Monday, April 29, 2013

Tastes of the Luberon, Evencio Vazquez


Ooh, it is a cold and rainy Monday morning in Arles, so I thought something to warm us all up was in order. And there is nothing like fine eats to get the blood pumping now is there? 

Why had I not thought of it sooner? It now makes utter sense: when searching for a vacation rental, the top criteria is not the location, the number of bedrooms, nor cleanliness, no, of utmost importance is that the owners should be caterers that also have an épicerie fine or gourmet boutique on site. For you see, that is exactly what Evencio Vazquez (affectionately called "Banco") and his charming wife Véronique do in addition to welcoming guests at La Buissonade

And what a fine welcome it is. As we arrived just in time for Easter, the couple had just finished producing massive amounts of goodies for the holiday and so two chocolate figurines plus a jar of strawberry jam were waiting for us as our "welcome gift." But that was just the beginning. For you see, Evencio and Véronique are genuinely generous. Remi and I both felt that they provided some of the finest hospitality that we had ever seen. Anywhere. Because it came from the heart.

We were offered some tasty treat or other nearly every day and our stay was topped off with a farewell lunch that was out of this world...oysters with leeks and bacon in a briny white wine emulsion,  possibly the best épaule d'agneau I have ever had, grilled local goat cheese crostini and a cake...chocolate, hazelnut mousse, créme caramel au beurre salée...I don't even like cake! But this was like munching on an especially tasty cloud. 

Evencio, who cooked professionally for twelve years--including at Michelin-loved restaurants in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie--showed off his Spanish roots on another occasion by whipping up a platter of squid and shrimp tapas with an aîoli dipping sauce but shared his interpretation of a French classic, the millefeuille as a surprise on Easter Sunday. He also gave us a tender cut of chevreau along with a roll of Banon from the neighboring goat farm. Pity that Kipling stoll the cheese from right under our noses! Shameless. We were enjoying it too.







I loved that there was no pressure whatsoever to even set foot in their boutique. But of course, we are no fools and my highly attuned food radar was telling me to take some of this fine experience home with me. 


Remi and I have yet to taste all of what we purchased but have been delighted by everything so far--créme de Noix, two balsalmic reductions (one with honey and spices, the other with lavender honey), truffle olive oil, two vinegars (one with lavender honey and another with raspberry pulp), several jams (rose, fig with red wine and spices to serve with cheese and one that Remi quickly devoured that had white chocolate in it), a confit d'oignons au gingembre...All interesting, beyond the norm combinations. Does it seem as though we bought out the entire shop? We could have! Especially as their prices are incredibly reasonable for the fine quality of ingredients used.


The couple hopes to open a restaurant in the future and we both strongly urged them to consider offering tables d'hôtes or fixed-price dinners, as well as cooking courses for the guests of the cottage. Wouldn't that be wonderful? And yes, if you are so fortunate as to live in the area, they are excellent, creative caterers as well. 


Evencio Vazquez and Véronique Nitard
Veronique's cell for English speakers: 06 20 64 21 08
Pour mes amis Francophone, Evencio's: 06 03 17 23 31
Email: veroniquenitar@aol.fr
Website for La Buissonade: here

To read more about my Tastes of the Luberon, please click here. And it hopefully goes without saying that in no way is this a sponsored post, I am just happy to spread the word about some incredibly kind and talented people. 

Have a great week everyone!

PS. Folks, I am no longer accepting anonymous comments. The spam is just way too out of hand and there are actually very, very few of you who have used this. From here on out, you will need a registered profile. Thanks for understanding...




47 comments:

  1. gosh!

    that looks like a wonderful place to sit awhile and talk while the espressos flow at the end of the meal but you still need to nibble on a small plain salt cracker with the palest rose jam.

    lovely.

    *wavingfromlosangeles*

    _tg xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Evencio even has a "real" espresso machine so I had my first cappucino in ages...and truly, we ate until there was nothing left...

      *waving back from Arles in your general direction*

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It must be delicious because I can see that the chocolate is glistening! I do wish we had a better food scene here. I know they are trying but unless it is haute cuisine it just isn't very good...The pictures are appetizing indeed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci, N. It does drive me crazy when the only good restaurants are expensive ones...it is why we cook at home more often than not, so to be so spoiled was wonderful...

      Delete
  4. There is nothing better than eating good food around the table with friends and the "chef." I am with you with the fixed price dinners, serve it family style. I look forward to checking out their restaurant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michel, they don't have the restaurant yet--but you might want to stop by their boutique the next time you are up that way. Their products are excellent. They are located on the right hand side of the road as you leave Simiane, heading towards Banon and their is a sign marked "traiteur".

      Delete
    2. We will definitely stop in! Sounds like they are living their dream which makess me very happy.

      Delete
    3. Perfectly put, Michel. And boy do they work hard to make it happen too. They deserve any success they have!

      Delete
  5. Talk about the definition of rustic cuisine! However, I'm quite concerned about the lack of vegetables and the decapitated chocolate cat. I imagine one of your doggies did that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I did that, specifically with a feline-oriented friend of mine in Monaco in mind...

      And it is true, entirely true, we eat more meat in one week in the Luberon than we do in months and months here in Arles. Especially lamb as it is so exceptional there. But veggies were indeed consumed--salads even! *gasp*

      Delete
    2. There's a certain someone who will be receiving a stocking full of clinkers for Christmas this year. And a salad spinner. xo, Tabby

      Delete
    3. Bah, if you send me a bunch of CatStuf' for Christmas I will send it right back with accusée de réception!!! Or I will come in person and throw it at your house!

      And I...um...have...a salad spinner...thank you very much.

      Delete
  6. Gives life to the expression "beautiful food." I now so hungry for what is in these photographs that I could just about cry from frustration. And Kipling, oy.... let's keep him and the oh so stealthy Karina separated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had put the plate with the Banon on it on a chair behind me to get it out of the sun and I swear, there was not the LEAST bit of exaggerated movement on his part as he walked by until Remi wondered, "What is that Kipling had in his mouth?" Luckily we had tasted a bit of it already--it was SO good! Goat cheese from a little old lady who has a goat farm! It was wrapped in saran wrap and I swear that I thought about cutting away the "outer layer" with dog spit on it and eating the rest! :O

      Delete
  7. I was just going to get up in search of food. I feel like I've failed before I've begun. What can compare to this!?

    ReplyDelete
  8. This all looks incredible. I'm not sure which is most tempting, with the mentions of leeks and bacon and cote d'agneau... but the desserts! They look like works of art, as well as being beyond enticing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bah? I left a response here last night but poof! It must have went to where the socks go...But YES, you would have LOVED it. ;à

      Delete
  9. I want to taste a bit of everything - especially the desserts. I am in awe of people who can cook up such masterpieces.
    BTW, thank you for your complement on my B&W photos. I am sure that you could take ones that are just as good or even better. The trick is to see the world in monochrome. At first it's very difficult but, slowly, it becomes easier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, I still think it is too hard!! I am still working on seeing all of the gradations of color--I don't want to take that away...

      Delete
  10. And, the really wonderful part is that a true epicurean chef/cook loves having people enjoy their delicacies. So it was a win/win for all of you. How absolutely splendid, Heather. Goodness, I miss our little chats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear, I have not been stopping by your place often enough at ALL--the fault is MINE! My apologies, dear lady...

      Delete
  11. Just for the record?....I've spent the past seven weeks living with/helping out two very sick friends, neither of whom is ambulatory this month. I do all of the shopping and cooking, among other chores. The first is on the restricted diet for folks with gout and diabetes (she's got both...severely so). For the past two weeks, I'm with a friend (who just had a knee replacement)who's on the danged Atkins' diet.....so no carbohydrates, sugar, fruits...just proteins, fat, and leafy green vegetables.

    All in all, I need to NOT be reading posts such as this, for the time being.....this one reminded me too vividly of what real life/food is (was, I suppose) like.

    Dismayedly yours,
    David Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't mean to lead you astray David! Especially as your friends are so very, very fortunate to have such a kind friend to help through difficult times...
      Hey! It wasn't me doing the cooking!!!

      Delete
  12. Oh I would never leave, what a heavenly place
    ciao lisa x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still need to pop over and read about how your kitchen is coming along, Lisa...will do...

      Delete
  13. Replies
    1. They were insane and we practically licked the plate to get all of the sweet/salty marinade...

      Delete
  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  15. OMG - such hospitality - wonderful!! Human nature is so special when it comes out on this side of things - makes your day!! Well done and thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it true? Generosity is such a fantastic human trait! :)

      Delete
  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh my goodness - all those photos made my mouth water! Looks like a fabulous spot. Ha - and yes, of course, the most important thing about any B&B is proximity to good food! :) Maybe we will be able to make our way down there at some point!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh! Good idea! You of all people would love it so much. He says that some of his guests hang out in the "labo" and watch him cook over his shoulder...that would so be you!

      Delete
  18. Yum! What a feast!
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh my goodness, it all looks amazing!

    I host a weekly party called "Oh, the PLACES I've been!" and would love to have you join. The link goes up at 7 pm EST on Thursday evenings.

    - The Tablescaper

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you so much for the inviation! Gosh, let me think about it, ok?

      Delete
  20. All that scrumptious food you talk about and show us in the pictures, and my mouth is watering for those oysters. Sheesh. I have no class.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have oodles of class, Susan! Those oysters were the most elegant dish that he prepared for us--not to mention insanely tasty. I could eat the whole platter if put in front of me right now...now THAT is a lack of class. ;)

      Delete
  21. Wow, what a spectacular feast! And I love that you were able to savor Evencio's cooking at home, too. I adore homemade jam and his sound very special.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ann, you of all people would appreciate the fusion-y elements in his cooking, I think. :) And we are savoring them...

      Delete
  22. WOW!42 comments...............I remember the days when there would be like six!FINALLY< the world is waking up!All that food looks delicious.............are you still loving your new camera?It looks like it!Spring is here and I'm so happy!The jardin is starting to POP!I will post some photos soon!
    Hugs, to you and your furry family!
    XOXOO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is true that there are more comments these days buuut half of them are usually my responses and my blog is still SO small compared to so many! I don't care though, as long as I have amazing people like yourself that come to visit. :)

      Will look forward to your photos...
      Bisous!
      H

      Delete
  23. YOU still have way more then me!
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete

Your responses are what makes this blog so special to me. I love hearing from you. Thank you for visiting!

* Comments left on posts two days after publication or more will be published after moderation. So not to worry, they will arrive and again, I appreciate them all so very much...Merci! *

If you prefer, feel free to email me directly at robinsonheather (at) yahoo.com...