Tag Archives: Var

Tourtour: Le Village dans le Ciel

It was too overcast for the pool today so we walked up into the village. Tourtour is known as “the village in the sky” because of its stunning views from the top. We meandered through the streets climbing our way up to the the square.

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Mayor's Office, Town Hall

Mayor’s Office, Town Hall

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We passed by the Moulin a Huile, where the villagers bring their olives to be weighed and pressed into olive oil.  Tourtour has a cooperative system where the oil is distributed on a pro-rata basis depending on how many kilos of olives each villager contributes.

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Making olive oil is a two-step process of grinding and pressing. First, the olives are placed under the stones and squashed to make a paste. The olive miller then collects the paste and puts it into jute baskets.

For the pressing, two piles of about 20 jute baskets are placed, one on top of the other, under the press. The first pressing is “cold,” then the baskets are soaked in hot water before the second pressing.

Olive Press

Olive Press

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Olive oil features a lot in Provençal cooking, including many of the restaurants and cafés in the leafy town square. Tourtour also boasts a few galleries and boutiques.

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I wanted to take this dapper furball home but he was 320 euros!

I wanted to take this dapper little furball home but he was 320 euros!

Instead, I splurged on this little black number (to wear to the beach this week) from the prêt à porter boutique, Florence.

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We stopped at a café by the fountain to revive ourselves with a cold citron pressé – freshly squeezed lemon juice, which you can water down a little bit, add a teensy pinch of sugar to sweeten it up, stir and enjoy!

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This handsome pup kept cool as a cucumber under our café table and begged me to throw him his slobbery pinecone – which he kept retrieving and laying at my sandals again and again. I think I finally wore him out!

Our final ascent was up to the village chapel perched on the hilltop where we could look down on the gorgeous Var landscape below.

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Good thing the way home is all downhill!

Château de Berne Wine Tasting

Temperatures in Provence have been sweltering this summer, and a day at a private estate sampling the region’s famed rosé sounded like just the ticket.

You can find Château de Berne down a long shady lane amongst 1,500 acres of olive trees and vineyards in the heart of the Var region. The winery produces a full range of award-winning wines, but is particularly known for its rosé.

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Chateau de Berne

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I had a quick tour of the grounds. The rose bushes at the end of the vineyards indicated that the vines were in good nick. The grapes were plump and waxy. And the tractor was running just fine.

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And now into the winery to sample the harvest!

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Tastings and shop

Tastings and shop

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The cellars

The cellars

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Grande Cuvée Rosé 2011

Grande Cuvée Rosé 2011

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My favorite - Cuvée Sauvage (Rosé) Brut

My favorite – Cuvée Sauvage (Rosé) Brut

We followed our wine tasting with a light lunch at Le Bistrot.

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Tapas

Tapas

Lemon meringue tart

Lemon meringue tart

And a final romp around the beautifully landscaped grounds!

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The rosé and heat had me feeling flushed. As we were leaving I accidentally walked into an electric fence and got zapped! I was literally shocked by what a great time I had at Chateau le Berne. Santé!