It’s market day! Up bright and early for the market in L’isle sur la Sorgue. No, I still don’t even know how to say the name of that town. But it’s the biggest market in the Luberon Valley, so obviously it’s the place to be. Nothing in France happens before 10am, so I guess our 8am leave time was a bit aggressive. But I am my mother’s daughter and so I had to be there early to get a good parking spot beat the crowds.
I hate to shop. But I love markets. Why? Because I love to bargain. There is nothing better than the feeling of superiority when you bargain down an honest guy just trying to make a buck to save yourself a few. So you can imagine my dismay when I came to realize that French people don’t bargain! They literally just don’t do it. I tried. Nothing. And this brings me to my first of today’s lessons: French people suck at business. Don’t get me wrong, they excel at life. But they fucking suck at business. Could they open before 10am and not close for two or three hours in the middle of the damn day and make a hell of a lot more money? Of course. But they don’t want to. Because sitting around having a cappuccino with their buddy Pierre is more important to them. As a money driven capitalist, this drives me insane. But as a lazy piece of shit who loves nothing more than to watch an entire season of Parenthood while drinking wine in my villa, I can respect it. So we paid full price for shit. We are 30 year old success women with disposable incomes. I suppose we can just grin and bear it. But if I’m being honest, I would rather they just raised the prices and bargained with me a little.
We bought a lot of shit. It wasn’t quite on par with the shopping frenzy in the souk in Marrakech, but it was close. Our laundry list: Soap, cheese board, baskets, jewlery, scarves, dishtowels (obviously Jorgie). And then on to the food. Steph bought some nougat then immediately dropped it on the floor. Five second rule. We got some baguette, paid a visit to the salami man, a roast chicken. And then, the holy grail of the market – THE CHEESE MAN. So much cheese, so little time. After sampling until we got dirty looks we settled on some truffle cheese (because, duh!) and a salty one that I don’t know the name of and don’t really care because it’s fucking delicious.
After the market we went back to the villa and basically spent the day laying around the pool imagining what life would be like if this was all ours. Well, if this was all Jorgie’s, should we succeed in marrying her off to the villa owner. Mr & Mrs. Tits came down to lay by the pool for a bit. I’ll give you one guess why we call them that. Gotta love France. We had a little happy hour in the pool house consisting of our purchases from the market and, of course, some Rose. And I died and went to truffle cheese heaven. I was so enraptured by this cheese I actually wrote the cheese a poem. I call it “Ode de Truffle Cheese”, and it goes a little somethin’ like this:
Roses are red, violets are blue
Oh my dear truffle cheese, I must eat all of you
My ways with the written word never fail to shock and awe, eh? After our little amuse bouche we headed to a fancy dinner where they let dogs in the restaurant. Dogs are pretty much allowed everywhere. So France is up another point in my book.
Monday, September 21, 2015
This morning we woke up and headed into town for our Headshots du Jour, followed by a trip out to the village of Roussillon for a little walk around and a photo op. Nothing to noteable here. Just some photographic evidence:
That afternoon I opted to be lazy and lay by the pool at the villa while the gals went into town for some lunch and (say it with me people) Rose. We had to rest up for our big evening. Truffle hunt day has arrived!! We drove about an hour south to the truffle farm which was the site of our hunt. Our host, Johann, is the grandson of the property owners. He married an American girl and lived in Chicago for a while, working in finance. Then decided he’d had enough of the rat race so they moved to his grandparent’s farm in Provence at which point they discovered they had truffles. And truffles in France are very serious business, so they do their best to keep their truffle business a secret from the other locals and cater primarily to tourists. I’m still not sure how I managed to find this truffle farm from Hermosa Beach, yet they think homeboy Pierre down the road doesn’t know about it. But I wasn’t gonna break it to him that the cat is probably out of the truffle basket.
Now, Johann is the business end of things, but the truffle farming and hunting is run by Jean Marc. Johann told us that the ladies think he looks like Bradley Cooper. So we are pretty excited to meet this man of truffle mystery. Jean Marc comes to meet the group, with the two hunting dogs in tow. If he is Bradley Cooper, then I’m Jessica Alba in this make believe world. He was more of a Roger Federer with a chocolate croissant problem. But let’s be honest, he hunts truffles and plays with cute dogs for a living, so we could all do a lot worse. So off we went with the adorable dogs to hunt some truffles. Much truffle knowledge was shared with us. And this brings me to my second lesson of today’s blog: the similarities between men and truffles. I’ll list these for you since they are numerous:
1. You have to search and dig long and hard for them. And after all that work, half the time they are rotten;
2. They lose their aroma (read: appeal) after about a weak and get old;
3. They must be guarded, as the good ones are hard to find and prone to theft;
4. It takes years of practice and much patience to learn to successfully hunt them. And even then, a cute dog helps.
5. Seasonality is key: They are more plentiful and easy to find in the summer, and MUCH more expensive around the Holidays.
6. While they come in all shapes and sizes, there is one irrefutable truth: the bigger, the better.
One thing truffles and men do NOT have in common is that the ladies and I were actually able to find some truffles on this trip.
After the truffle hunt, we went for a tour of the rest of the farm. Not only do they have tuffles here, but they also grow grapes and olives. Remember, Johann is a finance guy. He doesn’t fuck around when it comes to diversification. Johann had a competition between the groups of people for who could identify some various herbs by smell. We obviously kicked everyone’s ass. Then we headed back to the house for TRUFFLE FEST 2015. Seriously, so much fresh black summer truffle. Truffle on bread, on cheese, truffle ice cream, truffle oil, truffle salt. And just when you think it can’t get better – champagne. I debated naming this blog “Champagne Showers and Truffle Dreams”. It’s just too easy sometimes.
That night we all went to bed feeling a little sick, but very happy. Now if only I could find a man hunt that ended with such satisfaction…