Provence is where the Rhône River meets the French Riviera. This means that wines in the area qualify as 'Rhône Valley' wines, but with a big Southern component to them - the Sun. We call them Côtes du Rhônes méridionaux - from bing toward the meridian. As opposed to the ones further north called Côtes du Rhône Septentrionaux - from the Latin Septem Triones, the way the Romans called the Major Ursula constellation (the seven horses of labor), which rotates around the North. From that region in the North come wines such as Côte Rotie or Ermitage. With a lot of Syrah (Shiraz) and its associated peppery notes.
In the southern part of the Côtes du Rhône, you will find wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape - the Newcaslte of the Pope. As it is during the time there were two popes heading Christianity, and one of them in France, that this area started getting its fame. And it also got the beautiful Palace of the Popes in Avignon, which we will get to visit as well. Chateuneuf du Pape can contain up to 13 different grapes, and can be found as white or red wine. All of this, and more, you will learn directly through tasting.
Other names include Vacqueyras, Gigondas, and even more localized name like Sablet, the very village where we will be staying. Vines were probably planted by the Romans there two thousand years ago. So we are talking about a very long tradition. So there will be plenty to discover in terms of wines. And that will be a wonderful opportunity to actually discover the concept of Terroir - the idea that you can not make the same wine if you are making it using grapes from a different location; even if they are the same grape.
Equally famous, and particulary enjoyable during Spring and Summer, this is also a great area for Rosé Wine. The King of Rosé wines is called Tavel from the name of the village around which it is made. Always a blend, and using up to 9 different grapes, Tavel has the reputation of being one of the few Rosé wine which you can age.
When it comes to produce, the French are obsessed with an idea - it seems a simple idea at first. It is the idea that what you do depends on where you are. This is where LOCAL takes all of its meaning. Because what you do HERE can only be done HERE. It does not mean that you should not buy things from THERE. It just means that it will not taste the same. And sometimes the difference between HERE and THERE is only one hundred meters ...
Here are some examples of recipes where we can make full use of these fragrant herbs:
Bay Leaf Skewer of Mackerel and Langoustine (Brochette de Maquereau et Langousine au Laurier)
Breast of Duck in Lavender Honey (Canette laquée au miel de Lavande)
In the summer in France, everybody drinks an aniseed based drink called Pastis. Wonderfully refreshing, but also somewhat treacherous, it is also very good for cooking – it is actually one of the key ingredients in Oysters Rockfeller.
In the Southern part of Provence is the only region in France where we grow rice: Camargue.
And not far from our Village the region where we make some of the best French Olive Oil, Nyons. Always virgin cold pressed oil - by law actually.
Here are some examples of recipes where we can make full use of these very local produce:
Pilaf de Riz de Carmargue (Local Provençal Rice based Pilaf dish)
Small Chickens cooked in Pastis (Poulettes au Pastis)
Vinaigrette with local Nyons Olive Oil
(Doube Occupancy Basis)
Transfer from and to Avignon
6 Nights Accommodation Double or Double Twin
6 Breakfast, 7 Lunches and 6 Dinners
7 Cooking Sessions of 2 to 4 hours each
All meals with 1/3 bottle of Wine included