AUTHENTIC FRENCH EXPERIENCES IN PROVENCE
Ahhhh, beautiful Provence…considered by many as their favorite French region! It is located in southeastern France, bordering Italy and the Mediterranean Sea. Known for its diverse geography, endless vineyards, olive groves, lavender fields and Roman ruins, Provence has been made famous in movies and books…particularly those written by author Peter Mayle. While Provence is often celebrated for its delicious rose wine, it also offers impressive whites and reds from well-respected appellations such as Bandol, Les Baux de Provence, Cassis and Cotes de Provence. The weather, the scenery, the food and the wine…Provence NEVER disappoints!
We are very excited to share exclusive and authentic experiences that we’ve uncovered in Provence for our clients! Below are some examples that we can include in your custom-designed vacation itinerary!
HUNTING FOR GOLD!
Often called Black Gold, Provence is a truffle lovers paradise! The tuber is so valuable, that truffle farms are usually fenced and never publicize their addresses! This truffle farm is run by a husband-wife team and their good friend. They inspired me so much that I want to plant some truffle oak trees too! You will hunt for truffles with the trained dogs (pigs are too risky given their love for truffles), you will learn how these black beauties are cultivated and how these dogs were trained to find them. Your lovely hosts will also teach you how to pair and cook with truffles. Your reward for all this work? You will enjoy champagne and sample delicious fresh truffle hors d’oeurves!
COOKING WITH PROVENCAL OLIVE OIL
Visit a 15 hectare olive farm where gold-medaled oil is produced. See the latest technology used to produce delicious oils and to keep them at their freshest. Taste their broad array of infused oils (even an oil that is fabulous with ice cream!!). And participate in a private class where you will learn how to cook properly with the oils…such as which ones are ideal for sautéing and which ones are best as the finishing touch on a dish!
MAKE YOUR OWN LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
Who doesn’t love the smell of lavender? Visit a lavender distillery which has been in the same family since 1895 and is now led by the great, great granddaughter! Under her leadership, they harvest lavender and lavadin, and then transform them into essential oils and other products. (By the way, lavender and lavadin serve different purposes). Learn about the harvest process, the health benefits of the flowers, and make your own lavender essential oil in a real distillery!
MILK THE GOATS
Don’t let the size of this goat cheese farm fool you…this father-mother-son trio produce chevre fromage that is preferred by some of Provence’s best chefs. Walk the farm to meet the stars of the show (the goats) and actually milk them! Visit the “factory” to learn how they make and flavor the cheeses. And of course, enjoy an extensive tasting!
Join Chef Xavier Mathieu at his premier five-star hotel in the beautiful Luberon area. Participate in your own private class where the Chef will share secrets on how to prepare Provencal specialties. Enjoy the fruits of your labor in a lovely lunch following your culinary session, which includes the Chef’s personal wine!
WHO WANTS CHOCOLATE?
If you are a chocolate lover…this experience is for you! How would you like to visit a well-respected luxury chocolaterie where each candy they produced is entirely hand-made? This chocolate house is top notch…they are committed to doing things right, or they will not do them at all. You will work directly with one of their chocolatiers in a private session where you will make your own artisan chocolates! Of course, you can take home with you (that is, if you can resist the temptation to eat them!)
THE SOAP FOR EVERYTHING
Four generations have been producing the “real” Marseille soap cubes and the black soap with olive oil. In addition to seeing how the soap is made, you will enjoy a private workshop where you will learn how to make the black soap that is famous for cleaning everything from laundry to dishes, from floors to windows.
PRIVATE COOKING CLASSES
Enjoy a special visit to the Aix-en-Provence market with your cooking instructor to get a bird’s eye view of this important cultural event! Learn about the history of Aix, the French way of living, and how the French select their products at the markets. Then cook a full three-course "market to table” menu with the chef. Enjoy the fruits of your labor with a delicious lunch and of course, some provencal Rosé wine!
You will discover award-winning wineries in this world-famous appellation! Tour vineyards by electric mountain bikes, taste various wines while enjoying gourmet lunches, and have private tastings with the winemaker !
Along the southern coastline, the Bandol Appellation produces premium reds that are full-bodied with strong tannins. Like many appellations across France, many are small, family-owned vineyards that produce amazing wines! You can visit their caves and simply taste their nectar, or spend more time with a gourmet lunch and an extensive tasting with the wine maker.