Richard Olney – responsible for the legendary Time-Life cooking series as well as other cooking classics such as his wonderful Simple French Food (also published by Grub Street) moved to Provence in 1961 and had the good fortune to befriend Lulu and Lucien Peyraud, the owners of the noted Domaine Tempier vineyard in Provence, not far from Marseilles. Lulu’s Provençal Table tantalizes the reader with Olney’s descriptions of the regional food served as the vineyard meals at the Domaine. Then he lovingly transcribes Lulu's recipes. She has an empathy with and understanding of Provençal ingredients that is inspirational. There is succulent Pot-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Black Olives served with Courgette Gratin, and Potato and Sorrel Gratin, delicious with just six ingredients. There are plenty of simple recipes, but the recipe for bouillabaisse is a fascinating 10 pages long.
Her 150 recipes read like a roll call of the best of Provence ̶ tapenade, anchoiade, brandade, pissaladière, bagna cauda, sardines grillées, bouillabaisse, bourride, daurade au fenouil, daube, gigot à la ficelle and ratatouille. Starting with aperitifs and amuse-gueule and finishing up with fruit desserts, hers is classic French country cooking, featuring everyday ingredients cooked with respect for their nature and flavor.
Having been described as ‘a gastronomic love poem to France’s most exhilarating region,’ this is an essential book for any serious food lover's library.
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The Vineyard and the Peyrauds
Domaine Tempier is a vineyard and an ancient dwelling, nestled in the hillsides outside the neighbouring fishing ports of Bandol and Sanary, some ten miles from Toulon and thirty miles from Marseilles. The oldest part of the house, in which, today, are installed the offices and tasting rooms, dates from before the French Revolution. The living quarters were built in 1834 by the Rounard family, whose daughter, Léonie, received the domaine as part of her dowry at the time of her marriage to François Tempier. Léonie and François Tempier were the great-grandparents of Madame Lucien Peyraud, born Lucie Tempier and known to Lucien, to five daughters, two sons, fourteen grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, and to adepts of wine and food the world round, as Lulu.
Domaine Tempier is also the Peyraud family, impassioned, exuberant, indefatigable, dedicated to the belief that the meaning of life lies in love and friendship and that these qualities are best expressed at table. Perhaps love and friendship can never be quite the same in the absence of the cicada's chant, of fresh sweet garlic and voluptuous olive oil, of summer-ripe tomatoes and the dense, spicy, wild fruit of the wines of Domaine Tempier, which reflect the scents of the Provençal hillsides and joyously embrace Lulu's high-spirited cuisine. For Lulu, cuisine is a language, the expression of love; for Lucien, wine is the expression of love. In Provence, cuisine and wine are as inseparable as Lulu and Lucien.
Lucien Peyraud and his twin, Louis, were born December 16, 1912, in Saint-Etienne. Their parents dealt in silks and ribbons. Neither twin wanted ribbons — Louis evolved toward industrial engineering; Lucien's passion was agriculture, which rapidly became centred on viticulture. After two years at the Ecole Superieure d'Agriculture in Aix-en-Provence, Lucien spent the early 1930s doing apprenticeships in vineyards and fruit orchards in the region around Aix and by a stint of obligatory military service. In 1935, in Sanary, where his parents rented a summer villa, Lucien encountered, on a diving board, a lovely seventeen- year-old wisp of a girl, Lucie Tempier. The effect was explosive.
Lucie Tempier was born December 11, 1917, in Marseilles. Her father, Alphonse Tempier, owned a leather-importing firm that had been in the family since before the Revolution, but his great love was painting and his idol was the Aixois painter, Cézanne. The Tempiers spent Sundays and summer holidays in Sanary, in the family villa, which Alphonse Tempier had built before the First World War, at the summit of the colline de Notre Damede-Pitié, next to the sixteenth-century chapel of the same name, with a sheer view of the port and a sweeping view of the surrounding mountains. Inspired by her father, whom she adored, Lulu was studying art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Aix-en-Provence when she and Lucien met. They were married October 17, 1936, in the chapel of Notre Dame-de-Pitié. In the family album, beneath the photo of the radiant couple leaving the chapel, the date is inscribed in Lulu's hand, followed by a great exclamation point.
Lucien was out of work. He settled for a job with an irascible proprietor of fig and cherry orchards in Solliès-Pont, a village in the Gapeau valley, not far from Toulon. He recalls with distaste the large, black, tasteless figs, picked under-ripe to be shipped off to London and Paris ("Poor city-folk — nothing like wrinkled grey figs with pearls of honey escaping, picked ripe from the trees!"). The first child, Fleurine, was born March 1, 1938 (all the children were born in Marseilles, where Lulu spent a month after each delivery with her parents). Three years of fig culture were more than enough; at the beginning of 1939, Lucien agreed to momentarily abandon agriculture and to join his father-in-law in the leather-importing firm. Jean-Marie was born April 12. On September 3, France declared war on Germany and Lucien was mobilised.
July 10, 1940, marked the end of the Third Republic and the installation of the Vichy government. Lucien was demobilised July 14. At the same time, Alphonse Tempier offered Lucien and Lulu the Domaine Tempier. François was born July 26, 1940.
Lulu's father had inherited the domaine from his grandmother, Léonie, at her death in 1917. The wine was sold in bulk, in Marseilles for the most part, until the depression of the 1930s, when everything began to collapse. Alphonse Tempier, whose occupations in Marseilles obliged him to farm out the domaine, had all but seven of the twenty-three acres of vineyard torn up and replanted to peach trees. The farmer, who preferred vines to fruit trees, moved to a neighbouring property. Like most rural properties at that time, there was no electricity, water was brought up from a well by a hand pump, and of course, there was no telephone. Lucien bought a cow to provide milk for the children and a horse to pull a plow and to transport peaches to the market. Food was scarce. Lulu says, "It seemed like the only thing there was plenty of was Jerusalem artichokes. Lucien used to bring home cartloads of them to feed the cow and he would say, 'Choose the best for the family, Lulu.' After the war, no one wanted ever again to taste a Jerusalem artichoke."
Despite deprivation and uncertainty about the future, excitement was in the air around Bandol when Lucien and Lulu settled in with the family at Domaine Tempier. AndréRoethlisberger was the Swiss proprietor of Château Milhière, near Sanary. His wines, at that time, were the best in the region (the property has since disappeared, victim of shabby housing developments). He had studied the history of Bandol wine and was determined to raise the overall quality to that of the past. His goal was for Bandol to be recognised as an "Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée" (AOC) by the Institute National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO), an official organisation created in 1935 that imposes complex, quality-related strictures on all French wines or brandies granted AOC status. In 1939, André Roethlisberger had created, with the few other proprietors who believed — or wanted to believe — in his dream, a syndicate for the improvement and promotion of Bandol wine (it was usually referred to as the Syndicat des Anciens Vins de Bandol because its official name, Le Syndicat des Producteurs des Vins Fins de la Région Historique des Vins de Bandol, was too much of a mouthful to pronounce). This was wonderful bait for Lucien. He bit hard and never since loosened his grip; he became Andre Roethlisberger's confidant, colleague, and successor.
THE WINE OF BANDOL
Today, as in centuries past, the wines called "Bandol" come mostly from a cluster of communities surrounding Bandol, the port from which they were once shipped. Bandol also occupies centre stage in the natural amphitheatre that describes the Bandol microclimate — a basin of terraced hillsides facing the sea and surrounded by a belt of mountains. The vines receive a maximum of sun and, at the same time, are protected from spring frosts and excessive summer heat, both by the proximity of the sea and by the mountainous barrier. The soil is arid, stony, and chalky, with a high clay content, more or less sandy — hopeless for other crops but typical of the soils that produce great wine.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the deeply coloured red wines of Bandol were celebrated for their solid structure, their finesse, and their ability to age. They were served at the table of Louis XV. A sea voyage was thought to improve them and many, which were shipped to the Antilles, were shipped back to France, rounded out by the long trip. Until shortly before the Revolution, when the port of Bandol was deepened, ships had to anchor in the harbour beyond, where kegs of wine were floated out to them. Following the Napoleonic wars, Bandol became an important cooperage centre and some twelve hundred merchant ships were carrying more than six million litres of wine each year to the Caribbean, North America, Italy, and other French ports.
In 1864, phylloxera, the insidious vine root louse, mortal enemy to the many varieties of the European wine grape, arrived in the south of France on cuttings of American wild grape vines. It spread rapidly, attacking the vineyards of Provence before reaching throughout France and to vineyards around the world (it had, until then, been contained in North America, east of the Rocky Mountains, nourished by wild grape vines whose roots were immune to its effects). By 1872, the Bandol vineyards had been completely destroyed.
Immune hybrids were created; the wine was bad. Finally, the only solution was to graft European wine-grape cuttings onto root stocks developed from American wild grapes and adaptable to European vineyard soils. Bandol vineyards had been planted largely to the Mourvèdre grape, a late ripener and a low producer. For more than a century, wine authorities had been proclaiming the superiority of Mourvèdre over all other grape varieties in the vineyards of Provence and, most particularly, in those of Bandol. And yet, when it came to reconstituting the vineyards, growers chose, for the most part, to plant high production varieties of indifferent quality. Bandol's antique celebrity vanished. By the late 1930s, although the local population had begun to be proud of the wines of Château Milhière and Sanary's artists' colony (Moïse and Renée Kisling, the Aldous Huxleys, and Sybille Bedford, among others) were ravished by them, elsewhere in France Bandol was unknown.
On November 11, 1941, the INAO decreed that, henceforth, the wines of Bandol would be classed AOC: Appellation BANDOL Contrôlée was a great moment for André Roethlisberger, Lucien Peyraud, and a few others. The area of production was limited to appropriate soils and orientations within eight community boundaries: Bandol, Sanary, La Cadière, Le Castellet (including Le Plan du Castellet, where Domaine Tempier is located), Le Beausset, Evenos, Ollioules, and Saint-Cyr. The principal grape varieties for white wine are Ugni blanc and Clairette; for red and rosé wines, Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Cinsault. Production is limited to a maximum of forty hectolitres per hectare (about 520 gallons per acre). A surprisingly timid clause imposes a minimum of 10 percent Mourvèdre among the red varietals. Thanks to Lucien's persistence, it was raised to 20 percent, then to 30 percent. Today, red Bandol wine must contain a minimum of 50 percent Mourvèdre, the vines for red Bandol must be at least eight years old, and those for Bandol rosé or white at least four years old. Red Bandol must be raised in wood for a minimum of eighteen months; Bandol rosé and white may be bottled after six months and need no longer be raised in wood.
In 1942, Lucien acquired, with the benevolent aid of his father-in-law, fifteen acres of remarkable vineyard site within the lieu-dit (place[name), la Migoua, situated in the steep hills of Le Beausset-Vieux, outside Le Beausset. Most of the vines, too old to produce, were torn up and replaced with Mourvèdre. On November 11, the Germans occupied the "Free Zone" of France. The following day, they arrived at the domaine in search of houses to requisition. They were dissuaded by the lack of water and electricity (and, Lulu believes, by the presence of three small children and a pregnant mother). On November 26, the French navy was scuttled in the port of Toulon and the countryside was full of sailors, fleeing for fear of being taken prisoners of war. Lulu arrived home with a half-dozen sailors and, half an hour later, Lucien arrived with as many more. "The house was transformed into a dormitory," recalls Lulu, "but of course we couldn't keep them for long because the Germans were always turning up unexpectedly."
Marion was born May 1, 1943. In October, Lucien bottled his first wine — five thousand bottles of vin rosé, "Domaine Tempier, Appellation BANDOL Contrôlée, 1942." The distinctive and lovely label, with its little woodcut fleurs de lis, a sentimental souvenir of Bandol's sea voyages when France had kings, was designed by Alphonse Tempier. In November, the Allies bombed Toulon. In the eight months to follow, they continued to bomb Toulon, Marseilles, and many of the villages in the Bandol area — Sanary, La Cadière, Saint-Cyr. Free French and American troops invaded Provence August 15, 1944. Paris was liberated August 25, de Gaulle's provisional government of the French Republic was announced on September 6, and picking at Domaine Tempier began on September 18.
On March 3, 1945, Lucien was elected president of the Syndicat des Producteurs des Vins d'Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée Bandol (reelected every three years until his retirement in 1982 — thirty-seven years of battle for the glory of Bandol).
On May 8, the Germans surrendered. The war was over.
Colette was born October 20, 1945. Electricity was installed and, in 1946, an open pickup truck was purchased for wine deliveries. It served also to drive the children to the beach. Lulu remembers being terrified one day, while driving with the children, to see her six-year-old, François, peering at her upside down through the windshield — it had seemed to him a good idea to crawl up on top of the moving truck.
In 1947, the telephone was installed.
Lucien was appointed to the national board of the INAO July 19, 1947. Laurence was born December 20 (there was an eight-year pause before the youngest child, Veronique, was born, January 22, 1956).
In 1949, when Lulu's father was seventy, her parents retired to the villa in Sanary (her brother took over the leather-importing firm). Her mother died in 1962, her father in 1969. Today, her brother has retired to the villa in Sanary and is replaced by his two sons, the seventh generation of Tempier leather importers.
In 1951, Lucien made his first red Bandol, thanks to the purchase of La Tourtine, seventeen acres of narrowly terraced vineyard with direct southern exposure, which slopes abruptly down from the medieval hilltown of Le Castellet (a two-and-a-half-acre parcel of forty-year-old Mourvèdre vines at the bottom of La Tourtine bears its own place-name, Cabassaou; since 1979, La Migoua, La Tourtine, and later, Cabassaou have been bottled separately). The old cellar, built in 1880 by Léonie Rounard Tempier, in which the wine is vinified, has been supplemented by a cellar, built in 1968, in which are lodged row upon row of five-thousand-litre oak tuns for raising the wines, and another cellar, built in 1989, for the storage of bottled wines. In 1980, Le Petit Moulin, fifteen acres of vineyard in La Cadière, was joined to the domaine (arriving from Toulon on the autoroute, a desecration of the Bandol vineyards against the construction of which Lucien fought in vain for years, the sudden vision of twin hill towns rising above the landscape, La Cadière to the left and Le Castellet to the right, is startling — so beautiful that one can almost forgive the autoroute). Today, Domaine Tempier's vines cover seventy-five acres and produce an average of 120,000bottles of red and rosé "Appellation BANDOL Contrôlée" wine per year. Depending on the cuvée, the red wines are composed of from 50 percent to 100 percent Mourvèdre; about 50 percent goes into the rosé. It is for good reason that Lucien is known as "the apostle of Mourvèdre," not only to his colleagues in France, but to those wherever wine is made.
Until their respective marriages, Fleurine and Marion worked in the offices at the domaine. Except for brief periods of military service during the early 1960s, Jean-Marie and François have been working at the domaine since 1960, Jean-Marie assisting Lucien in the cellars, with the help of a cellar master and another worker, while François, with two other men, tends the vines. Jean-Marie made his first wine in 1974 and today divides his time between the cellars and the commercial paperwork. He and his wife, Catherine, live in Le Beausset-Vieux, surrounded by the vines of La Migoua, where they have raised two daughters, Valérie, who has just finished her medical studies, and Florence, who is studying music in Lyons. Catherine, who is impassioned by the complexities of the computer system, shares office duties with the secretary, Annick Vuoso. François and Paule live in an eighteenth-century house in Le Castellet, overlooking the terraces of La Tourtine, where they have raised two sons, Xavier, who is winding up his studies in oenology at the University of Bordeaux, and Jérome, who is studying medicine in Marseilles. Paule travels all over France, placing the wines of Domaine Tempier in restaurant cellars. Laurence, in addition to her activities as language professor, is the resident ambassador for Domaine Tempier in Paris.
"I hope the reader won't imagine that I never do anything but cook," says Lulu. In fact, both she and Lucien, together and separately, have packed more activity into the past fifty years than seems humanly possible. In 1952, with six children between four and fourteen years old, Lulu discovered a passion for sailing. For thirty years, she kept a small sailboat in the port of Bandol: "At first, I took all the children with me, then Véronique was born, the others grew up, and for years, whenever I had a free moment, I sailed with Véronique, then Véronique grew up and I sailed alone. It was a marvellous escape."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Lulu's Provençal Table"
Copyright © 2013 Richard Olney.
Excerpted by permission of Grub Street.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Domains Tempier: The Vineyard and the Peyrauds 9
The Vigneron's Year: Seasons and Menus 19
Lulu's Kitchen: Recipes 40
Apéritif and Amuse-Gueules 49
Provençal Celebrations 70
Meats, Poultry, Game 113
Vegetables, Salads, Grains, Pasta 160
Cheeses and Desserts 201
Wine-Tasting Notes 215