Tuesday, 14 August 2012
A glamorous dinner near Antibes
A few miles inland from the yachts at harbour and the chic nightspots of Antibes and Juan les Pins, our old friends Trevor and Angela have a summer home. In this light and airy place, surrounded by gleaming pool and Italian garden, we laugh a lot and remember the first trip we made to Provence shortly after leaving university. We still can't quite work out how the four of us fitted into Trevor's Mini Metro, given there was also Angie's enormous suitcase to factor in, plus Pete who hitched a lift down from the party to Portsmouth, where we took the night ferry.
Life has changed considerably since then, but we meet every year in one or other of our very different parts of the South of France. This time we were the honoured guests, and it was a night of some splendour, with dinner for six at home on the terrace prepared by Michelin-starred chef Serge Chollet.
Champagne and canapes were served promptly at seven. By the time we were summoned to the table, we were all salivating, such were the enticing glimpses of what was to come. The first course was a millefeuille of Mediterranean vegetables and crab with a passion fruit coulis and a spaghetti of beetroot.
For the main course, Monsieur Chollet served us breast of duck with lemon, fennel and polenta:
And for dessert, a dreamy lime panna cotta sitting on a mysterious nest. He made us taste and try to guess what it was before he let us in on his secret ingredient - green and tangy sweet with a slightly crunchy texture. It was utterly delicious and I was hoping he wouldn't think I was being rude when I suggested it was courgette (zucchini) confit - but it turned out that it was! Not the best photo, below, but by that stage it was dark and the candles were lit.
The next morning, we were having breakfast when Serge reappeared to collect something he had left in the kitchen. I say reappeared, actually he roared up in his Porsche. It was a fitting finale to a sumptuous meal - and another glimpse of the glamorous Riviera lifestyle. And all the better for experiencing it with very generous friends. Cheers, Trevor and Angela!