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Snatched from the jaws of defeat

overcast 16 °C

When I woke up this morning all I could think about was our trip to Domaine Ott, like a kid at Christmas I think I tried to wake Nat up at seven so we could get to our presents. Also like many a Christmas, the rest of the house was not waking up before 9:30. No matter, we were on the road just after ten with our trusty map in hand. I jumped on the highway and figured we could make it in about 40 minutes, little did I know that there wasn't an exit off that highway for miles! No where to turn around and now well past our destination we figured we may as well just stop on our way back as we are coming back this way on Friday. I was a little disappointed, to say the least.
I hadn't done any research into the town of Eze, so it was quite the shocker after we wound our way through numerous tunnels and came upon this gorgeous little town on the hills above the Cote D'Azur. Right between Nice and Monaco, we have some pretty fancy neighbours, and the old city we explored today is just beautiful. We were recommended to stop here by a friend of Natalie's and we have already sent her an email to thank her. She even told us where to have an aperitif and where to go for dinner, both worked out better than we could have expected. As many meals as we have had on this trip, we haven't had anything that we could truly say was an unforgettable experience. Until tonight. It is called Mas Provencal and we recommend that you add it to your bucket list. We can hardly describe it properly, but if you can imagine "Alice in Wonderland" meets "The Secret Garden" and throw in perfect food, you are on the right track. The half of the restaurant we ate in is actually a glass greenhouse that Hans (the owner) says they spend about five hours a day tending. The chandelier in the centre of the room was made of hundreds of lilies and was only one tiny feature of the magical room. Waterfalls, fountains, moss covered trees, flowers, fruits, vegetables, light features and many pieces of art filled the room and kept us busy exploring before the meal started.
The host of evening, Hans, and his waiter, Eric, couldn't do enough for us and made it the memorable experience that it was. When we mentioned Natalie's friends who gave us the recommendation, we were immediately welcomed with champagne and a tour of every corner of the room. Aside from the greenhouse, there is a winter room with fireplaces and a warm wooden bar that will be opened soon for the second half of the year.
Course after course started arriving, first was smoked fish, cured meats, tapenades, roasted guinea fowl and quail eggs to go with our champagne. Next, my risotto was served from a giant wheel of parmesan and went perfectly with Nat's scallops. For our main dish, my roasted suckling pig was simply perfect and Nat's steak was equally delicious. We were starting to fade at this point, but couldn't turn down chocolate mousse or warm tarte tatin (apple pie). And with our coffee they brought dates that were stuffed with an almond paste. After such a disappointment in the beginning of the day missing the winery, it couldn't have turned out more perfectly...or could it? Instead of ordering a bottle of wine tonight, I just asked for a glass of rose while Nat helped me with my champagne. When the wine arrived it tasted strangely familiar...Domaine Ott by the glass...sometimes, things just go my way...
As we left, Hans brought Natalie a little bag with a big lily bloom on top. Inside is a small jar of something that his wife makes with vodka and grapes. We found a gem, and will return.

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Posted by colincampbell 15:36 Archived in France

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I am thrilled that both of you have had the opportunity to experience Mas Provencal at least once (so far) in your life time! It is as magical as you described and I thank you for allowing me to live through it once again through your eyes. Enjoy the rest of your travels!

by Danielle

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