It sounds almost too delicious to be true: a shiny refurbished 1950 Chevy pickup truck collects you at the elegant Bastide de Moustiers, Alain Ducasse’s 12-room inn near the Gorges du Verdon. After a 15-minute ride through the sun-drenched countryside, you arrive at the ‘’secret spot,’’ in a prairie overlooking the Margès mountains, where you find a Italian-designed solid-chestnut table under a towering white oak. A full Mediterranean style picnic will be spread out upon it.
The chefs at La Bastide de Moustiers—Christophe Martin and his team--will have prepared your feast using seasonal produce from the inn's vegetable garden and from local markets. A typical menu? A round of amuses, followed by a fresh tomato salad drizzled with fruity olive oil, courgette and basil focaccia and rabbit porchetta. Then on to the cheese--a creamy Banon perhaps—and finally, crispy sweet Provence fruit tartlets and coffee. For an extra fee, the hotel’s sommelier will choose the perfect wine to complement each course.
And all you have to do is show up in your chauffeur-driven Chevy (restored over the course of two years by an expert body-worker in Menton) and relax.
As you might expect, the ‘Picnic in a Pickup’ doesn’t come cheap: it’s €190 per person for two to six people...plus wine. But you’re worth it. And don’t forget, this is a picnic designed by Alain Ducasse, the first chef in the world to hold three Michelin stars at three different restaurants, all at the same time. (His current three-stars are Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo, at the Plaza Athénée in Paris and at the Dorchester in London. Altogether, Ducasse has 27 restaurants in eight countries with a total of 20 stars.) If you’re looking for the perfect place to propose in Provence, a laid-back yet luxurious celebration or just a pampering day out, I can’t think of a nicer way to do it. You don’t have to stay at Bastide de Moustiers in order to partake...the picnic is available to anyone. But if you are looking for a hotel near the famed ceramics village of Moustiers or the spectacular Gorges du Verdon, this one is a beaut. Doubles begin at €205. For more info click here or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 04 92 70 47 47.
**2013 Update: The Bastide de Moustiers is once again offering their gourmet picnics this summer, beginning in July. For the 2013, the picnics are 210€ per person (two people) and 190€ per person for three people or more.