Noilly Prat & Le Glacier

by Vanessa on August 3, 2011

[Reminder: My blogs are a week behind schedule.  My parents left on Monday morning for Nice. They emailed to say they are having a blast.]

My parents are in town now. We are so happy to see them. Unfortunately, it rained all day. This is actually the first time it’s rained / thunderstorm during the day. No worries – we made our own fun anyway. We played cards, read books (I’ve loaned my Dad “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”). He hasn’t put the book down!

Thankfully, it cleared up later in the afternoon. It was so beautiful, hot and sunny. We decided to venture down to the port. My parents can’t get over how charming this village is. Mom’s exact words were, “This village is just so charming, isn’t it?”

Chris and I have been waiting for my parents to arrive before visiting the Noilly Prat Distillery. (Chris and I have been arguing over the term “Distillery”. He doesn’t think that should be what I call it. According to him, I’m violating the rules of science. I beg to differ.) The Noilly Prat is a very famous vermouth. It has been produced on the Mediterranean coast for almost 200 years. The vermouth is made from a tried and true secret recipe.

The vermouth is distilled in barrels outside. The barrels need to be watered daily so they don’t dry out from the hot sun. The liquid is then mixed with all kinds of different spices, like nutmeg, orange and or coriander, etc… We were able to go in and see all the different spices used to create various Noilly Prat blends. It was cool to walk through the place and learn about the aging process of this delicious aperitif. It is also very good drizzled on melon (aka cantaloupe) or in all kinds of recipes / desserts.

The indoor barrels were the most interesting to look at. They are ENORMOUS. A man used to crawl through the tiniest of holes inside the barrels to clean them. In fact, I believe one man is still able to do this. Incredible. This cleaning technique is no longer done due to high alcoholic fumes inside the barrels. Could you imagine getting drunk on fumes every time you go in the barrel to clean it for work? Funny, non?

The Angels were the least bit interested in the tour. Angel # 2 was most concerned with the tour guide’s bandaged hand. She wanted me to interrupt the tour to ask the boy what happened to his fingers. This was very pressing for her. So at the end of the tour, I promptly asked the young boy how he cut his fingers. The answer – at the park! He must think we are very weird!

The sampling was fun! Chris thought all 3 samples were the best :) My parents and I love teasing him about this.

Later that night, we hit up “Le Glacier” restaurant. This is one of the few remaining restaurants Chris and I have yet to try. The decor inside is that of a boat house or dock. It is nicely decorated with sailboats, lighthouses, seashells – it has a very fishy feel.

The dinner was good. Everyone enjoyed their meal. They served the Angels long before us – which was good – but the wait for our food was so LONG, the Angels were restless by the time we were eating. They were ready to pack it in and go home.

Dad says, “Do they have to go out and catch the fish”.

Overall, the food was very good but the service was exceptionally SLOW. Chris had to take the Angels home and put them to bed while Mom, Dad and I waited almost 40 minutes to get the bill. And, we didn’t even have a drink to kill the time – they should have given us a glass of wine on the house while we were waiting :)

The place was packed – clearly it must be a popular joint, considering it was a Wednesday night and all.

One thing about the restaurants here in France – they don’t rush you out of them. They are not in a hurry to serve the next guests. I think they must just get enough food for so many tables a night – that’s that! Or they are not hungry for business.

Back home in Toronto – they are virtually ushering you out if you don’t keep on ordering. They want the table cleared and set for the next group of people. It’s so nice not to be rushed!

We finished off the evening with drinks on the rooftop patio followed by bedtime. I’m praying tomorrow is a beach day. It’s been far too long (5 days) since we were last there.

C’est tous!

PS – My Dad is reading French – he doesn’t speak a word of it. The Angels wanted him to read them a French comic book. O.M.G. We were peeing ourselves laughing. It sounds like a cross between Japanese & Middle Eastern. HYSTERICAL! Props for trying, Dad.

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