It had been a withering summer so far. Long with suffering. Scorching. Dry. Battering. Depleting. So when we were invited to dinner at a “secret gypsy restaurant” last night, we were reluctant to accept what would otherwise have been a whimsical invitation.
But we were intrigued. How can anything in an area so sparsely populated be little-known, much less secret?
Are we to understand that there is a band of gypsies (common in these parts but not known for their restauranteering) which is producing some kind of minstrel-and-culinary show along the banks of the Tarn which goes unnoted except for the few cognoscenti locals who flock to it regularly on hot summer evenings?
This, we were told, was precisely the case – grilling their meats with old vine wood.
In the end we were more than glad we did accept the invitation. We received more than a dinner including grilled pendu meats and pear ices for dessert. We were treated also to a long surprise journey through the parched summer countryside, strings of swaying colored lights, one of the actual Gipsy Kings playing a side gig for his old friends en route from Montpelier to Paris, and a little mystery hidden in the hills just above our house which seemed like a magical portal to better times.
While we were eating, surrounded by smoke and laughter and music, a storm blew in pouring down first a shower of black scarab beetles shaken from the trees, then a whirl of yellow heart-shaped leaves, and finally a cool rain for the first time in many weeks, bringing both us and the countryside back to life. Magic, indeed.