If you want to bring back or capture the essence of the Languedoc and its food, then this could be the book for you. In many places the Languedoc landscape is rugged, peppered with “garrigues”, a sort of moorland with wild herbs, (rosemary,thyme, star anise and mint), heather and broom – ideal territory for wild boar and lamb. And of course, the Mediterranean Sea is never far away with its rich harvest of seafood, especially around the Etang du Thau. Geographicaly and gastonomically it is a region influenced by its neighbours in South West France and Provence, Fortunately it also manages to produce wines to match robust and well-flavoured dishes – rich reds especially from Fitou, Corbieres and Pic St Loup; and crisp dry whites from Picpoul de Pinet. “Returning to his challenging home in the Languedoc, Patrick Moon could easily fill the days, protecting infant vines from marauding wild boar and hiding baby truffle oaks from unscrupulous neighbours. The local campsite cafe is, however, now an ambitious new restaurant. The determination of its talented young chef to achieve perfection on a shoestring is intriguing, and Patrick soon finds himself behind the swing doors, sharing in the triumphs, disasters and sheer hard work of life in a serious kitchen. A wider exploration of the region’s finest produce for the table distracts him further. From season to season, Patrick’s quest uncovers the secrets of olive oil and salt production, the mysteries of Ricard and the Roquefort caves, the miracle of the sparkling Perrier spring. From mighty household names to eccentric peasant smallholdings, his expeditions encompass an extraordinary cast of characters and a rich vein of humour. But always there are the melons and olives and aubergines demanding attention at home.

Arrazat’s Aubergines: Inside a Languedoc Kitchen

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