Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where everybody could know your name

While spending a vacation in a wine country, even a beer drinker like myself could convert into a wine drinker. It is great drinking beer when it is hot, but a nice rosé wine is also nice. And especially when you are in an area where local wine is produced.

One of the French villages I visited this summer was Fox-Amphoux in Provence. Fox-Amphoux is in a way two villages three kilometres apart. On the hillside above the many grape fields you can find the old village, and among all the wine-to-be you find the village centre with a town hall, school and library.

Three or four hundred people live in Fox-Amphoux, and the old village is a beautiful sight with its medieval church and beautiful stone houses. Near the school on the flatland you can find a little shop and the local inn. The local inn is owned by a married couple, and Jean and Chantal serves dinners and drinks. Myself I visited the little restaurant several times, as I found the place both inviting and with really great hosts. It is first and foremost for the locals, as rather few tourists venture into the inn.

Dinner is a menu at 12.50 Euros. The dishes changes from day to day, but you always get a starter, a main dish and some dessert. Portions were large, so I felt the place was a good value for money restaurant.

In the warm Summer weather I enjoyed sitting outside in the shadow of the trees, drinking some wine and talking to the locals when they knew some English. Otherwise we used sign language, and there is much that can be said through fingers and gestures.

Inside in the bar, a large boar with sunglasses covers one of the walls. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it, as it was stunning. The proprietor, Jean, is a third generation innkeeper in Fox-Amphoux, and he shot the boar himself after a long chase. During the hunt the boar bit his brother, but everything turned out fine in the end. A large owl is also to be found over the bar, and there are also pictures of famous French soccer stars.

I had a few glasses of pastis at the bar during my days in Provence, and Jean always insisted that I drank the local variant from Marseilles. It is supposed to be produced with only natural ingredients, and I found it superior to for instance Pernod.

But I had to have some beer after all, and in the bar they only sold beers from bottles. I decided to try something new for me and ended up with Fischer. This is a beer from Alsace served in a swing-top bottle. Poured into the glass this is a golden lager with both much carbonation and a large head. The nose is flowery and malty, and the first sip tells this is a strong lager. There is an alcohol taste inbetween the malts and hints of hops. But I liked it, and went on to have another bottle. But then I stopped. At more than 6% alcohol this was no session beer, but it was one of the lagers I really liked in France.

I hope to go back to France again soon. Then there will be more Fischer, but there will also be some wine tasting...


  1. The Fischer is widely available in Italy as well. Often on draft, and its not bad at all.

  2. Fischer is not a bad choice. Next time, you should check some ales from Bretagne, like Duchesse Anne or Telenn Du.