VIAC Var International Aperitif Club

English speaking group running activities in the Var region of France

forthcoming:-

Monday 13th September 2014

Wine evening in Ste Maxime

Our third wine evening this year will be in Sainte Maxime from 6pm to 8pm. The evening is intended as an informal get together for a few drinks and nibbles - with the invitation extended to potential new members giving them the opportunity to meet us.

 

As before those wishing to go on for dinner afterwards will be able to book a three course meal with wine for 30 at “La Joie de Vivre” restaurant in Les Issambres - or you may visit  your own favourites in the area. There are dozens of restaurants varying in price and quality within a kilometre.

 

Please e-mail peter@absolution.co.uk if you plan to attend. He will respond in early September…

 

Thursday 25th September 2014

Car rally and/or lunch at Montferrat

Details to follow...

 

 

VIAC Calendar for rest of 2014 with something for everyone. Some dates have yet to be finalised but every effort will be made to target an alternating Tuesday and Thursday during second week of month

 

Monthly Lunches:

 

October: ?Gallere of Modern Art at St Paul de Vence. Organiser: Sue

 

Sunday 2nd November AGM at Le Cannet. Organiser: Graham

 

Saturday 6th December: Christmas lunch in St Aygulf—joint event with British Association of the Var.

 

 

Special Events:

 

Train Des Merveilles: Nice to Tende and return.  - put back to 2015 as rock fall has closed line. Organiser: Graham

Car Rally and/or lunch: 25th September, Haute Provence. Organiser: Arvid

Visit to Florence: 6th to 9th October. Organisers: Bob, Isobel and Rod

 

AMIAC

VIAC members are entitled to attend AMIAC lunches and other events at member prices. To take advantage of this facility

11th September: Auberge Provencal, Valbonne

8th October: Bleu Lavande, Valbonne

6th November: Le Caveau, Cannes + AGM

5th December: The Carlton, Cannes

22nd January: Le Grand Bastide, Opio

February: joint lunch with VIAC?

 

 

 

 

 

attended (or missed):-

Friday 11th July 2014

VIAC 25th Anniversary Ball Following a generous supply of a range of the  Chateau’s Cru Classé wine by way of an qperitif and  the opportunity to talk and catch up with people we  moved into the cool interior of La Calade where we  were served a four course meal by a local catering  company hired for the occasion. Sue Kington-Smith  had decorated the tables with glowing candles and  multi-coloured paper stars the shiny surfaces of  which glittered in the flickering flames, and added a  special air to the well laid out tables.  The meal was punctuated by some short remarks by  the present President who noted that Anniversaries  mark milestones in the life of organisations but they  should not just be thought of in terms of the past  that has led up to them, but also the future that  awaits to be shaped and the prospects to be realised.  The band providing the music started playing as the  cheese course was served, having allowed plenty of  time for us to chat before and during the meal, and  people started to dance once they had finished  eating.  Many thanks to Sue Kington-Smith for organising a  splendid evening.  The evening began under the shade of the old plane  trees in the secluded gardens of the Chateau St  Martin. Everyone was dressed in the spirit of the  black and white theme of the Ball with many  members wearing formal dress to mark the special  character of the evening.   

Thursday 12th June 2014

A third of VIAC’s membership, friends from AMIAC and members’  guests enlivened the tranquil island of St Honarat for the June  picnic.    The weather was glorious and was the perfect backdrop to an extremely  enjoyable day. The short boat  journey from Cannes to the island of  St Honorat set the tone for what  was to follow, providing excellent  views of Cannes, silhouetted against  the mountains, and the coastline of  L’Esterel. Little wonder that this is  called the Cote d’Azure given the  colour of the sea as the ferry cut  through it.    The approach to the island holds the promise of tranquille walks and sea views,  and it did not disappoint. We were able to amble along the path that circles the  island, coming across the Monastery. The Monastery’s shop sells the island’s  wine, though unfortunately there is not opportunity to sample it to determine if  it is worth the price charged. If ever any one is in doubt of the decision to live  near the Mediterranean and in this part of France, the views from the old  fortified Abbey should dispel them.  The picnic was held on the shore-line, shaded by pines, and we commandeered  the tables to lay out an interesting array of hors d’oeuvres, home cooked salmon  and chicken, hams and a wide range of salads, together with some very good  boxed wine.  Thanks to Elaine and Rod Joyce who organised the visit and lunch.   

Friday 16th May 2014

A clear blue sky, a warm sun, the effects of which were tempered by a sea breeze blowing off an azure sea, framed an excellence visit to the Mediterranean gardens of Domaine du Rayol.  The real capital of any organisation is its people and VIAC is no exception. This was exemplified by the guided tour of the gardens provided by Gill Clarke whose depth of knowledge of the plants, and her stories about them greatly enhanced the visit. For those of us who had visited the gardens previously, Gill’s expert guidance brought a new dimension to the environment as we slowly meandered along the varied pathways. For those visiting for the first time it wetted their appetite for more.  Gill and Peter planned a thoughtful route through the different parts of the garden which ensured that we saw its highlights at a measured pace and returned us to dining area at the old farm and stables in time for lunch. In keeping with the philosophy of the garden, the food was organic and made an interesting contrast to the average lunchtime offerings of many restaurants. Raw vegetables and seeds, quinoa cake, moist chicken in a yoghurt sauce, and pumpkin seeds in a crumble may not appeal to everyone but it certainly did to many of us who enjoyed the originality of the food.  Thanks to Gill and Peter Clarke who organised the visit and lunch.

Thursday 10th April 2014

The second annual gourmet lunch at the Restaurant Relais des Moines turned out to be very popular, and no wonder given the high standard of the cuisine and the service. For those of us who live in the Le Muy/St Maxime area we are lucky to have three 1 star, and one 3 star Michelin rated restaurants within easy reach. Although the star rating does not guarantee that the food will be to someone’s liking, it is, nevertheless, an indication that a restaurant and a chef are recognised as having crossed a standards’ threshold. Not surprisingly, high standards have a high tariff attached to them. However, the menu, specially selected for VIAC by the Relais des Moines, was exceptional value for such a well-appointed venue. Following an assorted amuse bouche, two menus were available, one, which celebrated the chef’s expertise in, and novel rendition of, traditional meats, the other tailored for non-meat eaters, though it was possible to mix and match. As the comments of one member quoted underscore, the execution was impeccable and sets a high standard for the Gourmet Lunch in subsequent years. Many thanks to Isobel Pritchatt for organising this lunch.

Thursday 13th March 2014

Twenty-six of us gathered on a beautiful Spring morning on the edge of Hyères marina with a lazy sea breeze setting up a gentle hum as yacht halyards smacked against their masts.  Although a lovely marine setting and an interesting historical town, Hyères is a little off the VIAC heartland. However, VIAC is a Var organisation and there are a number of VIAC members who live more to the Western side of the Var, and it is important that not only do we support them by being prepared to travel, but to also ensure that VIAC explores the full extent of its geographical location. It was heartening to find that so many members agreed by travelling a longer distance than average. The design of La Baleine reflected its name by featuring a wooden structure in the style of the ribs of a whale, and we were seated in clusters of tables on a raised platform overlooking the marina. In addition to the three –course meal, we also enjoyed two amuses-bouche and pastries for those having coffee. Following lunch a number of us braved the challenging route to the Villa Noailles to enjoy its Modernist architecture and views over Hyères and the bay to the islands of Porquerolles and Port Cros. The extensive gardens just below the Villa were already revelling in the beginning of spring with wisteria in blossom, and the scent of other flowers wafting around and attracting the bees.

Thursday 20th February 2014

The Alps Maritime International Aperitif Club and the Var International Aperitif Club have similar values and similar members to one another. Thus when AMIAC approached us with the suggestion that we hold a joint lunch we were more than pleased to agree. Those who have participated in AMIAC lunches have had a warm and friendly reception in the past and a joint lunch is a great opportunity to extend the relationship by renewing and making new friends across both organisations. We met up on Alpes Maritimes/Var border L’Auberge Chantegrill, Le Tignet for an excellent lunch.

Thursday 16th January  2014

 

The rain lashed the windows but we were dry and snug inside the stonewalls of the old Mas St Donat, warmed by a well-banked fire. Under the watchful eye and guidance of our Chairperson, Rod Joyce, the four speakers, Sue Kington-Smith, Elaine Bowdler, Gaynor Mintz and Graham Button argued the pros and cons for the UK leaving the EU. It was explained how the economic and social fortunes of the UK had been compromised through EU membership and how these fortunes could prosper better outside of the EU and within the EEA. On the other hand it was argued that both sides of the argument tried to bolster their points by evidence that could be variously interpreted and therefore the occasioning reasons for putting this question needed to be understood, and when done so the underlying problems referred to by proponents for leaving the EU were problems that would still remain if the UK left the EU. Interesting points from the floor concluded the debate, and not unsurprisingly, given the audience, the motion was defeated.  

Sunday 3rd November 2013

Our AGM included reports covering 2013 and the election of our new Committee for 2014 was elected (in fact the old Committee was re-elected!). La Table à Vigne, Les Arcs, provided an excellent lunch following an harmonious and most productive meeting. Contrary to past practice the minutes of the meeting will be circulated as soon as they have been produced so that members who were unable to attend can be kept up to date.

Friday 25th October 2013

We visited Les Trois Collines wine co-operative which serves the Draguignan area. Our English speaking guide provided us with a comprehensive tour of the facilities and an excellent over-view of the many processes and complexities involved in wine production. This is not Château or Domaine quality wine, but is the beating heart of French wine production, and the source of France’s reputation as a wine drinking nation. Following the tour we had the opportunity to sample the wine and to make purchases. We then enjoyed a typically Provençal lunch at Lou Bétou. 

Thursday 19th September 2013

We assembled South of Callian, passed through this delightful town and were soon driving through thick woodland, dropping steeply down the narrow and winding road to the Gorges de la Siagne before, climbing up to St Cézaire. From here we drove along the scenic D5 joining the Route Napoleon at St Vallier. The countryside turned more mountainous and austere as we travelled along this epic route turning North East and passing through Caille, detouring through Thorenc, and reaching our destination of l’Audibergue having driven through Andon. Here we enjoyed a quite remarkable lunch of country paté, brawn and hams, followed by plates groaning under the weight of roast lamb, daube, and an imaginative array of vegetable, in an excellent rustic restaurant nestled beneath the ski slopes. Hearty wine was on continual tap, which together with vast cheese boards, which actually remained on the tables, and an array of desserts, the driest of throats were slacken and the heartiest of appetites satisfied. Throughout the rally participants taxed their brains answering interesting questions, set by Arvid, on French language and culture, the winners of which, together with those who came in second and third were rewarded with generous prizes. All in all an outstanding day. Many thanks Arvid and Christina. 

Friday 12th July 2013

Our July event was held at the home of Bob and Isobel Pritchatt. Following a spate of thunderstorms, Friday turned out to be a beautiful balmy evening full of Provençal promise.  This musical soirée, with a bring and share supper, was a departure from the usual morning and lunch event, and was a great success. The music was provided by Marc, a VIAC member, and his friend Phil who play regularly together as “Midnight Express”. During the evening the 20 members and eight guests relaxed as they played their own brand of music to which members and guests danced. Others listened and enjoyed a glass or two of wine with a varied and interesting supper and everyone enjoyed the good food, good friendship and excellent music. Bob and Isobel express a big “thank you” to those who rolled their sleeves up at the end and helped to clear up, and a big “thank you” from VIAC to Bob and Isobel for organising the event.

Thursday 13th June 2013

However much we might think we know this region, something turns up to surprise us. Some of us have passed through Villecroze many times, and have also stopped and wandered its old streets, but the Grottes de Villecroze, which we visited this month, were a gem that many had missed.  Following a short stroll through a very well maintained small park, and passing through a rose arbour redolent with early summer scents, a glittering waterfall came into view and marked our destination: an interconnected series of fortified caves. Our guide explained that the caves were the result of a slow calcification of plants, which produces a stone called tuf. Originally owned by Benedictine monks who used them to hide from Xth Century Moorish raiders, they were ceded to Nicolas d’Albertas in 1556 who fortified them during the religious wars, and in 1663 were handed to the village of Villecroze. Although not permanently occupied they were a place of refuge in troubled times. We continued to make the most of the wonderful June weather by meandering to the Le Colombier Hotel-Restaurant where we enjoyed a very good lunch with a notable and unusual aperitif. Thanks to Rod and Elaine Joyce for organising an excellent day.

Tuesday 7th May 2013

Polo might be considered to be the exclusive domain of the very wealthy; the St Tropez Polo Club’s warm welcome to VIAC this month, however, underscored the fact that it is their enthusiasm for the game and making it more accessible to everyone that dominates their thinking Polo was originally developed to train what was then the Persian cavalry, somewhere between 5th Century BC to 1st century AD. It is now a sport that is enjoyed internationally, particularly in India, the UK, Argentina and the US, though as the St. Tropez club is testament to, it has pockets of interest in many other countries. We were given a very informative tour of the club’s facilities, an excellent understanding of how the game is played and how tournaments and matches are organised, and were able to meet professional players and the horses. We also enjoyed a superior lunch at the Club’s restaurant, and drank our aperitifs on the veranda of the atmospheric clubhouse overlooking the main Polo playing field. The Club organises an extensive program of matches which may be attended free of charge, and its restaurant is open to the public:. Many thanks to Isobel Pritchatt for organising the day.

Friday 12th April 2013

A perfect spring day, views across vine fields, the Mediterranean boasting a true azure colour and the snow-capped Alpes Maritimes in the distance, what more could anyone want? Good food and good company of course, and April’s lunch at La Verdoyante, did not disappoint on those fronts as well as providing us with a splendid location. April’s lunch was an experiment. Some members have complained about the high cost of lunches, others that the quality is not sufficiently high enough, and that they would be prepared to pay more. Consequently, VIAC is exploring both ends of this continuum this year, and this month we targeted the higher end. The emphasis was upon the restaurant, rather than an activity, and La Verdoyante was selected for its quality and location. It lived up to its usual high standards; the quality of the food shone through, and the cooking skills of the chef were clearly evident throughout the courses. The fact that the weather permitted us to eat on the terrace with its fine views was an added bonus. Many thanks to Peter and Gill Clarke for organising this lunch.

 

Thursday 14th March 2013

Those of us who have visited Fayence before might have felt that we knew the town quite well. However, this month’s guided tour gave us new insights into the history and development of this hill top location. It’s amazing how much we miss when walking around a town as old as Fayence, just armed with a guide book or following our noses. Having a guide makes it possible to view sights seen before in a new light, and to find treasures that would otherwise remain hidden. A narrow street hemmed in with tall sided buildings turned out to be the original main thoroughfare. Only the most perceptive would have noticed that the ground floor windowsills of the houses were much wider than normal. It turned out that these also acted as counters for the shops run from out of the houses fronting the street. The houses were built high so that inhabitants could view the surrounding countryside from the top floors, and although tightly packed together Fayence boasts that every house has a garden. Closeness also makes for communal living, and the three old bakeries not only supplied the locals with bread but also cooked the food that inhabitants had prepared at home. Walking the seemingly vertical streets of Fayence generated an appetite that was generously satiated at Le Provençal. Peter and Gill Clarke organised this excursion.

Tuesday 12th February 2013

Although not in the Var, the visit to Aix-en-Provence afforded the opportunity to not only visit an outstanding town, and to encounter the aspects of the history of the artist Cézanne, who was born and worked there, but also to support members who live on the western side of the Var. Following the studio visit, we enjoyed lunch in an authentic art deco Leopold Brasserie in the centre of Aix, and some members then embarked upon the self-guided Cézanne tour of Aix. Thanks to Jim and Beryl Whittaker for suggesting the Leopold Brasserie and Elaine Bowdler for making the arrangements.

Thursday 24th January 2013

The visit to the Aups truffle market and lunch at Le Provençal restaurant was an opportunity for members to experience France’s third largest black truffle market, and enjoy the rustic beauty, bracing air and fare of a more northerly part of the Var. The truffle market is held every Thursday and as well as featuring black truffles, there are local products and handicrafts on sale. Truffle buying and selling is a serious business, so be early, they start at first light. Do not expect the hurly burly of a normal market. Sober farmers in flat caps or hunting clothes will be on duty with their dogs. Thanks to Bob for organising this event.

Friday 7th December 2012

Sixty people signed up for the Dinner Dance at the St Aygulf Hotel, many more than in recent years. On the actual night, however, some members were unable to attend due to snow in parts of the Var, though their numbers were partially made up for by unexpected arrivals. A good turnout was important because the Committee have been considering the viability of the Dinner Dance in the face of declining attendance. The support was all the more welcome because this year the subsidy was withdrawn, and members and guests had to bear the full cost. The obvious good humour in the room, the increasing volume of conversation and laughter, and the conveyor belt supply of wine, were all testimonies to the fact that everyone, including those who find the dance floor a challenge, were thoroughly enjoying themselves. The live music of the band created a musically authentic atmosphere that DJs and recorded music cannot emulate, and the dimmed light after the meal provided an intimate environment in which the rhythmic gyrations and undulations of older bodies spoke of a practised youth. It was very good to see an excellent attendance from the British Association of the Var whose support and camaraderie is very much valued. Once again our thanks go to Janet for organising a most successful occasion.

Sunday 4th November 2012

Thirty-one people attended the Annual General Meeting in person and two via Skype. Janet, giving her last report, having served for four years as President, summarised what has been a very full and energetic VIAC year. The report from the Walking Group described the activities of a growing sub-group of VIAC, which is certainly putting in the kilometres, though it was noted the report from the Gourmet sub-group was disappointingly thin. Both the Secretary and the Membership Secretary reported on their activities during the year; the Membership Secretary’s report revealed a continued fall in the VIAC membership numbers. This is a worrying issue, which is examined in a new section of the Newsletter: Members Matter. The Treasurer reported that following a previous decision to limit the amount of cash held by VIAC, the target figure had been reached which would now be maintained. The meeting agreed to keep the subscription rate unchanged for 2012-2013 with a supplement for surface mail. The meeting also agreed to the Committee’s proposal to withdraw Committee members’ and the President’s meal subsidy. Following a presentation to Janet to mark her hard work and dedication to VIAC over the past four years, the new Committee was elected, and the meeting closed. Lunch was then served.

Tuesday 16th October 2012

For some of you, this may have sounded too depressing a visit to make. Indeed it could so easily have been, save for the excellent guides who made individual stories come alive, to touch the present and into the future. Our English guide to the Rhone American Cemetery at Draguignan, Alison, had copies of personal photos and papers belonging to families of soldiers buried there. It was so poignant to read an extract from the diary of a young lady when 17yrs old. She finally found where her sweetheart had been buried only four years ago. She now comes from America to visit the grave every year, leaving fresh flowers. The American guide, Bruce Maloney, was a font of knowledge on the military operations during the Rhone Landing Operations, and had so many little anecdotes to add that we would never be able to read about. We implored him to get it all down into book form. We learnt that the Free French Army were charged with taking Marseille and Toulon, the two great harbours in German hands, to facilitate the landing of Allied ships and troops. The French were asked to do this difficult task within a month the French cleared the towns in 10 days. I have visited the Cemetery often before, but there is so much more to understand and remember. Down to the Brasserie Dracenoise, for an excellent meal. We welcomed five guests, who had a very enjoyable time judging by the smiles and laughter. Perhaps VIAC will have some more Swedish members next year? We thank Rod Joyce for organising this interesting event.

Thursday 20th September 2012

The third VIAC car rally was eagerly awaited by many inhabitants of Bargemon, who came in great numbers. It is not until you have taken part in one of Arvid’s rallys that you realise what a great experience it is! We left Bargemon and travelled north on little-known country roads, passing the Camp de Canjuers, through small villages of La Bastide, La Roque- Escapon, took the Route Napoleon to La Matre, Chateauvieux, Brenon, Jabron, past Trigance into the Alpes de Haute-Provence, along the raging River Verdon and into Castellane. Then down a very narrow D102 to Robion and finally to Le Bourguet, where we found the delightful and quaint ‘Auberge du Bourguet’. Jacques and his staff provided a memorable meal with good Bordeaux wine, which completed another memorable Car Rally. Our thanks go to Arvid and Christina for all the preparation, their hard work, and exciting ideas. 

Tuesday 17th July 2012

A large group of 32 met to take a guided tour of Roquebrune sur Argens on July 17. This number included  5 guests, who were made welcome. Our guide was very pleasant and knowledgeable, and we learnt that the ancient village was built on the rocky peak around 975, when the Saracens were thrown out. Then nearly all was destroyed in 1592 during the Wars of Religion, and only one old tower, some walls and ruins remain today. Entrances to the old town are through archways, one of them at the base of a 16C watchtower. Our tour in the sun was completed by a visit to the Maison du Terroir, where we tasted local produce and eagerly sampled the rose wine. Then we left the old village and walked down to the restaurant for a pleasant meal amongst good company. Our thanks to Graham, who organised a very interesting event.

Tuesday 19th June 2012

Everyone agreed that our Beach Party this year was different! No roasting in the sand, or beach activities on a crowded beach. Instead, we met in the evening at the Mahi-Plage and had the long, wide beach to ourselves. The weather was hot and the sea was inviting, but we were all dressed for the evening with some very appealing outfits! Our beach transats and comfy mattresses weren’t used, as we all stood and chatted on the beach for an hour, while the Punch and finger buffet kept on coming. Then, on to the terrace for our meal, with a pleasant breeze cooling us. We had four guests join us, two of whom requested a membership form. We were also joined by long-time members who found interesting new members had joined VIAC.

Saturday 19th May 2012

Thirty of us enjoyed a sunny day for our first Gourmet Walk at Chateau La Gordonne on Saturday 19th May; strolling through the vineyards and surrounding countryside covering six kilometres in around three hours. Setting off at midday after a brief welcome by the proprietor, we reached the ‘apertif/amuse-bouche ’ stop in a few minutes. Some of the party looked at their booklet and read how to examine the wine (le visual; le nez, l’olifaction; ;le gustatif et la retro-olfaction) whilst most seized their wine glasses, which had been provided in a handy pouch, and tasted several of the 5 rose and 2 white wines offered. Some even made notes for later purchases, I’m told. Onwards to the ‘entrée’ area as the later departures started to press from behind. Stuffed ‘fleurs de courgettes’ accompanied by 6 more rose and another white wine for sampling. Another kilometre or more to the ‘plat chaud’ guinea fowl – and 6 more red wines to be tasted. Fortunately now tables and chairs were provided under the trees. Difficult to leave the sampling of the red wines but ‘fromage’ called – from a distance and up a small hill. It was worth the effort (I’m told by those who eat cheeses) but I can confirm that several of the 5 accompanying wines were welcome. Water was available too! The final stroll back to the starting point for ‘dessert et café’ with the opportunity to sit down and a selection of stalls selling the wines offered earlier, together with other local produce from the Pierrefeu terroir. My conclusion: an excellent event, well organized by ‘Terres du Var’. Enjoyed by both walkers and non-walkers amongst us – but I’m not sure it would have been so enjoyable on the Sunday (il a plu des cordes)!  Peter Clarke

Thursday 19th April 2012

The day turned out to have a dull start in Callas with rain threatening, but all our boule players arrived to make six teams of four. The matches were friendly and fun, with some surprises for novice players! Eventually there were playoffs between the winning teams and the losing teams. Three teams won prizes- first two awarded to our Scandinavian friends, the bronze prize to our French members, Marc and Jeanie. Truly international! The meal was as good as always at La Fontaine, Callas, and the wine kept coming. Only a couple of splashes of rain fell to dampen things in the morning, while the sun shone all afternoon. Another excellent event; our thanks go to the organiser, Arvid

 

Thursday 22nd March 2012

La Chartreuse de la Verne is a monastery founded in 1170, situated in the Maures’ chestnuts forest with a wonderful view. It has been sacked by robber barons and pirates but always rebuilt. In 1921 it was listed as a “monument historique” and has been renovated continually. It is a functioning monastery so the public has restricted access. Despite the torturous route to get to the venue seventeen people took the guided tour with detailed information on the history of the monastery and experienced the atmosphere of the largely rebuilt, but no less interesting, environment inhabited by the monks during the Middle Ages. Afterwards, we were made very welcome by the charming staff of La Petite Fontaine and shown inside the quaint building with low wooden ceilings.  The food was plentiful and delicious, served on platters, and the wine kept flowing. At the end of the meal we were offered a very potent eau de vie. Thanks go to Christina for organising the event.

Thursday 16th February 2012

The very cold weather that we have been experiencing lately ended abruptly, just in time for our 16 February event. The log fire was alight and burning at Auberge des 2 Pins in La Motte by special request, but was not such a necessity after all! Our group of sixteen was welcomed by Tanja with an apertif, while we caught up with other people’s social life. We then enjoyed a very good meal , while the wine flowed to the background music of Etienne’s saxophone. Thank you President Janet for arranging this lunch and entertainment.

Tuesday 17th January 2012

Our lunch at Restaurant Mas St Donat, which has just won the badge of Quality Tourism, attracted twenty-eight—including two members, Diane and Mike Pennington who had recently joined. Three guests came for the meal and two signed up for membership on the day. Welcome Caren Trafford and Mike Lotzof. As always the restaurant provided an excellent meal with the wine flowing and a lovely ambiance. A great start to the year—thanks to Isobel who organized the event.

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