La Table de Nans : The new kid on the block by Caren Trafford

la table de nans 1It was more than one hundred years ago, back in 1900 that the tyre manufacturers, André Michelin and his brother, published the first edition of a guide for French motorists. At the time there were fewer than 3,000 cars in France, and the Michelin guide was intended to encourage the demand for cars, and in turn, for car tyres. For the first edition, the brothers printed nearly 35,000 copies. This guide was given away free to the car drivers and chauffeurs and contained useful information for motorists, including maps, instructions for repairing and changing tyres, as well as lists of car mechanics, hotels and petrol stations. The Michelin guide today is better known for its list of restaurants and its star rating system, as establishments are classified according to the number of stars they deserve. To gain a starred distinction, each restaurant is initially nominated, and then reviewed a number of times by inspectors who remain incognito.

Read more...

Life in the vineyard (3/3) : The deceptive quiet of the winter months by Janice MacDonald

Life in the vineyard 3 1Sometimes the many years that I lived in the United States come back to me as alarms of sorts, usually delivered during my walks along the narrow and very quiet roads through the vineyards.
The smoke off in the distance, for example. Surely a wildfire, the kind that consumed houses and vast tracts of land in California. And those solitary vans parked on the side of the vineyard, what are they doing? Who are they waiting for? One winter evening, with the light rapidly fading and still some distance to go, I saw one of these vans parked up ahead and actually detoured, convinced the occupant was just biding his time until a lone female walker happened by.

Read more...

Jérôme Nutile: home at last by Carole Rommene

Jerome Nutile 1There is nothing better than the sweet feeling of being truly at home. For Jérôme Nutile, one of our region’s most acclaimed chefs and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, that feeling will be no doubt treasured. After years of success at the Castellas in Collias, where his talent was rewarded by two Michelin stars, he has now opened his own restaurant at Mas de Baudan in Nîmes. Laurence and I went to meet him to discover what the buzz was all about.

Read more...

What’s the best way to sell my French property?

I’m asked this question on a daily basis and often the answer is fairly simple. The most delicate question first: have you got the price right? It’s no secret that French real estate is currently a buyer’s market – it’s a straight supply and demand equation: more properties for sale than clients looking to buy.

the best way to sell my French property

Read more...

Life in the vineyard by Janice MacDonald

Life in the vineyard 2-1In the second instalment of her Life in the vineyard series, Janice MacDonald returns to the Domaine de Cébène.

Vinification: a blend of art & science, hope & faith

It is mid-October and there’s a chill in the air. From the Faugères hillside, I watch the sun set over the ancient village of Caussiniojouls. The sky is tinged with pink, off in the distance the faint whirr of a tractor engine, a drift of smoke. Looking out over the Domaine de Cébène vines, with their rust coloured leaves and their fruit fermenting in the cellar behind me, it is hard to imagine that just a few weeks earlier the vendanges were in full swing.

 

 

Read more...

Pain d’épices (Honey-spice bread)

Pain d epicesSome people travel to sightsee or visit museums, cathedrals, or gardens. I travel to eat. It’s the first thing that attracts me to a place. What’s the regional cuisine like? Where is the nearest market? These are the questions I get caught up with. You won’t often find me standing in line for a table at a fashionable eatery. I’ll be seeking out where the locals eat. This is particularly true of my travels around France. I’ve been terribly remiss in not seeking out the galleries and scenic hot spots, which I’ve made up for by eating as much as I can whenever I visit a new place.

Read more...