Friday, June 4, 2010

Maison Bleue, Villedieu

We met our young friend Kari at the TGV station in Avignon after her train ride from Zurich, Switzerland; not feeling overly ambitious, we decided we should go out for dinner.

You should be aware that quite a few restaurants are closed in Provence on Sunday night. One of the restaurants we really like that is open on Sunday night is Maison Bleue in Villedieu. That is where we decided to go.

As I told you in a previous post, Villedieu is a very pretty village located about 12 kms northwest of Sablet in the direction you would take if you were driving to Nyons.

Villedieu is small (population 518), set on a hill surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, and pine trees, overlooking the Aygues River, close to the Drome Provencale.

When you drive into Villedieu, you will arrive in the village square, called Place de la Liberation, where you will find the mairie, several cafes and a pizza restaurant called Maison Bleue.

Maison Bleue is owned by a wonderful chef named Daniel Roger. From a small kitchen equipped with a large pizza oven he built, he turns out a variety of salads, large enough to share, and pizzas with a variety of toppings on dough that is perfectly blistered by the pizza oven. He also offers pastas and other specials.

We have become friends with Chef Daniel as we go frequently to Maison Bleue during the months the restaurant is open. March, April, May, June, September and October, Maison Bleue is open Thursday through Sunday. July and August, the restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday.

We love to sit outside in the village square when we go to Maison Bleue but since the weather was unseasonably cool and rainy, that was not an option. Maison Bleue is decorated with bright colors; orange walls, blue and yellow colored tablecloths and blue chairs.

Chef Daniel offers a variety of combinations which makes it easy to share: La Gourmande for 24,00 Euros lets you choose a salad, whole pizza and dessert, La Double for 19,00 Euros lets you choose a salad and a whole pizza and La Classique for 16,00 Euros lets you choose a salad and dessert. We ordered one La Gourmande menu, one La Double menu and one La Classique menu so we could each choose a salad and share two whole pizzas and two desserts.

I ordered the La Montagnard salad with greens, a whole roasted camembert cheese topped with tomatoes and pine nuts. Toasted bread accompanied the salad; wonderful for spreading with the warm, oozing cheese.

Shirley and Kari ordered the La Campagnard salad with greens, toasted wheat bread spread with chèvre cheese, toasted pine nuts, honey and herbs de Provence.

We shared two equally delicious thin-crusted pizzas. Our first selection was L'Indigo which was covered with tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella, chèvre, roquefort, and herbs de Provence.

Our second pizza selection was the L'Azur which was covered with tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella, eggplant slices and pesto.

Our friendly server set a bottle of red pepper infused oil on our table for us to drizzle on our pizza. It definitely spiced up the pizza.

We chose a bottle of 2009 Domaine du Gros Pata rosé from the Côtes du Rhône to accompany our dinner.

We finished our meal by sharing a trilogy of ice creams; pistachio, chocolate nut and coffee ice cream.

As usual, we were one of the last tables to leave so we could chat with Chef Daniel after our meal. Shirley asked Chef Daniel how long the restaurant had been open. He pointed to the menu which said May 1, 1998. Immediately, Shirley said "your anniversary was yesterday, we were here for your anniversary". Did I say we we had eaten at Maison Bleue the night before as well?

Chef Daniel responded that he had completely forgotten, that we were the first ones to wish him happy anniversary, that none of the staff, his family or friends had noted the anniversary.
He insisted that we stay and share a bottle of champagne to celebrate the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the opening of Maison Bleue. We stayed around the table with he, his son and staff for quite a while chatting. It was wonderful.

We walked out into the night and saw the old gate all brightly lit up. I am sure we will return many times in the future.

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