Pétanque & Pastis in Pernes-les-Fontaines

Recipe for a perfect Sunday afternoon:

-1 picturesque French village with gravel playing court
-6-10 boules, one cochonnet
-1 good bottle of Pastis (or two)
-Ice in the cooler
-A bounty of tasty, salty snacks
-Slowly approaching dusk
-Lovely, laughing friends

Mix all ingredients, laugh heartily and merrily bike your way home.








The Most Beautiful Coffee in the World…and Darn Tasty Too!

I’m convinced that I found the most delightful and artfully crafted coffee in Italy, but I’m also afraid I might have burned some bridges by overly praising and doting on the barista.

Remember the old English nursery rhyme about Jack Sprat?

Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.¹

It’s one of the few childhood ditty’s etched into my memory, and the proprietors of this chic coffee shop brought it to life for me like never before.

The stout wife, who works the register, is a voluptuous, dominant woman, and her tall husband, the barista, skinny as a rail with a pencil-thin mustache, is docile, dutiful and rather submissive. Due to the cafe’s convenient location near my home, I got in the habit of going everyday (sometimes twice daily!) and quickly fell in love with the bitter macchiatos and heavenly cioccolato caldo. Maybe I was too quick to praise the barista’s outstanding work, too enthusiastic or too overtly grateful and smiley in general, but after the prerequisite congenial hello upon my arrival, the couple began to quarrel when I was in the shop. One day, on the occasion when the barista presented me with this beautiful rose in my cappuccino, an argument ensued for a couple of minutes, long enough to make my coffee cold, before it arrived at my table. What words were exchanged under whispers and hisses, I will never know, but it was clear I needed to move on and find another café to frequent.


I’ll dream of that delicious coffee, no doubt. I fear I might never again be the recipient of such beautiful foam art! Let me know if you know of a good replacement cafe, and I will divulge the location in turn. Then we can compare notes on what art appears on your cappuccino, and if it was delivered with a smile or a hiss.