Eurotripping | A Taste of Home in Arles

Since we had time on the drive from Marseille to Toulouse, we took an hour out for a lunch stop in Arles, a town that inspired many famous painters, including Van Gogh, Gaugin and Picasso. It's also the place that gave me a taste of home.

I'm pretty sure I'd seen another outlet of the restaurant, Bar Le Saxo, in Marseille as well. Looking over the menu, I decided to have a meatstravaganza, ordering the charcuterie plate and a bit of "boudin Créole". Just so you know, since I left Calgary, and my known base of West Indian cooks, I have not had a satisfactory boudin noir. Nearly 12 years. Other cultures who make this dish do not season it the way we do in the Caribbean. Compared to ours, they don't seem to season it at all.

Caribbean blood pudding is, quite simply, more deeply flavourful, with just a hint of heat in it, than what I've had in North America. But I decided to try this one, as it was meant to be in a Creole style, and my hope was not in vain. This, this was a proper blood pudding! Turns out the chef was from Guadeloupe, which I found out from the waiter when I told him, in halting French, that the dish reminded me of my mother's; so it all made sense. When I took that first bite, I got giddy with nostalgic joy. And the feeling continued until the last bite, slathered onto some perfectly crusty rounds of baguette.

Everything on the charcuterie plate was delicious as well, but I was particularly fond of the ham. It just tasted... real. Soft, but not in that grocery store ham way, with just the right balance of sweet and salt. The bit of salad on the side was overdressed, but this meal wasn't about greens, was it? Everyone else declared their meals very good as well, so I think I can safely recommend, if you're ever in Arles, you wouldn't go wrong stopping by Le Saxo.


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