Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A St. Remy Tour for Foodies


Very quickly after I launched my new company Provence Post Travel---arranging amazing vacations in Provence for solo travelers, couples, families and groups of all sizes--I learned how much my clients love activities that get them up close and personal with real life in Provence…the special experiences I arrange for them with artists, farmers, winemakers, bread bakers, chefs, guides and more. Travelers these days definitely want to meet interesting locals who love to share their passions.

So to make these activities more accessible, I created a Menu of Delicious Provence Experiences: wonderful activities of all types that you can book and enjoy during your stay in Provence. You can see the menu here.

Having been a food writer for the past 30 years--the last 14 of them mostly in Provence--I'm often asked to arrange or lead foodie tours around the South of France. Some people want to work in restaurant kitchens and visit outdoor markets; others want to learn the secrets behind making the flakiest croissants or perfect crusty baguettes. Virtually all want to visit artisinal producers making food in traditional ways...and of course to taste the delicious results. Luckily, my village, St. Remy, has more than its share of these artisans, many of them third or fourth generation. 

My friend Philippe, one of the most-popular guides in the region, has been in St. Remy as long as I have and he knows all these producers well. So taking clients around to taste in their workshops has been a particular joy for him. And of all the different tours on my Menu of Delicious Experiences, this one day Tour for Foodies is our most-popular outing by far. 

Philippe will pick you up at your hotel or rental villa around 9 am…or rendezvous with you in St. Remy. And then you'll hit the rue running! First stop: a visit to the only olive mill in St. Remy, where fifth generation brother-and-sister farmers tend 5,000 trees and make a wide range of fantastic products. We’ll comparison taste the various olives and oils…plus tapenades, anchoiade, sun-dried tomato spreads, confitures and all sorts of other homemade goodies. Then we’ll head back to the village where we’ll roam from shop to shop, tasting artisan chocolates, cookies, candies, nougat, macarons, flavored salts from all over the world, honey from the region and more. 

After a break for lunch in one of our favorite local spots, you'll head over to an excellent local patissier for a two-hour hands-on class where you’ll learn to make popular French treats such as croissants, pain au chocolat, macarons, lemon tart or other goodies. Then we'll pop in at our favorite goat farm, the place where top local chefs buy their cheeses. We’ll meet the goats (three adorable babies were just born), possibly see them being milked and taste a few of the delicious award-winning cheeses; they make as many as 50 different types.

If there’s time, we’ll slip in a visit to a historic local winery, to learn a bit about the varietals and wines of the AOC Les Baux and be led in a short tasting, by the winemaker himself if possible. The day ends around 7 pm. 

Note: this fully escorted one-day food tour can be expanded to multiple days…or you can skip the baking class and we’ll replace it with other visits and tastings. It's available year round. The price is 300€ per person for adults, which includes lunch, a two-hour baking class and all tastings. Under 18s pay 150€ but the minimum age is 14, please. The maximum is six people per tour. Sorry, we can’t go out with fewer than two people but if your schedule is flexible, we’ll pair you with other fun foodies and knock 100€ per person off the price. In 2014 we may be doing this for groups (six max) on one set day per week...so check in if that interests you. For info or to book: provenceblog@aol.com.


Photos: My new best friend at our local goat farm, where they make some of the best chevre around. Your guide Philippe. A selection of Provence’s famous rosé wines. Yes, we'll taste olives, like these in our local market. Yes, we'll taste macarons...and maybe even make our own. And of course we'll taste chocolate...and bakery...and other goodies...and visit a store that sells salt and spices from all over the world. Somewhere in there, we'll break for lunch at a pretty restaurant like this one. At the Calanquet mill, we'll learn all about how olive oil is made and taste all their other homemade products. And maybe you'll even learn a few words of Provençal, the traditional language spoken here back in the day. All photos (except Calanquet exterior) copyright Julie Mautner.

12 comments:

  1. Dear Julie, now I am very hungry for these fresh delights. The goats are just too cute!

    xoxo
    Karena
    2013 Design Series

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  2. What a fabulous idea. St. Remy is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. Best of luck in your new venture.
    Sam

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  3. I recognise those goats! Definitely worth a visit and the cheese is the best in the area! Julie knows her foodie places!

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  4. I'm definitely adding St Remy to my itinerary on the next trip to Provence! Sounds like a great day!

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  5. Your blog is a piece of heaven for me! Thank you.

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  6. What a brilliant way to spend a day! Who better than you, Julie, to find all the right places!

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  7. Julie, thank you so much for this list! I got a visitor from Canada who went to St Remy for a day trip and who I gave your list to.

    In the meantime, I was away in Marseille, touring the local restaurants there:-)
    Un Table, au Sud, is on the top of my list; what an incredible experience for 22/29 Euro at lunch time (knowing it' a 2 star Michelin place).

    Warm regards from Cannes!

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    1. From one Torontoise (if I am interpreting correctly ...) to another, thank you for that restaurant recommendation! If you are residing in Cannes, I invite you to my book launch party in Antibes on Oct. 4th. Check with me for more details, if you wish! psands.stories@gmail.com

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  8. Philippe is a wonderful tour guide...David and I cannot wait to get back and try this Foodie tour. Miss you both!

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    1. Dana, hope you come back soon. In the meantime, we'll leave the light on for ya!
      :)

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  9. Lovely photos, and the tour sounds amazing. Also, I love goats.

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