Some supermarchés sell delicious olives….with fresh, herb-infused flavors and firm textures. We’ve learned to love these olives but they’re not available at all markets so today we took a short drive to Bize-Minervois, the home of L’Olibou, an olive co-operative that sells everything olive….olives, olive oil, olive wood bowls . olive wood utensils, olive oil soaps and olive oil creams. They even have a “tasting bar” for the olives, tapenades and olive oil. My favorite olive is the Lucques, grown primarily in southern France, with it’s mild, nutty taste. We picked up a big tub of olives, a few tapenades and a loaf of olive-cheese bread and headed toward centreville (the center of town) looking for a new restaurant to try for lunch.
None of the local restaurants piqued our interest, so we headed out of town toward unexplored territory. The scenery changed from vineyards and olive groves on flat terrain to mountains with pines and garrigue scrublands. We wound our way through this new landscape, keeping a sharp lookout for lunch possibilities. The first town we happened upon was La Caunette….a small town built on a limestone cliff with signs of troglodyte caves. We determined to return on a later day and continued our quest for lunch.
As we rounded a bend, we spied the impressive Cité de Minerve, a medieval town built high on a cliff. No cars are allowed into the village….entry is from a long bridge off the main road….definitely not wheelchair or cannes friendly….with a sigh of disappointment, we continued our trek.
It was getting too late for restaurant dining so, with no map to guide us, we used the signposts for direction and aimed for towns with names we recognized. As we followed this serpentine route home, I saw my first field of sunflowers….their bright yellow blooms a striking contrast against the greens of the vineyards….more beautiful than any picture I’ve seen of these flowering giants.
After a light lunch at home, Craig drove into town to pay my Kinesiotherapy bill…..12.48 euros a session…..less than my co-pay would be in California!
We had a simple al fresco dinner….olives, tapenade, olive bread and olive oil with a cold glass of Vermintino. Decadent but delicious.