Oui Mademoiselles et Monsieurs, I am still wandering around France, searching for my lost jigger of salt, ala Jimmy Buffet who was wasting away in Margaritaville.  Actually, I am not wasting away, but eating like a swine.  There are 3 distinct levels of French cuisine lovers….. gourmets, gourmands, and me….. gluttons!  This glutton loves mutton, but since they no longer serve this particular animal, I have been forced to make due with lamb and veal.  (Both vicious brutes who ravage the countryside!)

Yesterday we were in Viviers, which is quite Medieval in its appearance, and is best known for containing the St. Vincent Cathedral….. the smallest cathedral in France.  Despite its size, it is quite lovely.  We were treated to an organ recital, and before you ask, it did NOT involve an organ grinder or a monkey.  The organist had a powerful set of pipes, and he was kind enough to play some oldies from an album called “The Greatest Hits of the Monk-ees.”  (Hey, there aren’t many good organ jokes….. that are clean.)

After the organ recital, we hoped aboard our “Petite Pooch,” which is French for “Little Greyhound,” and drove to a working truffle farm.  In these parts, the truffle is known as the “black diamond,” and at $200 per pound, you can see why.  I really enjoyed this part of the trip.  The farm owner had a sweet doggie named Millie, who was trained to sniff out the truffles (which grow as a fungus on the roots of the trees) and then on command, dig down for the truffle and gently pick it up with her mouth and drop it at the farmer’s feet.  Each time she found a truffle she got a treat, so I decided to try it, and to tell you the truth it’s a lot harder than it looked.  Messy, too.

Later that same afternoon, we continued southward, driving to a truly amazing region where  Chateauneuf du Pape (The Wine of the new Pope) is produced.  Every inch of this region is covered with grape vines, and some of these vineyards produce the best and most expensive wines in France.  Naturally, we got to sample some of the good stuff, and since I am now a member of the “Legion du Gluttony,” I purchased a bottle of red wine, which the Countess and I (and some carefully chosen friends) will consume this evening!

Does it strike you that I’ve been doing a lot of whining (wine-ing) this trip?  God, it’s a good thing that I finished THE PRESLEY PLOT before I got here!  At this point, I’m not sure If I can hold a pen steady!

This evening, as we dine on more vicious lamb, we set sail for Avignon…. once a Papal residence (7 different Popes lived there) .  I’m not positive, but I think Avignon was also the home of Pope-Eye the Sailor.  In any case, it is supposed to be a beautiful village, and the home of some of the world’s great bingo players.  I shall, as they say in Provence, keep you informed of my whereabouts!

Au revoir!

The Monsignor of Mirth……  Monsieur Stephen Yanoff.



  1. you’d better go straight to Betty Ford when you get back to the US of A 🙂 Sounds lovely – all of it! Except the puns, of course.


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