Suddenly with the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping, the thought of a Soup Festival sounds really enticing.
At Vaison-la-Romaine (84 Vaucluse, Provence) there is a three-week festival of soups with over 200 different types to sample. In true French style there is an august body of citizens and craftsmen dedicated to defending the tradtion of soup making – la vénérable confrérie
des louchiers voconces de l’académie des soupes – the venerable brotherhood of soup ladlers of the Vaucluse Academy of Soups!! (seriously!)
The festival moves around the local villages on different days (including some of the best Côtes du Rhône Villages such as Rasteau, Cairanne, Sablet, Seguret, and includes a Soup Bicycle ride!!
In previous years winning soups have included a traditional Velouté of carrots, a Tomato and Basil soup and several based on courgettes. In 2006 the winner was “Soupe Grand-Mère” (grandmothers soup) which was made from chicken stock, bacon, leeks, goats cheese and potatoes – cooked very slowly. It sounds like fun for an autumn day.
For more info see http://soupes84.free.fr/ (in French) – the site also includes recipes for the winning soups.
The local wine co-operative, Cave la Romaine is in the town, where you can taste the wines of the Cotes du Rhone and Cotes du Ventoux
Vaison-la-Romaine has some impressive roman remains (hence its name) including a distinctive roman bridge across the Ouvezes river and is close to the Côtes du Rhone Vineyards and Mont Ventoux – see www.vaison-la-romaine.com