Peter Mayle inspired thousands of Brits to leave England in search of a warmer, gentler life with his multi-million copy-selling book, A Year in Provence.
So if the recent flavour of France, thanks to the Tour de France Grand Depart’s memorable journey through Yorkshire, has inspired you then you will find a taste of that warmer, gentler life at a new pop-up restaurant in Helmsley – 100 Days in Provence.
Located poolside in a private courtyard, this fantastic covered eatery, part of the award-winning Feversham Arms Hotel and Verbana Spa complex, certainly serves up a real taste of the south of France.
With the chef cooking prawns and lobster feet away, the gentle noise of the swimmers in the pool and the blazing hot sun, it is easy to imagine you are in a restaurant in Biarritz.
I admit to not venturing as far south for my starter, but couldn’t resist freshly griddled asparagus with lashings of butter.
The menu can be served both from the main kitchen and poolside grill and the pollock Provencal that appeared from the main kitchen was perfectly timed for the poolside-grilled lobster salad, and it was melt in the mouth stuff.
Hotel general manager Charles Merchie has worked hard to create this unique experience and his vision and dream have been realised.
“It took a few months of planning. You have an image in your mind and it becomes more alive and real, and you feel you have created something special. It is how I imagined it," he said.
“It also makes better use of an area of on the top terrace. It’s like Peter Mayle’s book, but without the builders.
“We are hoping to attract the people who are more local, who may not come to us ordinarily. The prices are low, the food has a real Mediterranean feel and it is simple, genuine cooking.”
The food served is certainly something your mother, if she were French, would cook in the summer, or what you’d enjoy for a very long lunch with friends and family, and the service was impeccable.
So, while the sun continues to shine and the taste of France lingers, head to Helmsley and this small corner of Provence.
100 Days in Provence is open until September 7.
Dine from about £25 per person.
Book on 01439 770766 or fevershamarmshotel.com