Tu es Belge?

The first time it happens I’m hovering in front of the glass cabinet at a patisserie in Chamalieres-sur-Loire, deciding between vanilla and chocolate éclairs. I order both. The red-headed woman behind the counter has a lace-edged apron tied around her waist. She narrows her eyes, tongs poised above the perfect pastries at the front of the cabinet closest to me, and asks: “Tu es Belge?”

“Non, je suis néo-zélandais,” I say.


Her smile brightens and her tongs move closer to her, towards the largest, freshest éclairs at the back.

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The Endless Feast in Provence

Dinner at Caro and Fred's home Maison Caesar Moulin in Castellet, Provence.

Dinner at Caro and Fred’s home Maison Caesar Moulin in Castellet, Provence.

If there is one constant here in Castellet, Provence it is the sheer beauty (and quantity) of the food we are treated to: foie gras, roast lamb, crisp green salad and peaches drenched with red wine at Marc and Marcia’s; bowls of delicately-flavoured sardine, aubergine, tuna and goat’s cheese dips with toasted baguette at Café de France in Lacoste village; and the stunning dinner dear Caro Nigella’ed up in her kitchen tonight (more on that in a moment).

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