If there is a more beautiful spot than this to eat Sunday lunch then I haven't yet discovered it! Nestled along the the fabulous Cote Vermeille between Port Vendres and Banyuls-sur-Mer, with its intimate coves and beaches it is a haven of peace when you want to escape the madding crowd. It is a combination of a farm, a vineyard, a restaurant and a Chambres d'Hôtes. Openings are cut into the stone walls of the outdoor restaurant to allow views of the sea and rocky hills during your meal.
Dinner is served every night during the summer season, but it is Sunday lunch where the restaurant truly shines. All the food is from the owners' farm and the local area. A sample menu includes: tapenade terre et mer (surf and turf), rascasse (a kind of fish that lives among the rocks of the local area), farm raised chicken, local cheeses and homemade chocolate cake. Every course is served with a delicious and appropriate wine from the owners' vineyard. These include a fabulous fortified Banyuls white wine and a very hearty dry red wine.
The ambiance is laid back and relaxed and it is not unusual for families to sit enjoying their meal and their time together for several hours, as my family did recently at a 4 generation meal. (ages 1-88) There is ample space for children to enjoy themselves without disturbing the other diners.
Afterwards it is de rigeur to walk down to the adjacent beach for swimming, snorkeling and sleeping off the copious amount of wine that it is almost impossible to resist. They are served so charmingly with a little description of each one. The wines are all available for purchase in the shop.
The set five-course menu includes a tasting of different Collioure or Banyuls wines served with each course from their excellent winery, for a very reasonable 39 euros.
They have 2000 hectares of terraced shale land which the grenaches grape varieties love (blancs, gris et noirs), and also the mourvédres and syrah. These grape varieties, together with the vinification process employed, gives dry Collioure wines, in white, rosé and red and sweet Banyuls wines.
Their chunky Collioure rosé is legendary and the smoky red unusually is made up of around two-thirds Mourvèdre. In addition, try the lovely Vintage or Rimage Banyuls and more tawny-styled Cap Béar.
Bon appétit et à votre santé !