Monday, September 2, 2013

A Perfect Sunday in Sablet and Lunch with the Cousins

As we travel up and down the roads around our corner of Provence, we come upon brightly colored signs announcing upcoming wine festivals, special markets, concerts, vide greniers (literally, it means empty attic) and "Brocantes" (flea markets).

One day, we saw signs that said "Brocante Dimanche à Sablet" (a flea market Sunday in Sablet). Closer to the weekend, flyers started to appear on cars parked near the main square announcing that parking would be prohibited around the main square on Sunday because of the brocante.

If you don't know, a brocante is actually a French cross between an antiques' fair and a flea market where the sellers are generally all professional dealers. If you like antiques, you can find a brocante almost every weekend during the summer, generally on Sunday in one village or another it seems.

Before we knew there was going to be a brocante on Sunday, we invited the cousins who live near Sablet to come for lunch. Up early to start cooking, the weather was perfect for the brocante and dining on the terrace. Before we headed to the kitchen, I shot the picture of Shirley below on our bedroom terrace.

Shirley on our bedroom terrace. You can see the Dentelles de Montmirail in the distance.

Brocantes in Sablet are held at Place de l'Aire de la Croix, the main square in the village. The pictures that follow show some of the antiques being sold by sellers that day.

A seller set up his display near Le Tilleul d'Or retirement home

A furniture dealer near Le Tilleul d'Or retirement home

A dealer's stand in front of the restaurant

A dealer set up his stand in front the beauty salon

A view across Place de l'Aire de la Croix towards  Le Tilleul d'Or retirement home

A dealer with an eclectic mixture of stuff for sale

A view down Boulevard des Remparts

Another dealer's stand near the retirement home

Another dealer with an eclectic mixture of "antiques" to sell

A dealer set up his stand in front of the Festival bakery

A dealer specializes in knives and cleavers

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we had invited the cousins to come for lunch. Our menu included: Chilled Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese and Olive Puree; Haricots Verts and Cherry Tomato Salad; Cucumber Salad with a Creamy Lemon Dill Dressing; Fillet of Cod Stuffed with Spinach in a Saffron Beurre Blanc; and to finish a Strawberry Rhubarb Tart.

Chilled Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese and Olive Puree

Believe it or not, I had never made a chilled tomato soup before. I found a simple recipe in "The Provence Cookbook" by Patricia Wells. It was delicious! Since tomatoes are in full production and you may be looking for new ways to use them, I have included Patricia's recipe below.

Chilled Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese and Olive Puree
Serves 8


10 to 12 medium fresh tomatoes (about 3 pounds), cored, peeled, seeded, and chopped.
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
8 teaspoons soft, fresh, goat cheese
8 teaspoons Olive Puree
12 fresh mint leaves, cut into chiffonnade


1. Place soup bowls in refrigerator to chill

2. In a food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Puree. Taste for seasoning. Transfer to a bowl and cover securely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

3. At serving time, re-blend the soup to a smooth puree with an immersion blender, food processor or blender. Pour the soup into the soup bowls. Break off a small piece of goat cheese and place on top of the soup in the center of the bowl. Place a tiny dollop of olive puree alongside the goat cheese. Garnish with mint and serve.

Olive Puree
Makes 1 1/2 cups


2 cups best quality French brine-cured black olives, pitted
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence


In a food processor or blender, combine the olives and herbs. Blend to a thick paste. Transfer to a container and cover securely. Store, refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Haricots Verts and Cherry Tomato Salad

Cucumber Salad with a Creamy Lemon Dill Dressing

I didn't take pictures of the fish course or dessert. Both were delicious and we made both dishes again later that week when we had friends from the village over to eat. The cousins and friends were shocked to find out that Shirley made crust for the tart rather than buying pre-made in the grocery store.

After lunch, we went out a walk to see the goods for sale at the brocante. It was a beautiful day and the cousins indulged me for a group picture.

From left: Josiane; Christine; Annick; Pascale; Shirley; and Ginette

We boys were outnumbered but we got our group picture too.

From left; Me; Matthias; and Jean-Marc

We finished our walk with drinks in the center of the village at Café des Sports.

It was a perfect Sunday; perfect weather, great food and wine, the brocante and time with family. I hope you all are having a perfect Sunday too. Chat soon.


  1. I was in your house last year when a Brocante popped up. These photos are good memories especially Shirley on the bedroom balcony, one of my favorite places in the house (second only to the terrace outside the kitchen). You are so lucky to be able to add cousins to being in Sablet. Sorry you lost your mom. She looked like such a fun person.

  2. All of those recipe sound delicious but especially the tomato soup. I'll be trying tat before tomatoes are gone!

  3. What a wonderful day you had, Michel! Just my kind of day! I think those brocantes are a bit too full of bric a brac for my taste but they are still fun. Delicious menu you devised :))

  4. *toc, toc, toc* That is me, knocking on your door! Because it sounds as though you have the best resto in town!! And I just realized that we were near you!! We took a day trip up to Crillon le Brave and are in loooove...
    Hope you are well! How lovely to have family visit...

  5. Not a big fan of brocantes, but it looks like a fun day with family and friends.

  6. Brocantes are so fun... we get a few in Toulon but my all-time favorites have been at Isle sur la Sorgue. Looks like you had a fabulous Sunday, thank you for sharing.

  7. Kathryn - Thank you so much for your kind thoughts about my mom. We love our balcony and terrace too and spend lots of time there chatting and sipping cafes and wine.

    Liza - The recipe is very simple and it is delicious. Your guests will be impressed.

    Claudia - Thanks! I agree with you about the brocantes but they do add some excitement to a little village.

    Jo-Anne - Thanks for stopping in to leave a comment. I appreciate it very much. The day was perfect with our family there.

    Heather - You will need to stop in some time when you are back in the area. I would love to meet you.

    Megan - Any time we get with our family is such fun and especially when there is a large group of us together.

    Tuula - It was a very nice Sunday. I can't wait to do it again.