Recent posts

A taste of the sweet life

Southern French Cuisine's Cassoulet

Instagram

French Cuisine's Phenomenal Cassoulet

After having lived here in the south of France for many years, and after having tasted, on many occasion, one of the most well-known French cuisine's from the area, I have been educated on the famous Cassoulet.

      cassoulet-oie-frais       cassoulet-toulouse

There seems to be some sort of parallel link between the origins of Cassoulet and the mystery of the holy trinity.  Let's say that if Cassoulet was the God of Southern French cuisine in the Occitane, then the Father would be from Castelnaudary, Son from Carcassonne, and the Holy Ghost from Toulouse.

Another story says that there are 4, not three, different cassoulets like the four Musketeers, yet another historical reference to this peasant dish: Castelnaudary’s cassoulet boasts the addition of goose and/or duck confit.  Toulouse’s version includes lamb, a thick, fatty local sausage and fresh tomatoes.  Carcassonne’s bean stew goes heavy on the preserved pork cuts and the Corbieres' version is cooked with the pig tail & ears, and in hunting season even a partridge may be added.

Cassoulet-beans
No matter which version you enjoy, it will include the tradtional white lingot bean, bouquet garni, carrots & onions and several cuts of meat plus the fat from the meat, giving you a warming winter stew that is cooked stove top and finished in the oven topped with bread crumbs & drizzled with olive oil.

clay-cassol

 

Traditionally, cassoulet is prepared in a large, deep, clay casserole dish baptized the “cassole,” hence the name cassoulet used in French cuisine, which gives it yet another element of flavor.

 

If you want to attack this typical southern french cuisine at home, you will need to be aware of a few things.  Give yourself at least 2 days as there is overnight soaking of 12 hours, a minimum prep-time of 1 hour and over 3 hours of cook-time. For you own version you can use your favorite combination of cured pork cuts, confit poultries and a few fresh cuts of lamb, fresh fat sausage and don't forget the pork belly.  And remember, the fresh tomatoes are typical only to a Toulousian stew, but gives yet another dimension to French Cuisine's Cassoulet.

cassoulet

Bon Apetit!

Along the Languedoc Roussillon Coast

Instagram

A very popular route in the Languedeoc-Rousillon is either from the cote d'azur on the way to Barcelona, or up the coastline instead, from Barcelona to Beziers and beyond.  While motoring this route via motorcycle or automobile here are a few suggested stops along the way:

If you are on your way down the coastline, Bezier's Neuf ecluses is a site to see on the Canal du Midi running along the edge of the city.  Further along the main road is Capestang.  A bit off the coast, this village lies on the Canal as well, with a great church at its center. Le Someil is a quaint little hamlet with several restaurants, art galleries and lovely walks all surrounding the Canal du Midi where many artists paint or draw the stone bridge.

aquaduct

church-from-alexis

le-trou-stones

 

 Azille is a medieval village a bit further from the sea and again not far from the canal  Azille was fortified in the 14th century, still maintaining much of its history within its center where you can take a self-guided tour, as well as stop for a glass of wine at one of several tasting rooms or bars.

 

 

Back towards the sea sits Narbonne where you can see reminents of the old Roman road near the massive cathedral.  In Gruissan, a port village, head for the “vieux village” (or old town) and “le plage des Chalets” with its stilted houses & nearby salt flats.

Just south of Perpignan along the coast is Collioure the very famous village known for the artists who stayed on their way south. You can finish the coastal visit with tapas & beer in a quaint little alcove of Spain, called Portbou. Enjoy!

Food & Wine Holiday

Instagram

Your dream vacation, full of food and wine in the South of France...Here at La Dolce Vita we live to eat and we love our grapes, you'll be right at home!

"Eating in" at La Dolce Vita is like "eating out" at a cozy restaurant, except that you'll get a personally prepared meal while sipping local, Minervois wine.P1080393

You may now enjoy a Mediterranean-Fusion two-course dinner on Saturday evenings complete with amuse-bouche, aperitif and finishing with our own homemade ice cream or sorbet, & cafe or tea to your taste.

If you are visiting us on a Wednesday or Thursday you can reserve a gourmet tasting plate with a glass of local wine, combining several different flavors and bites from beginning to end.

On any evening you may reserve a wine and cheese taster, displaying 3-4 matched cheese and wines so that you can find your favorite combinations.  You can even enjoy this combination on our rooftop terrace or privately in your room for a romantic rdv...

wine-dine-1For a special evening, reserve your "Wine & Food in Balance" tasting to discover a new concept in wine pairing, and a new way to enoy your food.  Come learn with us and find your palette!

Indulge yourself with one of our "Wine & Dine Packages", combining a 1 or 2 night stay at La Dolce Vita, a wine tasting visit to a local vineyard and a delicious evening meal.

Be prepared to be pampered at our table. A sample full evening meal:  Asian flavored scallop spoon with white wine Kir, grilled aubergine salad, pork filet mignon medallions in herbs with miso-mash, ginger-spiced frozen fromage blanc!

The beginning...

Instagram

front x adAs it is Springtime here in the South of France - I've decided to share with you today a beginning...Over 10 years ago I arrived in Azille after having lived near Dijon in the Burgundy region for a period of time.

Actually this chapter in my life was a continuation of the desire & passion I'd always had for living in France.  Never being able to place my finger on it, until the end of my volunteer job in Bolivia when I made a bold statement about getting here and running a B&B in a small village.  This became my life when I arrived here less than 5 years later in this perfect town of Azille.

I found the house that would be my home, and yours, and began the transformation of its many rooms and charming hidden corners.

P000-1080327 295 300 95

I met some wonderful local residents, one couple becoming my pseudo-parents who have been my saviors on many occasions, Annie & Michel.  They, among many others, have shared all their know-how and love of this land giving me a wealth of information about life and living here in the south.

In the beginning...I went through each room, pulling off wallpaper, repainting, cleaning and re-wiring.  Then the fun began, choosing my room decoration and watching the house turn into a very comfortable & homey place to invite you all to come and enjoy our laid-back lifestyle here in Azille.

If you want to learn more about the Minervois and the South of France, click here for a Free Guide that I've written for you, full of good tips for traveling in the region and creating a fabulous holiday - Welcome to La Dolce Vita!

Mother's Day Special

Instagram

As we near the end of Winter, Mother's day approaches.

And no matter which country you are in or which day you celebrate it, let's pay respect to our mothers, grandmothers, ourselves as mothers, and don't forget our daughters who may one day become Mothers.

So to celebrate Mother's day on Sunday March 30th of this year in the UK, we want to offer you a Special weekend at La Dolce Vita.

tomatos-sunflower-2

Mother's Day Weekend Special comes with 2 nights (Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday), a Gourmet 2-course meal complete with aperitif, amuse-bouche, homemade ice cream or sorbet & coffee on Saturday evening, then we'll celebrate our Mothers on Sunday morning March 30th, with a Bubbly Mimosa breakfast and all the works (local sausage, eggs, crepes & more), plus a few suggested visits in the area and Mother will feel Special all over again!  Book now to get the room Mum wants.

mothers-with-daughters         mother-and-daughter

                   Mothers & Daughters                                      My Mother & My Daughter

 

Make note of these upcoming Special Mother's days still to come:

French Mother's Day is Sunday May 25th

USA - German - Italian Mother's Day is Sunday May 11th

Spanish Mother's Day is May 4th