I just had a 5 course meal over four hours of wonderful conversation in this setting. I don’t know what could top my “happy place” than that!
I pulled up to this Chateau which was set steep on the hillside. I was immediately taken with the olive trees… Then it was the vineyard … Then the roman pool with fountains. Oh … Once inside this home I wanted everything …. Everything Patricia Wells has! I was so taken with the allure and depth of this property which they call “Chanteduc.” It sounds so strong and masculine … Very official doesn’t it? It deserves to be. Patricia and her husband Walter spoke of how they have mastered agriculture and that every single living thing has a life span. They take NOTHING for granted. They use everything they can from their land. I was fascinated! This was the opening speech after introductions.
Upon my arrival I met all of these lovely people who I am sharing this experience with. I then was served an exquisite glass of champagne! This was served with a medjool date stuffed with walnuts and fennel, seared and seasoned with fleur de sel divine!
Patrica and Walter kept coming to France and renting homes in the 80’s..Usually apartments in Paris and one time they decided to rent a home in Provence. They rented this Chateau. They had such a lovely time that the next year they wanted to rent it again… The owner emailed back with sincere apologies that the property was up for sale and would not be available to rent. They went to dinner in New York, where they were currently living, and had a strong pull that they should buy this property. After a year of negotiations it was theirs. I am visiting 33 years later. They purchased this home before I was born.
Patricia said she is in love with this property as it holds the whole history of her and Walter’s love story and their careers. She said they started by planting one caper tree. Then they got into viticulture… Then the fruit trees, herbs, vines, roman statues, vegetables, and olive trees. EVERYTHING has meaning. Who in the world could not be moved by this story?
Goat Cheese and Onion Gratins came around next as well as olives from their trees with rosemary!
Even the linen napkins have the initial for Chanteduc. The attention to detail tonight did not go un-noticed.
Ten of us moved into the vine wrapped courtyard and were served several courses …. The wine for the evening was Cotes-du-Rhone, Rouge Clos 2012
I,of course snagged a seat next to the host of honor… Patricia
I am so intrigued by this woman. And not just because she is VERY good friends with Ina Garten from the show “Barefoot Contessa.” They meet in Paris and test recipes several times a year! Can I be a fly on the wall please? Now I believe I should live in Paris and join them occasionally… 😉 one can only dream …
Patricia told me the stories of how it was as she worked as a journalist for the New York Times… In Paris. She spoke about the language barrier, the culture, and what these articles on the best bistros were all about . Best dinner conversation I have had in a long time.
Other topics at the table were how capers can only be hand picked and beer is good for producing breast milk… Who knew?! Also, much about wines of the region… and career focuses. Cultures, language, economy and philosophy. I love this… Eating with total strangers and getting deep!
Here is what was served tonight! Of course Patricia gave me all the recipes…
If you can believe it… All 9 other classmates are women! I am the youngest 🙂 go figure! I am so blessed to be getting these experiences at my age. I am so grateful.
At the end of the meal we asked Patricia how she built this beauty on top of beauty. She explained how it all organically came together. Came to be year after year. She ended her thoughts with…
“I love it here. There is such a peacefulness and it takes my breath away sometimes. And…. God, well he obviously loves it here too!”
More to come!