Culinary travelogue Provence and Camargue
François is actually called Florent. But we forgot that at some point, so the running gag pulls through our program. Not only is he our guide and organizer, he is also the owner of the fantastic Aix-en-Provence hotel, where we can stay during our Provence trip. We are, by the way, Simone von S-Küche, Sandy of Confiture de Vivre and Tine von Trickytine and we are invited to experience and taste Provence at the invitation of the French Ministry of Agriculture.
In the course of our Travel we learn that Florent has also worked as a spice dealer in Hong Kong and incidentally also owns an olive grove in Mallorca. In short, it never gets boring with him. Despite the delay of our plane and congestion on the highway, he finally manages to collect us successfully at the airport. Let's go, our 3-day pleasure trip through Provence and Camargue - Bonjour de France!
Bistro Au Gout du Jour and Restaurant La Bonne Stage in Château- Arnoux at Sisteron
Jany Gleize stands in his garden and proudly shows us the Szechuan pepper. Strengthened white chef jacket, apron and a rousing laugh. He rips off a leaf here and points to a wildly proliferating herb. From Mexican tarragon to wild thyme. In the beautiful garden of the 1-star-restaurant and hotel La Bonne Etappe everything grows and thrives, what the heart desires. And as if the mosquitoes had expected us, they rush at us and break our legs.
Previously we were allowed to enjoy Janys typical Provençal cuisine in his Bistro Au Goût du Jour try and enjoy. Here is a local specialty: lamb from Sisteron IGP. IGP stands for Indication géographique protégée , the protected designation of origin. Especially the terrine with fresh vegetables from the region was a real revelation and I wonder why I have not already prepared a terrine long ago. For a long time now, she has not had the glutinous aspic character of the 1980s.
There is also a glass of wine for lunch and we come first Be in touch with a local cheese specialty: the Banon . This is a goat cheese made from raw milk wrapped in chestnut leaves and subject to the strict rules of the AOC seal.In addition, the cheese must be prepared in the traditional way and is regularly checked by a control commission. And it just tastes delicious! A great prelude to our journey and we feel right at home and arrived.
Fromagerie Le Petit Jabron in Sisteron
300 goats are already waiting in the yard when we visit the Fromagerie Le Petit Jabron in Sisteron. Twice a day they are milked here, the rest of the time and 300 days a year they graze on the herbaceous, mountainous pastures. These are beautiful colorful animals that are curious about the guests. Your milk is processed here immediately in the attached dairy to delicious goat cheese. Small but nice, here are wonderful goat cheese produced, which we can taste and take directly.
Hotel Maison du Collectionneur, Salon de the Mana and Restaurant MITCH in Aix -en-ProvenceAfter moving into our fantastic little boutique hotel, Maison du Collectionneur, which will be truly our hotel for the next two nights, we'll move on go and stroll through the evening Aix-en-Provence. In the trendy restaurant MITCH a table is reserved for us. And as if we had not eaten enough that day, we also create a fabulous 3-course menu and plenty of wine.
Like a baby, I sleep in my room La Fornasetti afterwards and feel really well here too. On the one hand, I wish Florent a bunch of guests in this very special place, on the other hand, I want to keep this ingenious insider tip somehow for me ... In any case, to come back here again and refer to my favorite room. Hach, always these dilemmas. I recommend this hotel but warmly.Les Halles d'Avignon is exactly what you would expect from a French market hall. Fresh fish, colorful vegetables, fragrant pastries. One knows each other, one chats. Local chefs shop in person and enjoy an espresso or café au lait. Like Pascal, who runs the restaurant Maison de la Tour nearby. Together we buy local products, which we then process in his beautiful restaurant kitchen and enjoy for lunch. Rarely have I experienced such a relaxed place, rarely such a balanced cook.
With every hour we spend more in France and with each new acquaintance, you can feel it the passion for the region and the products. In addition, Avignon is remembered not only for its famous bridge, which we will visit for a short visit. But also because of the delightful pharmacy in a vaulted building in which we have bought almost all anti-mosquito products that are in stock. With pity, Apotheker looks at our bruised arms and legs and gives us her most effective remedies. In the Camargue mosquitoes are said to be even worse, she tells us.
Moulin Castelas olive oil in Les Baux de Provence
On the way to Les Baux de Provence, we spray directly. The car smells spicy. When we get off again, we stand in the midst of olive trees at Moulin Castelas. There are around 30,000 trees here, some of them 500 years old. And those where black olives grow. Salonenque, Aglandau, Grossane and Verdale olive varieties are typical of the Alpilles.
Jean-Benoît worked abroad as an engineer for a long time before returning to his homeland and since 1997 excellent olive oil produced on a total area of 110 hectares. The oils bear the AOP seal for Appelation d'Origine Protégée , the protected designation of origin that complies with European requirements and is an extension of the AOC seal. Some oils are certified organic, others carry the traditional French AOC seal. Everything is processed on the spot.
Jean-Benoît and his wife Catherine have invested in a new Italian oil mill. The freshly harvested olives are processed directly after washing, all within just 6 hours of harvest. Overall, the production of olive oil is a complicated process, where everything has to go according to plan, so that the oil meets the strict quality guidelines. We try our assortment and are enthusiastic about the variety of products.As soon as you look at the vineyards, the warmth of the late summer sun shines on the sand-colored buildings. A pleasant peace spreads in me. Is. that. nice! Nathalie is a 5th generation winemaker and shows us her wine cellars. According to their plans, the tanks were created circular. Due to the slope of the building, they can easily be filled from above. The system is simply as ingenious and well thought-out.
The wines of the château have also been grown organically and biodynamically for many years, with 300,000 liters produced annually here. Again, you can feel the passion for the product on every corner and in every bottle of wine.
In front of the Caveau , the vinotheque built a blackboard. We feel like in the movie: Overlooking the vineyards and the setting sun and a richly set table that invites us to sit down and enjoy. Among the wines of the Margan family, none other than the starred chef Eric Sapet has served up a menu that makes us lose our socks. Shirt-sleeved, he carries crate after crate and pot by pot from his van. Already with the starter, a vegetable dish with eggplant, peppers and cheese as well as artichokes filled with vegetables and served with ham, I think that I never really want to eat anything else in my life again. Add to that the focaccia prepared with tons of olive oil - let the moment never pass!
If Eric does not cook German bloggers at an opulent picnic and presents the best of the region, he cooks in his restaurant La Petite Maison de Cucuron in Cucuron. After stops in well-known 2- and 3-star restaurants, he now cooks simple dishes of the highest quality exclusively with fresh local ingredients.
After pate and wine, there follows a stave , a traditional Schmorg ripened with beef and red wine, lots of red wine. On the second day we already know that every course gets opulent and you can not go without cheese and dessert. And yet we are surprised every time, what is still served. Here, too, the fig cake still fits in the cheesecake way. We are very tired in the end and very happy. It feels like having dinner together with years of friends and maybe I had to suppress a tearfulness of perfect bliss.Only a surfboard on the roof is missing, I think. Fanny's skin is tanned bronze, with a shark's tooth on a chain around her neck and a functional jacket. Casually, she turns us around the large pools where the salt is. We are visiting Salin d'Aigues-Mortes. Here comes both the famous Le Baleine sea salt, which I always use in my kitchen, as well as Fleur de Sel.
In huge pink pools flamingos wade around, pyramids of saline piles pile up in them different shades, 50 Shades of White. Together we climb a salt mountain and get an overview of the terrain. On an information board the dimensions become clear. We stand here on the largest salt production plant in France, the area is about the size of Paris. Seawater is channeled into the large basins for 8 months before the water is drained at the end of August. Over time, salt crystals have formed, which are mechanically cut, washed and piled up to form salt mines.
The pink color comes from a species of algae. The only one that survives in highly concentrated salt water and contains a lot of beta carotene. Small crustaceans eat these algae, the flamingos in turn eat the crustaceans and thereby get their color. Young flamingos are initially white or gray and dye their plumage little by little. More than 100 locks connect the pools, where the flamingos stand like grazing ponies in a pasture. 200,000 tonnes of normal sea salt are produced here annually and processed into salt. The salt, which does not meet the high quality standard is incidentally used as road salt. The proportion of fine Fleur de sel is only 5-6 tons. Harvest is done manually between June and August.
Paddy fields in the Camargue and lunch with local produce
Marc greets us with a firm handshake. He wears a typical long-sleeved, colorful patterned Camargue shirt, jeans and ankle boots. Although this looks a bit out of place at almost 30 degrees, it is the best protection against mosquitoes. As soon as we drive out to his rice fields we are already attacked in the car by a mosquito swarm.We are visiting shortly before the rice harvest. White rice is cultivated here on 80 hectares. Between May and September, the fields are flooded and the rice plants are 10 cm high in the water. After harvest, the rice is processed, peeled and washed. Riz de Camargue wears an IGP seal like the Sisteron lamb. The Camargue region is also known for its black and red rice. This will also brew a beer that we can then taste.
Vincent got to know his wife while salsa dancing and both of them take the opportunity to show off a little dance. His other passion is the outstanding product from his native, the Camargue. In addition to a delicatessen, he and his sister run a restaurant called Le Chante Clair at Saintes Marie de la Mer.
The table is always richly decked out, as in any of our visits to Provence Rice and Beef from the Camargue are here today. Olivier is a cattle breeder and sits with us at the table. Primarily bred for the non-bloody bullfighting in the Camargue, he slaughters only around 60 cattle a year, making him the largest producer in the region. About 15,000 semi-wild bulls live on the vast meadows, classic stables they do not know here. Vincent prepares delicious oysters and fresh fish, rice and shrimp, as well as lots of fresh vegetables.
And as a special gear a" Tataki Torro " , Stained beef, which he only flutes with a Bunsen burner. The goat's cheese is not wrapped as usual in chestnut leaves, but in algae. And for dessert there are slow braised figs with wild fennel. We are sitting in the pool house of the property, toasting and enjoying life. And again it feels like a wonderful day with friends. We almost miss our flight because we can not separate. And one thing is certain: I will definitely come back! Provence and Camargue have mesmerized me and I want to see more of them. In three days, I felt as much as otherwise experienced in weeks. Picture and sound, including salsa insert can be found here in my story highlights on Instagram. Come on the journey!
Culinary Journey to Provence and Camargue
Many thanks to the French Ministry of Agriculture for inviting you on this memorable voyage under the motto Le goût du vrai . I was able to feel and taste this honest and down-to-earth taste of the region far away from the fine, top-class cuisine in every product. The quality labels ensure a consistently high quality standard and yet all the things you try characterize their simplicity paired with an outstanding taste. Excellent basic products, which are largely natural and are not processed great.Completely unpretentious, knowing the quality of the ingredients and dishes. And that's not only incredibly exciting, you can taste it in every bite and every sip you try. I just felt very welcome and comfortable here and am very thankful for the experience. Provence, with its diverse landscapes, outstanding agricultural products and friendly and open producers has conquered my heart. Simple things can be so amazing!
That's why the journey is not over yet! Every month until December, I present you simple and tasty recipes with products from southern France. It does not always have to be haute cuisine, just the down to earth ideas with fantastic ingredients mean maximum enjoyment! Right next week, I start directly with the first recipe, you may be curious! And who does not want to book a trip to Provence right now?