Of the many inns we have visited, there are very few which have taken a theme and executed it so beautifully as L’Auberge Provencale (new website coming soon) in White Post, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley. We’ve shot the inn and restaurant several times and every time we are there, we’re awestruck at the great attention to detail, particularly the way the Provence theme is so pervasive and consistently addressed. From the French-style orchard to the ochre-stained plaster walls covered with French art to the fragrance of lavender in the garden to the house-made croissants that arrive in a basket at breakfast each morning. More than all of that is the sense of quality and craftsmanship that you tend to see in all things French. Farm-to-table dining is trendy these days…but these guys have been doing it for 30 years! The sum total of all this recreates the experience of visiting a fine Auberge in the south of France, right in the backyard of one of the most populated regions in the US–the Washington DC metro area.
At the end of this post, you’ll find a recipe for a fantastic rustic onion tart; be sure to check it out.
Here a few shots from our last shoot:
Alfresco dining at L’Auberge Provencale’s Restaurant…go totally French and enjoy a long nap after the meal!
The kitchen garden at the inn. These guys were doing “Farm-to-Table” long before it was cool
Natural-pigment ochre that one finds in ancient buildings in Provence is also found throughout the Inn. It’s all in the details!
Imported French tile in the bathroom
Provence-style picnic in in the orchard
A still life in the inn’s gardens
Some of the beautiful creations from the Inn’s kitchen
Local Morel mushrooms and fiddle-head fern pasta
The gardens at the Inn looking towards the Inn’s orchard
Onion Tart – The recipe is below
Provençale Caramelized Onion Tartlet with Fresh Thyme Flowers
Makes Two Tarts
2 oz Butter, room temperature
1/4 oz Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup of Warm Water
1 0z. Sugar
1 Tsp. Salt
12 0z. Bread Flour
In Mixer, Hydrate yeast in Water. Add egg, add sugar, and 2/3 flour. Let proof in bowl and then add last 1/3 of flour with butter and Salt. Let proof again, about 30minutes. Remove from bowl and place on floured surface.
Punch down and roll into 2 12″ diameter circles 1/4 inch thick. Put on Baking Pans. Let proof again.
While the dough is proofing on the baking pans make caramelized onion topping.
4 Large Vidalia Onions cut in have and sliced into strips about 1/4 inch thick.
2 tablespoons fresh Thyme (de-stemmed)
1 cup of White Wine
4 tablespoons of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/4 cup of fresh thyme flowers
In Skillet sautée onions in Olive Oil. Add salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes. Add White Wine. Cook until the Onions are translucent and onion begins to change to a light caramel color. Add Thyme and Remove from heat.
Put onion mixture on top of dough. Bake at 350 degrees until the crust is golden brown. . Just before serving drizzle with Provencale Pizza Oil or Olive Oil and garnish with fresh thyme flowers and freshly ground black pepper.