We discover our perfect Provence moment at the two-Michelin-starred La Bastide de Capelongue. The inventive multi-course dinner on the secluded hilltop restaurant beguiles - from the oak-smoked butter to the escargot immersed in lightly creamy broth, spiked with wildflowers and also a bracing, bitter stalk to whet the appetite.
At 10pm, ensconced in our luxurious little corner scented by lilies, we are relaxed and just starting on the main course of oven-roasted quail, moistened with coriander juice. Chef Edouard Loubet is in Singapore cooking a private dinner so his wife Isabelle hosts us, at one point picking savory from the vegetable garden to show us a sauce ingredient.
The late Provence sunset over the hills of Luberon is a midsummer night's dream.
Where: La Bastide de Capelongue, Les Claparedes, Chemin des Cabanes, 84480 Bonnieux Info: www.capelongue.com/en/
YOUNG WINE, DESSERTS GALORE
In our hiking shoes, we chill out on the shaded terrace of Le Mesclun, sipping a young, light-bodied, "happy" red wine from a village 5km away. When we do not order the chef's signature goat cheese (above) for lunch, he sends it anyway and it proves to be delicately flavoured and lovely with baby carrots and other just-picked vegetables from his plot.
It drizzles, so we move to a cosy, contemporary room, where we relish veal done two ways, in an airy fried packet and as a ham-like mince.
It is the good life as we linger over a set of French desserts, from dark-chocolate mousse to pate de fruit (fruit-puree confection) to macaron.
Where: Le Mesclun, Rue des Poternes, 84110 Seguret Info: Call +33-4-9046-9343
FOIE GRAS WITH A VIEW
From our elegant rooms, the Restaurant La Citadelle within our hotel is steps away. In our vaulted alcove, we wine and dine with a vista of the Luberon countryside, as the La Bastide de Gordes Hotel is set high on mediaeval ramparts in the citadel-city of Gordes.
I savour five crisp-tender spears of poached asparagus and silken foie gras, served with tart fruit chutney and toast squares. Richly tender lamb chops are paired simply with grilled vegetables.
Where: Restaurant La Citadelle (La Bastide de Gordes Hotel), Rue de la Combe, 84220 Gordes Info: bastide-de-gordes.com/en/home/
FRESH FLAVOURS, LUXURIANT NATURE
We walk on a long driveway shaded by impressive plane trees and flanked by a field of wild red-orange Flanders poppies.
The Le Pont de l'Orme restaurant has a luxuriant spaciousness and we lunch outdoors, on a terrace under a trellis of vines, while a cocker spaniel puppy plays.
Pork, chicken and liver terrines are served in a rustic oval container. The octopus ceviche comes with beet sauce and olives. I love the lightness of the zucchini flower stuffed with ricotta (above), and the seared tuna.
Where: Le Pont de l'Orme, Route de Suzette, 84340 Malaucene Info: Call +33-4-9046-1750
Bouillabaisse is the flavour of lively port-city Marseille. Originally concocted from scraps of fish and shellfish and cooked in a pot of sea water, this fisherman's stew is elegantly reimagined (above) at Une Table, au Sud, a serene space with a view of white sails.
Petite portions of sea bass, red mullet and hake are arranged on a plate and a luscious bouillabaisse is poured onto the fresh fish.
Every dish at lunch has finesse with a bit of punch. A long slice of robust squid-ink bread sits with slender ribbons of vivid vegetables, beet and carrot included.
For dessert, flamboyant chocolate petals are paired with a citrus-passionfruit sauce and spiced ice cream. We order a Domaine Gavoty 2015 rose, as refreshing blush-pink rose wine is also redolent of Provence.
Where: Une Table, au Sud, 2 Quai du Port, 13002 Marseille Info: Call +33 4 9190-6353 or e-mail email@example.com