We immersed ourselves in Uzès & its culinary delights
Peta Mathias describes her gastronomic adventures in Uzès in the South of France as akin to a fabulous week-long dinner party the French way.
Based in the beautiful and historic art town of Uzès, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Peta’s culinary tour and cooking school features vineyard, market and farm visits, goat cheese making, regional food and traditional recipes.
One of the tour guests, Louise from Eurovillas describes it this way…
“Imagine a week in Southern France immersing yourself in its culinary delights, its gastronomic traditions and its history of hunting, gathering and wine making, all the while absorbing the wonderful “joie de vivre” that the French exude in their daily lives.
I am delighted and fortunate to have experienced just that, with a week based in the tiny hamlet of Victor Des Oules near the medieval duke’s stronghold of Uzes in the Languedoc.
Peta Mathias and her charming business partner David were our hosts who were totally set on providing us with the best possible experience in this delightful region. Both fluent French speakers, each having lived and worked in France over the years and let me tell you, what they do not know about the region is not worth knowing.
We had a great group of 11 on tour – all interesting, interested and multi-talented. When you join a tour like this you invariably find you are with like-mined people and by the end of the week we had all found a new best friend!
Several of the group travelled together to Paris, where we met up with a few of the others coming from different directions. We had 3 fabulous days being seduced by everything this gracious city has to offer – we trawled the classy boulevards and funky ‘rues’, people-watched from cafes and admired the understated elegance of this “grande dame” of cities. Who could not help but be enchanted by this incredibly beautiful city? I love Paris!
We travelled by the TGV (fast train) to Nimes on the Friday afternoon, to be met by Lysiane, head of the Gard Tourist board. Lysiane arranged our accommodation and had booked us all into a delightful ’boutique’ hotel, very central in the city and directly opposite the magnificent Roman arena. When we threw open our shutters, there was the arena – totally framed in the window and so close, you felt you could reach out and touch it.
Lysiane, a native of Nimes, gave us a insightful and interesting tour of the town on Saturday morning. With its rich and varied history, it is well worth the visit, and this worked in well with our schedule and the start of Peta’s tour.
And so the tour begins!! And Saturday afternoon we were all whisked away from Nimes station up to our delightful “quintessential”(this became an overused word) mas. A “mas” is a farm house - but when I say farm house, this is more a cluster of traditional stone farm houses/buildings based around a centre courtyard, rather than just one building! It has been divided into a number of delightful apartments, each with either two or three bedrooms, and all individually decorated and quite charming.
We had a gorgeous welcome dinner and where we met our hosts Sylvie and Jane-Marc – the owners of the mas, Peta’s kitchen assistant – the outrageous Suzie and, of course, Peta and David.
We knew it was going to be a great week, and indeed it was, exceeding all expectations!!
I am not going to go through each day’s itinerary, but suffice to say, that we explored many culinary delights of this region, learnt how to prepare it, met the local artisans and then – of course – we ate!
We visited a goat farm and learnt how the cheese is made, we travelled to the coast and sampled the local specialties of the sea, we were guests at a vineyard, local restaurants (including a Michelin star) and cafes, we sampled the fresh fare at the local markets and Les Halles in Nimes, we cooked, we ate, we drank and we ate some more. Divine. You wouldn’t want to change a thing!
It was a stunning week of exploration, immersion in the southern French lifestyle and camaraderie. Peta and David are a great team – entertaining, informative, and both always with an eye to ensuring everyone was happy all the time – and they succeeded!”