MONDAY 25 JUNE 2012 SUNDAY LUNCH WITH THE LOUBETS
Sunday Lunch with the Loubets
Having a Sunday lunch at the Loubets has become a two monthly ritual, which you wish were every week. Both Bruno and Catherine and their daughters Chloe and Laetitia, their three gorgeous dogs and two cats, are the most agreeable hosts you could ever wish for. Last Sunday, Natalia, her daughter Natasha and I were very happy to be their guests.
The other guests on this lovely day included Ashley Palmer-Watts (Executive Head Chef at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal) and his wife Emma, Paulo de Tarso, (Manager of Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Orient in London) and his wife Heidi, Dean and Pauline Yasharian (Dean is the chef at Bar Boulud), artists Henrietta Graham (who is undertaking a series of portraits of chefs, including me) and Tim Hall, Martin Duncan and Tom Robertson from Freestyle Escape in Brisbane, Trevor Haynes (head of Subway UK) and Marc Andre. Finally, Anthony de Marco from Forbes was there.
We started with an appetiser of duck hearts, skewered on a brochette and barbecued. Thank goodness that most guests at the table were chefs or bons vivants that they would eat anything. Actually we did - more of that in a moment.
Then a huge buffet of beautiful salads: heritage tomatoes, olive oil, basilic etc; stuffed tomatoes, stuffed courgettes. It was just right, perfectly judged.
Bruno is a serious carnivore and on a beautiful day, of course the barbecue was alight and we feasted from it.
When the food is delicious, the sun is on your face and the breeze in your hair, and you are surrounded by your friends: life is perfect. This was a perfect afternoon, rounded off with a lovely Rosé de Provence, a spicy Syrah and delicious Champagne.
With great pride, Bruno & Catherine showed me their lovely house which has a perfect mini vegetable garden created by Bruno and - in the middle of the garden - a rabbit in a cage! But incredibly for a Frenchman, this little bunny is a pet, and not for the pot - so Bruno tells me with a smile!
Then came a delicious and light pudding of summer berries. However, one of the guests had brought a truly unusual delicacy: toasted giant ants! I promise you, they were delicious and crunchy - either 'nature' or dipped in chocolate.
Bruno is writing a book, and his office is at the top of the house so he has incredible views of valleys and sunlight, so I am sure it will be a good book!
Of course the afternoon went on and on until we decided to have a little game. Bruno, being from the South West of France (where Foie Gras and Petanque both come from) he decided to challenge everyone to a game of Pétanque. I love Pétanque, and am not bad at it - it is a perfect Sunday afternoon game - with a glass of rosé not too far from my hand. So I said "yes I will take part". Embarrassingly enough, I say without boasting, I crushed the big man into submission. The very man from the home of Pétanque... be kind to him!
Everyone mixed beautifully, these amazing people, the beautiful clatter of a perfect Sunday afternoon that you dream of when you haven't had for so long. We were feasting on it.
Thank you Bruno.
PS - Soon, Bruno will challenge the people of Bath to a game of Pétanque - in Queen Square, where the new Brasserie Blanc has recently opened. I will give him a chance to take his revenge!
PS Please tell me what you think of my blogs and my website: I want to hear from you!
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