Hôtel du Nord, Vaour

This is another great story from Elizabeth David’s “Mediterranean Food”, which you can now buy in a collection of three of her classic books. (As with the other story, thanks to Graham for pointing it out to me.)

“Vaour is a village I don’t know how many miles off Fenayrols. I only know that we went there, and it lies eleven kilometres from a railway station. The Hôtel du Nord at Vaour is illustrious throughout the region for its cookery. People travel vast distances uphill in order to enjoy it. We did. We arrived at eleven o’clock and lunch was just ending. The landlord and landlady in the kitchen said that we were unfortunately too late for a proper meal, but they would see what they could do for us. Here is what they did for us:

“We ate everything; every dish was really distinguished. I rank this meal with a meal that I once ate at the Etoile restaurant at Brussels, once, if not still, the finest restaurant in the world - and about the size of, say, Gow’s in the Strand.

“In addition, there were three wines, a vin blanc ordinaire, a vin rouge ordinaire, and a fine wine to finish with. The fine wine was fine.

“The total bill, for two persons, was seven francs.”

[From “Things that Have Interested Me” by Arnold Bennett.]