Eat local: L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

Our luncheon table on the shaded terrace overlooked the beautiful grounds and garden at L’Esprit de la Violette (a MICHELIN-starred restaurant), Aix-en-Provence, France

Our luncheon table on the shaded terrace overlooked the beautiful grounds and garden at L’Esprit de la Violette (a MICHELIN-starred restaurant), Aix-en-Provence, France

 

Remembering excellent dining in Aix-en-Provence at Clos de la Violette (adjacent to Villa Gallici Hotel and Spa, just outside of Old Town) from previous trips, we decided to book a table there with friends on this trip to Aix from Marseille (where our ship was docked).  Reading up on the restaurant we were pleased to see that it had been renovated and a new leading chef was focusing on fresh, seasonal products, especially from the Provence region.

We had an outstanding luncheon on the outdoor terrace, shaded from the August sun in Provence with a slight breeze blowing through the beautiful garden and terrace.  Some of us had the “Menu du moment” and others the “Menu l’Esprit de la Violette”.  Photographs of many of these courses follow.  And yes, they tasted as good as they looked – fresh, creative, and nice flavor combinations in each dish.  After lunch, our hearty walk back through Old Town was refreshing, before the drive back to Marseille.

 

A selection of seasonally fresh amuse bouches (single, bite-sized hors d'œuvres) to begin our luncheon at L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

A selection of seasonally fresh amuse bouches (single, bite-sized hors d’œuvres) to begin our luncheon at L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

 

An appetizer of “Tomatoes Greediness” with king prawn with coconut flavor, salt and pepper vinaigrette, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

An appetizer of “Tomatoes Greediness” with king prawn with coconut flavor, salt and pepper vinaigrette, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

 

“In the upper reaches of Aix, the former Clos de la Violette has had a facelift.  This large bourgeois villa, with its garden planted with century-old trees, is now the ‘fief’ of chef Marc de Passorio.  He concocts modern, colourful and devilishly creative cuisine, which leads diners from one lovely culinary surprise to the next.  A MICHELIN star: cuisine of great finesse.  Worth the stop!” – MICHELIN Guide 2016

 

An appetizer of “Corn and parmesan frozen velvet” with “egg parfait” and finger of bread with mushrooms, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

An appetizer of “Corn and parmesan frozen velvet” with “egg parfait” and finger of bread with mushrooms, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

 

A fish course of “Marinated salmon with sugar molasses”, juniper berries, Asian pepper and ratatouille sauce, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

A fish course of “Marinated salmon with sugar molasses”, juniper berries, Asian pepper and ratatouille sauce, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

 

A fish course of “Poached haddock fillet with star anise”, Sichuan pepper and zucchini’s declination, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

A fish course of “Poached haddock fillet with star anise”, Sichuan pepper and zucchini’s declination, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

 

 

A main course of “Roasted breast of duck with Italian white bacon” (“Lardo di Colonnata IGP”), asparagus and fingerling potatoes, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

A main course of “Roasted breast of duck with Italian white bacon” (“Lardo di Colonnata IGP”), asparagus and fingerling potatoes, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

 

A main course of “Sauteed Beef Fillet”, green vegetables “a la francaise”, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

A main course of “Sauteed Beef Fillet”, green vegetables “a la francaise”, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

 

A dessert of “Raspberry and rose ‘Saint-Honore’”, raspberry chiboust cream and sorbet, whipped cream with a rose, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

A dessert of “Raspberry and rose ‘Saint-Honore’”, raspberry chiboust cream and sorbet, whipped cream with a rose, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

 

A dessert of “Watermelon soup with yellow lemon and lime sorbet”, vanilla brioche-like biscuit and “Tiare flower” Chantilly, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

A dessert of “Watermelon soup with yellow lemon and lime sorbet”, vanilla brioche-like biscuit and “Tiare flower” Chantilly, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

 

A dessert of “ALL Chocolate”, bitter cocoa sorbet and chocolate-caramel ganache, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

A dessert of “ALL Chocolate”, bitter cocoa sorbet and chocolate-caramel ganache, L’Esprit de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence, France

 

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