Friday, March 4, 2011

Olive oil report

In Nyons, which is called le Petit Nice, due to its extraordinary mild micro climate in an otherwise rugged area, only one olive
exist and survive the other species introduced by the Romans at the beginning of our era: Tanche. Tanche olives are sweet,
extraordinary mild and usually harvested black in december. So different than the multitude of the varieties that exist in
Provence, that jam can be made with it, as well as tapenades with ginger and of course olive oil. The XVOO that we tasted
are exceptionally soft and buttery on the palette, the opposite contrast of the tuscan XVOO that we import. The area was
awarded the first appelation d'origine controllée for olive oil in France and needless to say the locals aren't modest about it.

Because its low impact, it plays in harmony with couscous, fish, brandade, bread, laitues, truffles and game.
The olive de Nyons is an exceptional fruit, simply cured in salt and rarely pasteurized. It is the most natural olive for consumption.
It can be piquée, cassée and cured with wild fennel or with herbes de provence.
More assertive, the Vallée des Baux, also an appelation controllée, seems to capture the essence of the Alpilles, in its subtle arrangement of wild thyme, sarriete and rosemary. It is thick yet not fatty and has a varitey of fruit. We secured two new
sources, one a family member that produced nearly 300 litres this year, out of 50 trees and another a family friend who
has not only a gorgeous mas and orchard, but two small and very stylish appartments that can be rented by the week in
a XVth century old farmhouse.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Having unearthed a recipe once given over email by a Moroccan living on the west coast, I proceeded to make with my friend Evan merguez with our local lamb purveyor, a nearby farmer and friend in South Egremont.

Having painfully grounded the many spices and fresh garlic and the casing donated by the chef at Red Lion Inn, Evan with a flute-shape attachment to his "cuisinart" painstakingly filled the long bowel.

Before long, with a gentle twist every few inches, we had a very charcuterie specialités resting on its coil.

Over lunch with a fellow french man, we delected ourselves strangely remembering a sentimental corner of France, none of us three together had experienced.