Sunday, February 5, 2012

Les Abeilles Restaurant, Sablet

A bitter cold spell and quite a bit of snow have descended upon the South of France. We are at home in Northern California where by contrast we have unseasonably warm and dry weather. Believe it or not, we were out in the hot tub this morning with grandson Dylan at 8 AM.

We are keeping up with happenings in the South of France through fellow bloggers who have shared pictures of their villages under snow and tales about malfunctioning heaters, empty fuel tanks and slippery roads. I grew up in the Midwest and wife Shirley and I lived in the Washington DC area for quite a few years and truthfully, I don't miss the snow at all.

It seems hard to believe that a little more than three months have passed since we were in Sablet and even less till we return again. The weather was absolutely perfect throughout our stay and I sure hope the sunshine and warm weather are back by the time we return. I can't wait!

Actually, the weather was perfect until the afternoon before we left for California when the sky clouded over and I took the picture of Sablet below. The bell tower of Église St Nazaire - Church of St Nazaire stands erect over the village like a beacon marking the position of Sablet in the countryside.

On one of those perfectly sunny, warm Provencal days, we went to lunch at Les Abeilles Restaurant in Sablet with friends Mary and Steve who were visiting from Michigan. Les Abeilles is located just a short distance from our house at the entrance to the village on the Route de Vaison.

In addition to the shaded terrace, perfect for dining alfresco on warm sunny days and evenings, there is a cozy dining room for cooler days and rainy weather. Our wonderful friends Mary and Steve relaxing on the terrace at Les Abeilles.

Les Abeilles, literally translated "the bees", has been owned by Marlies and chef Johannes Sailer since November 2003. As soon as we were seated, Madame Sailer brought us menus and the Chef's amuse bouche of bread sticks, cherry tomatoes and black olive tapenade to nibble on while we decided what we wanted to eat.

Being we were in Provence and it was a warm day, we selected a chilled bottle of the 2010 Domaine Champfort Sablet Rosé off the wine list, a tasty blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah.

After spending the morning at the weekly market in Vaison-la-Romaine, where we had seen tables piled with mushrooms, we were happy to see a starter of croustillant of sautéed mushrooms on the chef's menu for the day. It was very good.

Our main courses included perfectly cooked tagliatelles with carrots, zucchini and mushrooms in a cream sauce. Parmesan cheese was served on the side.

Another choice was lamb roasted pink, served with haricots verts, cauliflower gratin and ratatouille.

Our third choice was beef with lies de vin (wine) sauce on the side with cauliflower gratin, haricots verts and ratatouille.

My choice was braised biche (doe) with Alsatian spaetzle and cranberry sauce. Everyone was very happy with their selections.

To finish, some chose cheese plates of goat cheese with pepper, Forme d’Ambert blue cheese, Comté, and a soft cheese whose name I did not write down.

Those who didn't choose cheese plates, had either house made ice creams that included vanilla, pistachio, hazelnut and plum; or

the other dessert choice was a tarte fine aux pommes (apple tart) with vanilla ice cream.

To finish our lunch, we nibbled on mignardises including almond tuiles and meringue cookies while we sipped petit café's.

Shirley and I have had quite a few meals at Les Abeilles. We both thought this meal was probably our favorite one there. I am not sure if it was the menu options, the beautiful weather, dining on the terrace or being with our friends but it was a wonderful meal. We'll be back soon.

Bon appétit et à bientôt mes amis.


  1. I'll take the pasta and the tarte fine aux pommes!

  2. That all looks so delicious! I can't wait until afternoon lunches outside and carafes of Rosé!

  3. Hopefully some of your unseasonably warm and dry weather will stick around for us in Southern California as we'll visit in about 2 weeks (can't wait!). Looks like a very lovely lunch at Les Abeilles... and I love these restaurant posts because they give us so many new places to try!

  4. MMMM! I'll take the pasta please and the desserts. Everything looks delicious and you sound like you had a terrific time with your friends. I love when friends come to visit me here and I can show off where I live. It's so much fun to revisit towns with them. It's like the town is all brand new again for you! Thanks for the shout out to my blog! I appreciate that :)

  5. Barbara - This was a very good meal, probably the best we have had there.

    Meredith - Shirley loved her pasta so that would be a good choice.

    Sara - Given all the snow and cold you have experienced this year in Provence, I can't imagine how much you are looking forward to nice weather again.

    Tuula - I spent three days in Southern CA this week for work and the weather was fabulous.

    Ashley - We love having friends come to visit us too as we are so happy and proud to show them around our corner of Provence. I love your writing and happy to direct others there.

  6. ok, at the risk of being contrary, we ate at Les Abeilles on a chilly evening last October. We walked over earlier in the day to make the reservation, and the chef was quite friendly. There were 2 German tables - 2 men dining together and a large family group who obviously were enjoying themselves, and a French couple, who left very quickly. The hostess, the wife of the chef, was friendly, but mentioned how unhappy she was in France, and how much she wished to return to Germany, or even move to Spain, where apparently she and her husband had spent time. She went on about how she hoped her husband would decide to move on. I thought it was an odd welcome to a very pretty restaurant. The Germans got a lot of attention - us, not so much. The food was ok, but not "elegant" - sort of piled onto the plate - you obviously had a much better meal. The wine was chosen with a lot of care,which we appreciated. The chef circled round to a few tables, but he ignored ours. It was an odd experience - the setting was lovely, the food tasted fine, in a "hearty but plain" way, but we very much had the impression that the chef's wife was counting down the days in Sablet.

    1. hello I've noticed it does not pay his workers he always has an excuse.
      and his wife has no respect for his employees and always say I hate the French ca my displeased since I go more for a gourmet restaurant will not do here is ca.

  7. Anonymous - Thanks so much for stopping in to check my blog and especially for leaving a comment about your dining experience at Les Abeilles. As I said, the meal I wrote about was probably the best meal we have had at Les Abeilles. Interesting, that meal was in October too but at lunch. Unfortunately, we have heard the same comments from the chef's wife and it does affect your dining experience there and it doesn't do anything positive for the restaurant. Were you staying in the village?