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Le Castelas Sivergues - Lunch or Dinner?

m
mc22 Jun 19, 2011 02:04 PM

Planning a trip to the region and would love to visit. It will be late June, so not worried about the light. Would y'all recommend Saturday dinner or Sunday lunch? Also if doing Saturday dinner, does anyone have experience with staying there? Or somewhere nearby?

I've searched all over the place and found lots of cool pictures and descriptions of the road, but nothing concrete. Thanks for any help you can provide!

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  1. DaTulip Jun 19, 2011 04:14 PM

    I haven't been, but it looks like you can stay at their B&B as well:
    http://en.luberonweb.com/location-1919/Le_Castelas/Le_Castelas.php

    Also here is a link to one review on the food:
    http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la...

    1. Parigi Jun 20, 2011 11:27 AM

      Just had an excellent Sunday lunch there. Hmm, concrete you want? I think I will fail you. The ferme-auberge serves what it grows/raises. Excellent freshness + simple preparation. No choice. Enchanting experience.

      Remember it is a ferme-auberge. Therefore do not expect sophisticated preparation. But there is no freshness like it.

      Lastly, the roads around it, especially the road to Saignon and around Saignon are full of the brightest deepest purple lavender. Should be at their best in the next two weeks. Therefore I do recommend Sunday lunch, so that you don't miss this most enchanting sight.

      1. boredough Jun 20, 2011 12:37 PM

        Here's Kurtis' recent review of his experience at le Castelas:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781261
        As for when to go, I apologize for adding to your indecision by recommending you go there for dinner. First of all, it stays light until approx 9:30pm during that time of year. This means you can visit Saignon & the lavender fields before dinner, which starts at 7:30. Second, the sunset from le Castelas is beautiful, and adds tremendously to the unique experience. Third, the delicious roast pig is not served at lunch. As for the dirt road leading from the center of Sivèrgues to the farm, it is about 2kms and really not that bad if you drive slowly. We have made the roundtrip for dinner no less than 10 times, and have never had a problem in the dark. (We do NOT have an SUV.)

        15 Replies
        1. re: boredough
          Parigi Jun 20, 2011 12:52 PM

          "Third, the delicious roast pig is not served at lunch."

          Yes it was, on Sunday lunch.

          1. re: Parigi
            boredough Jun 22, 2011 12:01 AM

            Interesting to know...thanks.
            the info on-line does not mention it for lunch, except for holidays (if I remember correctly)

            Going tomorrow night - can't wait!

            1. re: boredough
              Kurtis Jun 23, 2011 04:21 AM

              Say hello to this one who fell asleep on my lap. We named her torn-ear Jane...

               
              1. re: Kurtis
                Parigi Jun 23, 2011 04:35 AM

                Jane must have been déjeuner by now.

                1. re: Parigi
                  Kurtis Jun 23, 2011 05:01 AM

                  C'est la vie: she has become a part of my body and soul.

                  1. re: Kurtis
                    boredough Jun 23, 2011 07:13 AM

                    Well I'll try to remember to look for her! Thank goodness the sun came back out today....

                2. re: Kurtis
                  boredough Jun 23, 2011 02:24 PM

                  Sadly the goats didn't come back from their own "dining" until after 10 pm, so we couldn't look for your friend Jane. Note to Parigi: friends have been to le Castelas for lunch and were not served roast pig, but we learned something new, thanks to you. I asked about the schedule for lunch, and now they do serve roast pig for Saturday & Sunday lunches. Mon-Fri lunches do not include this special dish. Good to know.

                  1. re: boredough
                    mangeur Jun 23, 2011 02:29 PM

                    Why we love Chow!

                    1. re: boredough
                      Parigi Jun 23, 2011 03:51 PM

                      Le Castelas has always served a hot pig lunch on Sunday, as long as I have known it. I know that during the week days, they serve only cold cuts and salad. But the OP had asked about Sunday lunch, and I specified Sunday lunch also.
                      Grim re Jane, mais bon...
                      I hope you have as excellent a time as we did: faaabulous weather, no mistral, and the pig Chouchou came to say hello. Am afraid Chouchou may, hey, be in your tummy right now.

                      1. re: Parigi
                        boredough Jun 23, 2011 11:30 PM

                        Since we always go for dinner, I had never focused on lunch - except for the one time we went for Easter (when in fact we had lamb). Having heard from friends that their lunch was pig-less, I thought only holidays included the roast pig. (Silly me.) However the addition of pig for Saturday lunch does not even appear on the menu/tariff posted at the farm's entrance. As for Chouchou, you may be right. Let me know if you ever see her again....
                        And in case he didn't hand you his card, Dmitri just opened a second place called l'Auberge des Crêtes in la Palud sur Verdon (near the lac de St Croix). We wonder if it has the same charm as le Castelas....

                        1. re: boredough
                          Kurtis Jun 24, 2011 05:47 AM

                          "Dmitri just opened a second place called l'Auberge des Crêtes in la Palud sur Verdon"

                          That's nice to know, great!

                          Somewhat implied in my report on Le Castelas - did not mention roasted pork as one of the highlights of the meal - was that we were rather underwhelmed with the roasted pig on both Sunday dinners: leathery, overcooked and soggy. I am quite sure for both times that it was not roasted for the meal (likely leftover from the lunch roast), and perhaps rightfully so since both times there were only 4-6 guests total for the Sunday dinner. So, Parigi's suggestion for the lunch may be after all a better guidance for Sunday meal, although things may be different during the peak season when particular days of the week means less.

                          "Am afraid Chouchou may, hey, be in your tummy right now."

                          Or Miki in old days...

                          1. re: Kurtis
                            Parigi Jun 24, 2011 06:01 AM

                            On Sunday lunch several waiter carried out the whole pig for a parade around the row of tables. We all applauded the victory lap.
                            The meat was tender and juicy.
                            The chocolate cake with a biscuit layer was astonishingly good too.

                            1. re: Parigi
                              Kurtis Jun 24, 2011 07:33 AM

                              More the reason to return!

                            2. re: Kurtis
                              boredough Jun 28, 2011 06:14 AM

                              For the record, our roast pig on Thursday was delicious & moist, with the most wonderful crackling (about which I still dream). Sorry to hear that your experience was different, but as you say, you'll just have to go back.

                              1. re: boredough
                                Kurtis Jun 28, 2011 06:42 AM

                                "For the record, our roast pig on Thursday was delicious & moist, with the most wonderful crackling (about which I still dream)."

                                Lucky you and your dream, as I can only madly hallucinate...

              2. Kurtis Jun 23, 2011 07:45 AM

                Hi mc22, tough choices to make especially in planning stage. I think either decision you make you will feel you made the right decision :)

                But to add to the report I wrote which boredough gave the link to... If you like to sleep in and linger, and have breakfast at 10am or on demand, I don't think this is a place where you want to do that; at least I wouldn't feel right. I am an early riser, and 7-7:30am simple outdoor breakfast was a wonderful experience: I woke up to see the sunrise, and walked around the farm till breakfast which was very calming and nice. I hope this pic is helpful.

                 
                2 Replies
                1. re: Kurtis
                  m
                  mc22 Jun 23, 2011 10:16 AM

                  Kurtis, so helpful! As was your entire trip report! You literally inspired the entire vacation! (I'm in Paris, so that was easy to make happen).

                  Wanted to pass that along so you could feel good about having disciples following you to deliciosness in Provence. And thanks for that info - I'll probably stay elsewhere as I am not such a morning person and wouldn't be much fun around then anyways!

                  1. re: mc22
                    Kurtis Jun 24, 2011 05:51 AM

                    Thanks! My paths were well-paved ones by the combined help of this board. The luxury of happenchances aren't/shouldn't be limited to frequent travelers, and it's always on retrospect that I didn't leave more room for this. Enjoy!

                2. m
                  mc22 Jul 4, 2011 02:13 AM

                  Report! We went for lunch. And we enjoyed the roast pig, so that again answers that question! (It was a Sunday).

                  It took quite a while to drive up there, but that's because we were coming from the market at L'Isle Sur La Sorgue (though we spent the night in Saignon - go figure).

                  Very welcome! I learned that the key is just to say you have a reservation, no matter what (we did). But if you didn't, lie. Lie like a rug. There was plenty of food. (That is if you aren't a huge party). Was glad I didn't have to worry about that though!

                  The set-up was a little strange in that there was a big lunch area in one place and then a separate private party down the hill a bit. I don't think it was a wedding, I decided it was a vows renewal and my significant other declared me the cheesiest person in the world (pre-cheese course!) But what a fun spot!

                  Other aesthetic observations: I had heard much about the goats, but not so much about the pigs?! If you don't like farm animals, avoid avoid avoid. I thought they were kind of fun if occasionally disruptive. There are a lot! And they are under the table and nosing you from behind. The goat was positively civilized in comparison! My best mental image of the day was a pig trotting long between tables looking as pleased as could be - with an oversized baguette clasped firmly in his jaw.

                  I would also note that a major difference (I would imagine) b/w lunch and dinner is probably the number of kids. There were 30 or so kids under age 10 running around that Sunday. I would imagine the number is less for dinner? I like kids, and they were cute with the animals, but if you don't want to feel like you are part of a 2nd grade field trip you might want to err on the side of dinner? Unless you have kids to bring with you! In which case I can't think of anything more fun!

                  As for the food - delicious, of course. Although that is 50% the food and 50% the atmosphere. And you really do feel like you know a special secret when you get up there - albeit a secret you share with many. I very much enjoyed the country pate to begin - the lentils were nice but a little soggy. And the charcuterie. The cheese plate was beautiful! An education in and of itself with all sorts of varieties - I would have loved to have someone explain them, but as it was I just enjoyed. And I was ready to buy honey at every farmstand we passed after enjoying it with the cheese.

                  The roast pork was great and a lot of fun - it did feel freshly prepared. Although it was a bit sad to look down at Wilbur just as I was biting into his brother. Vegetarians, beware. The red peppers and lentils were lovely, but this place is not for you!

                  Thanks to all for the info and suggestions.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mc22
                    Parigi Jul 4, 2011 02:19 AM

                    Hilarious. Informative. Hilarious. Thank you.
                    My only disagreement is the lying part. I think we should be polite and reserve ahead instead of lying about it, -- but that's just I.

                    1. re: Parigi
                      boredough Jul 4, 2011 07:16 AM

                      I agree that you shouldn't lie about a reservation, nor is it necessary under most circumstances. And no one bothers to ask your name to find out if you DO have a reservation anyway. The reason to call ahead is selfish: to make sure you are not going to make the long, bumpy trip to the end of that dirt road, only to find out le Castelas is closed for a private party. It does happen, as I know from at least one of my reservation attempts. We've also gone there (as a party of 4 when it was chilly, probably late April/early May ) and found we were the ONLY diners. Had we not reserved, maybe they would not have "opened" at all (I have no idea....)
                      Interesting point about the number of kids at lunch, though. We have never seen more than a few at dinner.

                    2. re: mc22
                      Kurtis Jul 4, 2011 08:27 AM

                      Very funny! I would be tempted if I could, and only if I can "lie like a rug." - my wife's rapidly blinking eyes will put me in jail everytime.

                      Your description of the experience here is well appreciated and is quite the contrast from my own. Thanks for the report.

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