Provence: Garden of France
Vaucluse is known as the Garden of France, whose products can be found all over the world! Red, white and rosé wines, Cavaillon melons, Carpentras strawberries, Monts de Venasque cherries, Piolenc garlic, black truffles, Muscat grapes from Ventoux, spelt wheat, black figs from Caromb, olives and olive oil, saffron and herbs, Apt fruit confit, boiled sweets from Carpentras, Avignon sprats, nougat, goat’s cheese, Luberon bread… each season offers an abundance of products to be found on the region’s market stalls.
The markets of Provence…
Each of Vaucluse’s 92 towns and villages has its own market in its squares and streets, taking place every week throughout the seasons. Richly brocaded and eclectic, here you can find everything: fruits and vegetables, meat and cheese, flowers, linen, shoes and clothes, cooking utensils, decorative objects… joyful chaos!
Highly recommended: With some dating back to the twelfth century, these markets guarantee a high quality of products on offer as well as ambiance. On Sundays, visit the markets at Maubec or at the Isle sur la Sorgue; Apt on Saturdays; Velleron every evening from April to September, and on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from September to March; and Carpentras on Fridays.
Nine farmer’s markets in the region allow visitors to meet the producers of the freshly picked fruit and vegetables on show. More than just a market, this is a real meeting place where locals swap recipes and harvesting secrets in a convivial setting.
Wines of Provence
If Avignon is the capital of Côtes du Rhône, this region’s vineyards just south of Luberon – on the hills of the Enclave des Papes – claim the names of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Séguret, Vacqueyras and Baumes-de-Venise.
Here, 3 AOC-certified vineyards – AOC Côtes du Rhône, AOC Ventoux and AOC Luberon – follow each other across the landscape of 151 communes of Vaucluse. Each offers red, white and rosé wines of fruity or woody aromas, some light, some very robust – all waiting to be discovered year after year in beginners’ wine tasting classes, wine-making studios, and tours of vineyards by foot, horse-drawn carriage, or electric bike.
Recommendations: Wine tours with Kelly Mc Auliffe, an American sommelier who has lived in France for over 25 years. In turn, sommeliers from Alain Ducasse and Christian Etienne accompany wine tours, bringing their passion and all-American style to the discovery of the vineyards and wine cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Girondas and Vacqueyras.
3 wine tour ideas with Provence-Réservation:
- Wine and Culture: including a panoramic visit to the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Orange’s antique theatre
- Beginner’s Wine Tasting: in the heart of the AOC Ventoux wine production, with an exclusive visit to the estate and a sensory wine tasting
- Châteaux and Estates: explores the vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, including a visit to two wine cellars followed by tastings of wine from both estates.
Cooking in Provence…
Vaucluse is home to 15 Michelin star chefs and 17 restaurants awarded with the Bib Gourmand title, making it one of France’s most prestigious regions for gastronomy. This wealth of talent offers a variety of cuisine, each as inventive as the last, from friendly tables in small village restaurants to the kinds of restaurants which have put their town on the map. Several cookery courses with passionate Provencal chefs allow you to introduce yourself to this region’s cuisine. Whether alone, in a couple or between friends, these classes are the perfect opportunity to meet fellow lovers of good food.
Reine Sammut, the only Michelin star female chef in Vaucluse, has the kind of cheerful yet talented personality that you can’t help but like. Her restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 1995! Her motto is: “food affects everyone for whom it is made”. Each class is a special moment to share with her students for the day. Her ‘cuisine en couleurs’ course is worth checking out; where you learn how to cook colourful meals in pink, purple, brown or yellow…
Bistrots de pays: Found in the heart of each small village; don’t miss these establishments for those who want to taste local cuisine at a reasonable price.
Vaucluse’s 11 bistrots de pays are all worth a visit, whether for a cheeky coffee, a quick lunch on the go, or a long, relaxed dinner.
Lead photo credit : HOCQUEL Alain - Coll. CDT Vaucluse (5)
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