When Amanda and I first started dreaming Le Foodist up (20 years ago) our dream was to take people to the various regions of France, and help them discover the local regional cultures through local food and wines. The idea was simple. Go and cook into the various regions of France, one week at a time. Take the opportunity to discover the region from a gastronomic point of view: meet local producers, visit local markets, taste local wines, eat at great local restaurants, and even learn to cook with local Chefs. One of the reaons we so wanted to do this is because one of the most important features of French cooking and culture in general is its regional diversity of landscape, produce and traditions. The other is quite simply because we love traveling France. Of course we started following our dream by opening Le Foodist in Paris a few years ago now. But we are very excited to now also take a few people to France - this country not far from Paris ... - one week at a time to continue our journey to integrate food and culture through unique experiences. even though there are many regions to explore, starting with Provence felt alomost obvious. And we are all the more excited as we have found a great location to do so. Just below the beautiful Dentelles de Montmirail, we will be welcoming you for a memorable week at La Table Longue, in the quintessential Provence village of Sablet.
Of course at the heart of the experience, you will learn how to cook food from France and Provence every day. From Fish Soup to Tapenade, from a slow Lamb Roast to Stuffed Courgettes Flowers, there will be many recipes, techniques, tips and tricks - and flavours to be discovered. We will spend 2 to 3 hours cooking every day, and you will have plenty of time to discuss with the Chefs you will meet through this week. A lot of passion and experience will be shared and we want to think you will be a happier cook after that week with us.
Here are example of things we might cook together. Like always our focus will be on flavour, the reason behind the techniques, and how you can reapply them back home.
Every day we will share three meals. And the one we do not cook we will share in a local restaurant. There are quite a few good tables around the area, so we will get to enjoy some, including a very unique experience in a one Michelin star restaurant in the nice village of Grignan. It is actually very nice to see what an extremely talented Chef can do with the local produce at his disposal, and we are sure you will enjoy this, along with the other restaurants we will visit.
Sablet is a typical provençal village, whose heart beats on the top of a hill overlooking vineyards pretty much everywhere. All the region is dedicated to wine growing, and the life of the village - and region - is punctuated with wine festivals among others. It is also where we will get some croissants or bread in the morning for breakfast. This makes for a very enjoyable nice short walk in the vines in the morning - how do you beat that?
With all bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a wonderful swimming pool up to 3 meters deep, two kitchens, two lounging areas, a breakfast room, a bar and various patios, it will not be long before the Villa will feel like home. And each meal will be an opportunity to be French in a very important way: spend time enjoying food we prepared together, talk about food and wine and then discuss ... more about food and wine - and the local culture of course. Those moments are big part of the enjoyment of life in France, and we believe a big part of the enjoyment of this overall experience in Provence.
The region has a few local and ancient heroes - romans built a city which boasts still the largest Provence market every Tuesday in Vaison la Romaine, about 15 minutes drive from where we will be staying. And the Pope of course. Well the Pape, as we call him here - and actually 7 of them. 5 who just decided to spend a fair amount of time in France when Rome was not so hospitable, and 2 that decided to hand around Avignon when papacy was re-instated back in Rome. The most important part of all this: the city of Avignon with the Palace of the Pope, and the wine from the Castle of the Popes in the epoynmous village of course. Places we will visit - and which will be an opportunity to a unique wine tasting, and a unique cooking class as well.
Two types of food markets define Provence - true local producers markets and the very large Provençal markets. The latter are built on a tradition hundreds of years old, and are more reminiscent of the old fairs. They are very large, include all kinds of produce - and food of course. One of the largest is in the village of Vaison la Romaine, and we will pay our visits on the Tuesday it is on. We will also visit a true local market in the village of Velleron. Beautifully tasty produce, and quite a scene to view and experience. We love sharing that experience.
If Provence conjures up the idea of olives, it is quite normal. As some of the best French olives are grown a few miles away from Sablet, around the city of Nyons. From which is derived great olive oil, and one of the great local specialties called tapenade. So we will go and visit a rare local organic olive grove and learn some of its secrets from its owner. A very intimate and unique experience.
In Chateauneuf du Pape, you can find up to 13 different types of grape varieties. And there are many different "appelations" in the vast area of Provence and the Rhône Valley, from Gigondas to Tavel, from Sablet to Côte Rotie. So through different wine tastings, we will explore, discover, try to understand a bit more about the types of wines we can discover in Provence.
We believe nobody better than a wine maker can make you feel all that it takes to make a great wine - and what makes one wine different from another. So while we will have explored the world of appelations in other tastings to see the broad lines of what defines regional wines, tasting wine on a local property with a wine maker is a great way to deepen our appreciation of these great wines.
We really want every meal we share with you to be special - there will be a variety of different meals, a variety of settings, but all of them will stem from the same passion for food and wine. So we hope you can join us and enjoy.
Discovering culture through Food is what we want to do when we travel. So we have developed all our experiences with that simple idea in mind: ensure that you learn both about the topic at hand, but also about French culture in the process. So in our food tours, we will talk about the history of various aspects of French food, in our cooking class about how certain dishes became so important in our culture. During our wine tastings, we will explore the regional differences in French culture. And, a regional residential holiday is an opportunity to deep dive French food culture to its core and foundation: the regional gastronomies, and the concept of terroir. Follow the links to explore further.