Le Camion Bleu du Hameau reopens the first of June. Quite an event, officially starting the season of dining outside and enjoying late summer evenings.
The skies have turned permanently blue in The Alpilles countryside and dining out is now a season’s must, especially in the relaxed atmosphere of the Hameau’s main square. Le Camion Bleu, a vintage Citroen food truck, is located on the Hameau’s square, under the centenary plane tree, where the fountain’s murmur sets the mood.
In that pocket sized kitchen –and the adjacent roasting pan - Chef Stephan Paroche has imagined a simple yet delicious menu, elaborated with local organic or locally grown ingredients. Meats come from Paradou’s butcher Michel Vincent, or Alazard and Roux butchers in the city of Tarascon, just a few kilometers away. The chicken, lamb, and pork all come from these addresses, according to the day’s display. The organic vegetables come from Bruno Cayron’s garden, in Tourves, near the scenic village of Saint Maximin la Sainte Baume.
But the Hameau’s garden also produces some vegetables, both served at the Cicada and Camion. The usual Mediterranean lot include: tomatoes, eggplants, chicory, mizuna (a Japanese salad), beans, gourmet peas, rave cabbage, squash, beans, corn, peppers, beets and chard. A few herbs as well : savory oregano, marjoram; agastache (slightly aniseed aromatic much appreciated by insects polinizers) different kinds of sage, mint, verbena, parsley, lovage (also called "perpetual celery") curry plant, dill, tarragon, coriander… Our gardener has also indulged in the chef’s passion for edible flowers and cultivates nasturtiums, marigolds, blueberries, and mustard. The Hameau’s garden is entirely organic and does not use any kind of chemical : all treatments are handmade by Jérémie, the gardener. He also coordinates the olive picking from the 500 trees of the park, which produced an impressive 2 tons of fruits last year! The Hameau’s olive oil is pressed in nearby Fontvieille, a lovely village closely associated with the writings of provençal poet Alphone Daudet. The oil is used for the Camion’s gazpacho : emulsified, it vivifies the colors and gives a nice smooth touch to the dish.
Among the simple and tasty and seasonal food on the menu is the mandatory creamy Burrata, a certified Camargue’s bull burger, a gourmet hot dog and a yummy truffle croque-monsieur, just to name a few. Seaward side, the cod is certified sustainable fishing (no trawl). Desserts emphasize fresh tastes with milk shakes, strawberries, Italian ice cream…and of course the chocolate aficionado can’t be forgotten - with a crispy chocolate-praline to die for. Wines are chosen with the same bias as at the Cicada (open for dinner time, with its beautiful terrace, except for lunch during the summer) only with a smaller selection, nice and easy to drink. The highlight is also on natural wines, especially the house’s favorites: Domaine Hauvette and Domaine de Lauzières, both branded Baux de Provence, all first certified organic wineries in France.
Another good reason to party, from July 7 to August 24, the square turns into a musical scene: Fridays are for Guinguette (vintage French touch) and Saturdays are for jazz. Make sure to book a table ! The Camion Bleu welcomes you from Tuesday to Saturday, for lunch between 12:00 and 14:00 (new) or for dinner between 19h00 et 20h00.