La P’tite Marmite – a la France

The new week had us back on the road again heading for Toulouse via Auch. We were starving and decided to stop at a tiny town called Mielan to find some lunch.

Being a Monday, it was, as in most regional areas, very ‘closed-looking’. We wandered around in what looked like the town square and found a small bar where the owner directed us around the corner to a café. This place turned out to be a truck stop – hence its being open on a Monday. We’d been told by Carole and Kevin in Ceret about truck stops having excellent food. The drivers take their meal breaks seriously and the word spreads quickly where there’s good food at a reasonable price. When we walked in we were the only females there and hoped we’d still be served, but needn’t have worried.

La P’tite Marmite Gasconne was owned and run by Joëlle (the wonderful chef) and Erick (her proud and charming husband.) They told us they’d had several Australians through recently, one group giving them small koalas and a t-shirt.

We’d been wanting to try a traditional French dish called cassoulet and finally, here it was. The formule or fixed menu of the day consisted of 4 courses and wine for €17.

Along with the rosé and bread basket a large pot of soup was brought to the table, complete with ladle. We joked about there being so much, but it was so delicious we felt tempted to keep going until we finished the cauldron. But we showed great restraint, knowing that we had 3 courses to go and stopped after 2 bowls each….or did I have 3?

Next out came quiche and salade. Superbe again. The quiche was so flavoursome, and the simple salad had a dressing to die for.

Then the cassoulet – a kind of casserole or stew with beans, some vegetables, and different kinds of meat. It was absolutely delicious. everything we expected – beautiful.

Finally there was a selection of desserts and we ended up trying a dish similar to a light trifle, which was just perfect.

Joëlle’s English was good and we were able to have quite a chat with her and her lovely husband. They moved here to establish themselves and their family, and judging from what we saw are making a success of the change.

We eventually waddled out the door and set off on the final leg to Toulouse definitely feeling like we didn’t need dinner – or perhaps to eat again – ever…

So, put that on your list, call in at Mielan and see Joëlle and Erick. Bon appetit!

Tina and Heather

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