------ Patrick MOON
Patrick Moon studied French and History at Oxford before working as a lawyer in London. He then decided to ‘stop’ in order to spend more time with his francophilia. He now spends every possible moment in his Languedoc home. Virgile’s Vineyard is his first book.
1- ARRAZAT'S AUBERGINES
How, exactly, does a young restaurateur set up business in rural France? In his delightful sequel to Virgile’s Vineyard, about Languedoc’s winemakers, Patrick Moon offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in a serious French kitchen.
Rich in truffles, oysters, olives, and eggplants, the Languedoc region of France is a gourmet’s paradise. It’s also full of wonders to explore: the secrets of olive oil and salt production, the Roquefort caves, the miracle of the sparkling Perrier Springs. But is it the perfect place for an ambitious young chef to open a restaurant? Intrigued by Laurent Arrazat’s determination to achieve perfection on a shoestring, Patrick Moon rolls up his sleeves and pitches in. For a year, he shares in the triumphs, disasters, and sheer hard work of restaurant life. By turns informative and funny, this is a captivating tale of culinary ambition, mishap, and discovery.
2 - VIRGILE'S VINEYARD: A YEAR IN THE LANGUEDOC WINE COUNTRY
Inheriting a remote and neglected house in the South of France, Patrick Moon sets out to discover how the Languedoc, a wine region so long notorious for mere quantity, has managed to transform itself, in little more than a decade, into one of the world's most exciting vineyards. Among the rich cast of characters he meets during his year of exploration is Virgile, a young local wine-maker who offers to initiate Patrick into the mysteries of each season's work in the fields and in the cellar. Virgile is passionately committed to perfection, though he operates on a shoestring with only a handful of hectares and the smallest cellar imaginable. At the other extreme is Manu, Patrick's dipsomaniac neighbour, a diehard traditionalist producing a private wine-lake of unspeakable rouge. With Manu as his self-appointed guide, Patrick embarks on a quest for the revolution's leading lights - a succession of lively encounters with growers as varied as the wines themselves, from modest one-man bands to the owners of elegant chateaux, with every approach from the very latest in mechanized efficiency to old-fashioned eccentricity. Interwoven with these bucolic expeditions are digressions into the history of the region and its wine-making, from the earliest plantings by the Greeks and Romans to the 19th-century scourge of phylloxera. Meanwhile, the author struggles to deal with his dilapidated inheritance - an unfamiliar and unpredictable world where the brambles have grown as tall as the olive trees, the water supply has just dried up and there is a ferocious animal under the roof tiles
www.amazon.com £12.99 / EUR 14,22
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Languedoc & Provence Sun N°53 (Autumn 2014)
Well, I think that’s it. The sun cream has ﬁnally given its last breath, my loyal ﬂip-ﬂops have ended up in the recycling bin and the children are off to school. I guess we are back to normal life and believe it or not, it is time to think about… Christmas! Oh noooo I’ll hear you scream, but as we are now quarterly, this issue will cover October, November and December – three months packed with ideas of things to do, visit, drink and eat.
We are always happy to welcome new contributors, but we are truly spoilt this time. Rachel Baker, journalist, food writer and now proud inhabitant of Apt, has joined the ranks (p10 & 32), and so has author Janice Macdonald (p12), who will follow for the next 12 months the inside life of a wine domain for us. We also welcome on board Richard Simpson-Birks (p15). And I’m sure you will carry on enjoying our regular contributors Bernice Clark (p8), Janice Lert (p6), Camille Vourc'h (p29) and Caren Trafford (p22), who has kindly donated books for our fantastic kids drawing competition (p28).
Enjoy the falling leaves, the chestnuts, the early nights by the ﬁre with a good book, and when you feel ready to think about it, have a lovely Christmas...
Carole Rommene, Editor