Fabulous Gnocchi and Basil Soup: a long but delicious lunch in Sete

Long, Delicious Lunch in Sete

Today is a long day at sea and my vow to myself is to stay away from the huge lunch buffet they stage to keep us entertained. Don’t need it, don’t want it, don’t even like it. So there.

Yesterday we got off the ship for a few hours at Sete, which is a seaside town in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Strolled around a bit — it has an Amsterdam-like feel with all the canals and bridges, but unmistakably French. For lunch we went to a tiny (!) but charming place, called Paris Mediteranee, off the tourist path but easy to find. Minimal English, combined with my minimal French, still yielded a lovely, if slow-paced lunch.

By my count there were about 20 other diners over the nearly three hours we were there. Judging by the rate at which they emerged from the cabinet-sized kitchen, I am pretty sure the sole chef prepared each dish individually before sending them out, two at a time, in the hands of the sole waitress.

Still, it was worth it. We started with the two best courses of the meal. Ceviche de Daurade for me, on a “Morrocan” salad of diced vegetables and tiny, tender chick peas, full of wonderful, exotic spice. It was superb. Jerry’s first course was even superber!! Gnocchi, pan fried, with mussels and pancetta and wonderful green zebra tomatoes. It was magic.

Second courses were, for me, another starter — a tart fine with vegetables, smoked duck and sheep’s cheese. Very nice. Jerry had squid with a risotto of their ink. Tasted great, but by then we had sat a long while and he was, not entirely successfully, fighting off a nap.

Only I had dessert and it was a winner. Basil soup with a beautiful poached peach half and a scoop of peach sorbet, topped with a deep purple colored crunchy sugar. So light and fresh and summery tasting — just a delight.

By then, three hours later, we were both in dangerous nap territory. Stumbled back along the quai to the ship and slept it off. Woke up to find that we were on the move, and it was nearly time for dinner.

Next stop, tomorrow, Menorca, Spain.

Long, Delicious Lunch in Sete

Long, Delicious Lunch in Sete

Long, Delicious Lunch in Sete

Long, Delicious Lunch in Sete

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