Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Les Remparts, Venasque

As you probably recall, we had several friends from our Bistro Des Copains in Occidental, California visit during our last sojourn in Sablet.

Usually, when we head out with friends to visit a pretty village or historical site, be it in the Vaucluse or elsewhere, we plan the day so our friends can see and experience as much as possible on the way to and from whatever village we choose that day.

It might seem hard to believe given how much I talk about food and wine, but we almost never choose a village or plan our day around where we are going to eat lunch. That is probably against all the rules for a restauranteur or a foodie to say, but that's the truth.

Wife Shirley has only recently started to eat fish and several of our friends are vegetarian so we are always on the lookout for restaurants that offer vegetarian dishes.

Well one morning while our friends from the Bistro were visiting, I remembered as we were planning our day, that there is a restaurant in Venasque called Les Remparts which offers a vegetarian menu each day. I am sure there are others but this is the only restaurant that we have been to in France where we have seen this.

I figured that the vegetarians in the group might be getting tired of eating chèvre chaud salad - warm goat cheese salad for lunch and we should go visit Venasque and eat déjeuner - lunch at Les Remparts. Despite the abundance of fruits and vegetables on display in village markets, restaurants in France usually don't offer many vegetarian dishes.

In addition to a nice lunch, I figured that our friends would enjoy seeing Venasque. Venasque is a small picturesque village perched at the top of a steep hill and classified as one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France - one of the most beautiful villages of France. See previous post.

As the name says, Restaurant Les Remparts is built into the remparts - old walls, that surround the village.

The restaurant is located just a few steps from the fountain in the center of the village.

At Les Remparts, you can sit in the interior dining room, a large sun room or on a small outdoor terrace with views of the valley on sunny days.

Unfortunately, it was a grey day and raining off and on so we chose to sit in the glass enclosed sun room.

Les Remparts offer a number of prix fixe menus du jour - menus of the day, including the vegetarian menu for 25 Euros that consists of all vegetarian dishes. I chose the menu Provençal for 32 Euros. Wife Shirley chose the vegetarian salad for 12 Euros.

The vegetarian menu started with a Clafoutis Provençal with fresh goat cheese accompanied by mixed greens.

The vegetarian salad included small portions of a tomato tart, a savory carrot cake with ricotta cheese and pesto, the clafoutis Provençal with goat cheese, boiled egg, cheese and mixed greens.

My starter was a tasty plate of small bites including tomato crumble over goat cheese cream, a salt cod tart, and tomato tart tatin.

Vegetarian main courses included lasagna

and ravioli in a creamy leak sauce.

For my main course, I had a croustade d'Espadon, a tasty fish accompanied by a basil leek crumble.

The vegetarian menu included a goat cheese tasting.

Our desserts included red-wine poached goat cheese with honey.

A dessert sampler with crème brûlée, nougat glacé, and chocolate cake.

A creamy creation with oranges.

Floating Islands with chocolate sauce.

We had a pitcher of rosé wine to accompany our wonderful meal.

I recommend reservations so you can be sure to get a seat in the sun room or on the terrace on a sunny day.

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