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May 19, 2016

Provinicial Roots with Provencal Flair

Xavier Mathieu’s neatly flowing mane of gray-streaked, shoulder length hair ages the forty-three year old super chef prematurely, but only in appearance.  Deep in the scrubby forest that drapes the hillside of the village of Joucas in Provence, Mathieu tends to his property like a farmer tends his crops, a herder herds his flock and a vintner tends his vines.  In addition to being a remarkable chef, Mathieu is all of these, exuding the electrifying combination of disciplined artist and young chef extraordinaire while maintaining the steely gaze that personifies life in the Luberon.  Cycling from the tree lined driveway of Mathieu’s luxury stone enclave, the expansive and incredibly fertile Luberon plain bridges the northern Vaucluse Mountains with the Petit and Grand Luberon Mountains to the southeast.  The cycling- a network of tiny back roads that seem to haphazardly connect farms, vineyards and ancient hilltop towns- is a rouleur’s dream.  The food and wine are a resounding testament to the bounties produced by the land and the proud people who farm it.  The personality, exemplified by Mathieu and hidden behind the thick skin of Provençal life, is at once serious, creative and playful, the art of a man who personifies a way of life that can be viewed as uniquely ordinary.  This refreshing take on life firmly planted in the soil of one’s roots leaves little to the imagination, until you sit at Mathieu’s table for an unparalleled dining experience.  And much like cycling in the Luberon, there may be nothing to initially draw one close other than a desire to experience the original reasons I started riding my bike in the first place- the simple sensations of freedom, exploration and sensory indulgence. Read the Full Article Here 

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