We had planned to stop at L’Isle Sur la Sorgue, a nearby town that hosts a large Sunday Market, so we drove past the turn-off to Avignon and headed toward Orange. As we neared our turn-off, snow-topped mountains loomed in front of us….the French Alps! Sometimes we just have to pinch ourselves to make sure we’re not dreaming. It was a glorious sight. This picture doesn’t do them justice, but it was the best we could do from the confines of the péage.
We left the péage at Orange and somehow missed the turn to L’Isle Sur la Sorgue. It was noon and we were getting hungry, so we decided to skip the market and stop for lunch. This being Sunday, most restaurants were closed and those that were open were in locations too difficult to return to. We had almost given up hope of a good meal when we spied an Italian restaurant with a nearby parking lot. We’ve learned not to look a gift horse in the mouth, so we parked the car and walked in “La Grappa.”
There were five other diners in the small restaurant…..this was a promising sign. We were seated and given an amuse bouche of bruschetta. The menu was written on a large chalkboard…..another good sign. We needed no explanation, but a genial man in a chef’s hat (who we took to be the owner) came by to explain the choices to us in a language that combined Italian, French and English. Craig chose lasagna and I chose ravioli with Italian white truffles.
The restaurant began to fill…..another couple, a family of four, two policemen picking up a large order for their station, two more couples, a family of eight…..Craig and I smile knowingly…..the food here will be good.
Our dishes arrived soon. Craig was very pleased with his lasagna…..tomatoes, cheeses and meats baked to perfection. I could smell the pungent truffles before the ravioli arrived….a large plate full of these delicacies stuffed with ricotta and truffles, floating on a mild cream sauce. The aroma was powerful but the taste….so hard to describe but so gratifying…..an earthy, rich flavor, like mushrooms yet not like them at all. The flavor was divine…..and became more toothsome with each bite. I was in food heaven….our host could tell by the look on my face and was very pleased.
The meal was so enjoyable, we didn’t want it to end so we ordered dessert. Craig ordered the Chef’s special….small servings of crème brulee, chocolate tart and a profiterole with a burnt sugar topping. All were divine. In keeping with the Italian theme, I chose the Baba au Limoncello. Either the chef made a mistake or he decided that I hadn’t made the best choice because after one bite, I knew this wasn’t the dessert I ordered…..I also knew it wouldn’t be sent back.….. it was a Baba au Rhum and was one of the most divine desserts I’ve ever had….small rum infused cakes teased with chocolate and surrounded by and topped with whipped cream…… ahhhh.
Two espressos later and we were on the road to Avignon.