2022 Excited About Food – in Occitanie!

SOLD OUT – check in soon for our June 2022 Excited About Food tour in PROVENCE

September 10-18, 2022

A Culinary Adventure on the Mediterranean Coast

Award winning cookbook author Cheryl Alters Jamison shares her passion for food, wine and the south of France with other food lovers.

Hosted by four-time James Beard Foundation award-winning cookbook author, Cheryl is a lifelong Francophile. She made her first trip to France nearly five decades ago, in college, and has spent as much time as she could there. Her twenty cookbooks, many written with her late husband Bill—including Smoke & Spice, American Home Cooking, and The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining—have been widely recognized as standard setters, and have sold some 2 million copies. For a decade, she led culinary adventure groups to the Dordogne. After a few years’ hiatus, she has decided it’s time again to share her love of the country’s South with other food- and wine-obsessed travelers, by pairing up with Absolutely Southern France.

Saturday, September 10: Welcome to Occitanie !

Your culinary adventure in the south of France begins with airport and train station transfers from Montpellier to settle into your vacation home away from home in family run Demeure Térisse **** in the historical center of quaint Marseillan village. Meet and greet with your host Cheryl Alters Jamison and fellow food lovers for a sommelier wine pairing   and French food experience.

Sunday, September 11 : Carcassonne and Limoux

Wear comfortable walking shoes today for your guided walking tour of Unesco Heritage medieval walled city of Carcassonne. After your Cassoulet lunch, another ancient treasure awaits you in the Abbey where the ancestor of champagne first appeared made by benedictine monks in Limoux. On return to your residence, a surprise plant based workshop will be organized followed by dinner at a chateau on the harbourfront.

 

Monday, September 12 : Bouzigues and Marseillan

The Art of Eating an Oyster: Learn about the unique and ancestral farming method, on a catamaran outing to oyster beds on a lagoon. The oyster farm tour will be followed by an oyster and seafood feast perfectly paired with the Languedoc’s Picpoul de Pinet. After lunch, a surprise stop will be made for a regional culinary delight. On your return to Marseillan, you will be greeted by a cocktail master for a vermouth based cocktail workshop in the “room of secrets” at renowned Noilly Prat. Founded in 1813, their vermouth is an outstanding wine which is macerated with a rich assortment of herbs and spices. Dinner will be in a typical french bistrot in the area

Tuesday, September 13 : Combaillaux and Montpellier

Travelling on countryside roads in September in the south of France can offer quite a spectacle with the odd looking contraptions at work during the grape harvest and olive picking. You’ll be able to join in the fun on a tractor ride in olive groves followed by a tasting at Domaine Oulivie. Off to Montpellier’s historical center on a walking tour through 1000 years of history in the medieval streets in France’s largest pedestrian district to admire the Arch of Triumph, courtyards of private mansions, and more. Lunch will be at renowned Insensée operated by Michelin starred chefs the Pourcel twins. We’ll take you to a hardware store which dates back to 1896 where a treasure trove of quality French kitchen items and accessories can be found. As you will be put to hard work on your return to Marseillan to prepare your dinner with Cheryl, you may join her on the shopping spree at the Monoprix upmarket grocery store in center town. A stop will also be made at the historic Halles Castellane to admire the local produce and buzzy atmosphere. Mr Krutt, the cheese master will welcome you to his “cremerie” for a sampling. Cheryl has concocted a menu of fabulous seasonal and local food items which you will be preparing with her to later feast upon for dinner.

Wednesday, September 14 : Sète

Sète is considered as the culinary capital of the south of France having no less than 9 speciality dishes. On arrival, you will be greeted by Cyril at his family run “tiellerie” Giuletta. The “tielle” is the most famous local specialty, with a recipe which generations of a family have transmitted since the 19th century . Then off for a stoll at the indoor and outdoor farmer’s market . You’ll be overwhelmed by the senses and flavours of this authentic fishing town. After shopping at the market for your afternoon cooking session, you will be taken to meet Francois on his tuna fishing boat for a picnic lunch with local delicacies. Dinner will be a seafood feast concocted at your residence.

Thursday, September 15 : Roquefort, St Guilhelm du Dessert & Caux 

Enjoy the drive through the countryside to the village of Roquefort to visit the cellars where all of the Roquefort from the entire world is produced. Your guided tour will end with a tasting of their range of products from the mild to the premium “moulds”.
You might want to bring along something to cover up today. The temperature in the caves is a constant 18 degrees C (64 degrees F).Your tour will be followed by lunch Couvertoirade, a 12th century knights templar village in a charming Auberge where you will be able to further indulge in cheese based dishes. After lunch, off for a special treat! A combination of science, luxury and excellence à la francaise with a private and exclusive tour and tasting to meet passionate experts making caviar at Chateau Castiollone hatchery near St Guilhelm du Dessert. Occitanie is the largest organic wine producing region in Europe. You’ll be taken to one of the finest estatates of the region to Domaine Paul Mas. Since 1892, they have been producing utltiple award winning cuvées following the principles of bio-dynamic wine making. After a tour and tasting, you’ll have dinner on the terasse as the sun sets over their vineyards

Friday, September 16 : Camargue & Aigues Mortes

An adventure-filled morning awaits as we go on a 4×4 Safari into the heart of the Camargue. Learn about this natural wonder and UNESCO protected site, famous for its pink flamingos, white horses, black bulls and salt flats. Afterwards lunch will be at Le Dit Vin in 13th century walled town of Aigues Mortes that sits at the entrance of the Camarague. You’ll have time to shop for the famous red rice of Camargues in this ancient town where we can imagine Crusaders departing from here to the sea which once reached this spot. You will end the day with a guided mini-train tour through the rose- colored salt marshes and learn how the famous “fleur de sel” is harvested by hand, as it has been for centuries. A French celebration will be in store on return in Marseillan for your cooking fun.

Saturday, September 17 : Uzès and Pont du Gard

This will be a fun and busy day starting in the popular medieval town of Uzès where Cheryl’s dear friend American Deborah Bine aka “Barfefoot Blogger” will take you to discover her “home away from home” You’ll be enchanted by the mase of small streets and the shaded plazas, quaint shops and views of the Place du Duché. The timing will be perfect to shop for souvenirs and gift items such as pottery made in the neighboring town called St Quentin la Poterie as it will be market day! Uzès is considered as being the most beautiful and popular market in Provence. After lunch at Debbie’s favorite haunt Villa Curti, you’ll be drawn back in time at your next stop. The Pont du Gard is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most visited ancient monument in France. You will discover the well-preserved Roman aqueduct and cannot miss the photo op in front of the 1000 year old olive tree. On your final evening, time for a champagne toast at the villa followed by gourmet dinner on the patio of the enchanting Table d’Emilie  in a classified historical building  where a feast awaits you prepared by your chef Thomas.

Sunday, September 18 : Au revoir !

Time to bid farewell and take home unforgettable memories. Transfer to Montpellier airport or high speed train station provided.

 

About Cheryl

A four-time James Beard Foundation award-winning cookbook author, Cheryl is a lifelong Francophile. She made her first trip to France nearly five decades ago, in college, and has spent as much time as she could there, as well as in the French Caribbean. Cheryl has taught cooking classes in venues across the United States, as well as appeared numerous times on the Food Network, NBC’s Today Show, and on other television internationally, from China to the UK. She’s the former culinary editor of New Mexico magazine and host of a weekly food radio show and podcast, Heating It Up. Her twenty cookbooks, many written with her late husband Bill—including Smoke & Spice, American Home Cooking, and The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining—have been widely recognized as standard setters, and have sold some 2 million copies. For a decade, she led culinary adventure groups to the Dordogne. After a few years’ hiatus, she has decided it’s time again to share her love of the country’s South with other food- and wine-obsessed travelers, by pairing up with Absolutely Southern France. She lives just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico with a small flock of hens with outsize personalities. Find out more about Cheryl at her website, excitedaboutfood.com. Cheryl is also a guest contributio to our blog page. Read here what she has to say about her passion for the south of France.  

 

 

Deposit

To secure a place on our tour, we ask that you fill in our reservation form, which indicates that your deposit of 30% will be required when it is clear the tour will proceed as planned. The balance will be due 2 months prior to the tour. If travel restrictions are re-introduced in France, the payment(s) will be applied toward a rescheduled tour, in September 2023.

Included

All meals with wine included.
Local tour leader throughout your stay.

Not included 

Roundtrip airfare to France, Train to the South of France, Any Spa Treatments desired, Any personal souvenirs or purchases, Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals, Travel insurance (highly recommended) and trip medical coverage (required for travelers over 50 years of age).

Terms and Conditions

If insufficient numbers of participants or in the event of conditions deemed unsafe for our clients, the tour may be cancelled or postponed. 

Cancellation Policy

This is a package tour and non-refundable with no refunds even in case of injury or illness or personal emergency. Cancellation must be notified by email to nancy@absolutelysouthernfrance.com.

Payment

We accept all credit cards except AMEX.

Arrival and Departure

You will be welcomed on arrival by Cheryl followed by welcome cocktail and buffet on September 10th. Your airport or train station transfers to your accommodation on day of arrival and departure from Montpellier are included.

What to Pack

Please wear comfortable walking shoes as you will be at times walking on cobblestones and uneven sidewalks, sometimes for more than an hour.

Physical Requirements

Our tour is “physically active.” You may be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, rain or shine. That means if you need help climbing in a tour bus or if you are winded after walking 50 feet, you will want to explore other tour options.

Accommodation

You are staying in a fully private boutique residence in the center of a historical village. Temperatures should be pleasant. We expect clear sunny skies with average daytime temperatures between 22C / 72F and overnight lows of 15C / 57F.

Transportation

You will be travelling in a comfortable air- conditioned coach driven by a professional driver as well as in safari jeeps driven by guides who are also professional drivers.

Additional Services

Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France is happy to assist with roommate matching as well as pre and post tour travel planning.

CONTACT US

To reserve your spot or request additional information,  please fill out the form below. Nancy will then contact you to discuss the tour details and arrange your booking.

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SOLD OUT – check in soon for our June 2022 Excited About Food tour in PROVENCE

Tour Details

Dates: September 10-18, 2022
Duration: 9 days, 8 nights
Cost: 4225 € single occupancy * consult us for double/twin occupancy rate
Participants: 10 participants

Tour HIGHLIGHTS

  • 3 hands-on cooking workshops with Cheryl Jamison 4-time James Beard award winning cookbook author
  • Oyster farm tour in catamaran, fish market, Roquefort cellars,  wineries
  • Cocktail workshop
  • Camargue safari
  • Tractor ride in olive grove
  • Sightseeing: Uzès, Pont du Gard, St Quentin la Poterie, Sète, Montpellier, Aigues Mortes, Camargue
  • Cathar country and Carcassonne walled city Unesco heritage site
  • Caviar tasting at hatchery
  • Roquefort caves tour

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