La Table du Mas

We are delighted to recommend this amazing restaurant in Violes. Benoit Hertzog is known for his creativity and imagination using fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced locally. This menu is particulary interesting because each course comes with a different wine. If you are thinking of staying in this area of Provence, then staying at the Mas de Bouvau where the restaurant is stiuated is a must, and we at Raisin' your glass, can extend your excitement with a Wine Tasting Tour aswell!

The menu:
Alliances entre
La Table du Mas, Le Grand Retour et la Famille Aubert Pour une Dégustation entre mets et vins 

Apéritif : foie gras poêlé aux coings confits Volaille marinée à la fleur d’automne
Vin : Fleur d’Automne 2014, Viognier surmûris
Velouté de courge muscade et crème de cèpes 
Vin : Le Devoy rosé 2014, Grignan-Les-Adhémar (grenache, syrah)
Œuf cocotte aux champignons sauvages
Vin : Le Devoy blanc 2014, Grignan-Les-Adhémar (Grenache blanc, clairette, bourboulenc et viognier)
Moelleux au crabe surmonté de noix de Saint Jacques, Velouté de crustacés et spaghettis de légumes 
Vin : Chardonnay 2014 « méditerranée »
Filet de pigeon au foie gras, sauce au raisiné 
Vin : Plan de Dieu 2012
Emincé de chevreuil rôti, sauce au poivre de Sichuan monté au foie gras et airelles 
Vin : Visan rouge 2013, (grenache, syrah)
Dégustation de Fromages
Vin : Plan de Dieu 2011
Tuile façon mendiant, mascarpone vanille et fruits rouges 
Vin : Fleur d’Automne 2014, Viognier sur mûris

Tarif available at:

Olive Picking

I am not one for waste; so now we have our own olive tree (note the singular!)
I have a handful of olives that I picked from our tree, and this weekend I have washed them and scored their skins. I am starting with a water curing which I plan to do for a week. They are submerged in cold water by use of a plastic bag filled with water to keep them there. I need to change the water daily….The next step will be a brine curing for which I will use sea salt.

Let’s see what happens…

Celebration of our marriage and a birthday

We do love the restaurant Les Troubadors in Visan so we popped in to book for the evening which is fortunate as this beautiful cave was fully booked as all the covers were taken.

A toast with the house cocktail and a choice from the menu…

Foie Gras with fig confiture and toasted brioche dressed with fruit coulis.
Sea Bass in Pistou and olive oil from Nyons
Duck Breast in Rasteau Vin Doux and honey served with courgette carrot and a Duchesse potato.
And for desert we both chose the Crème Brulee

All washed down with some local Visan wine, and then home for coffee.

Les Vendanges

Today our neighbour starts the vendanges of his vielles vignes. Although we have seen grape picking a number of times, it is even more amazing when you can watch from your bedroom window.

We were given some bunches so we could taste them; sweet and intense. When they were finished picking all the grapes were taken away to the local cooperative.

We have had some storms just like a large part of France, so today the sun has come out and it is time…

All the vineyard owners have to decide when the right time is for them. There are tractors and trailers full of grapes on the roads and the beautiful smell of ripe fruit in the warm air.

Poetic that I should be writing this as the village church bells chime!

We were also invited to help with the vendanges in the local village of Tulette by our new friends Michel & Helene. We were advised to wear old clothes and maybe some gloves; we did not think we would need the gloves as we were only helping!

They had all been picking since 6am, we joined them at 3pm. There were four friendly Chinese girls, the four of us, Michel, Helene and another of our neighbours, Thierri. We were given buckets and handed secateurs and advised to leave the smaller bunches. The vines were stripped one by one, and the buckets filled very quickly. The bunches were so big and tightly packed, and the bunches grew in every direction including upwards; you could barely see where to cut as the grapes seemed to take up every space between the vines, they even wrapped themselves around everything nearby.

The buckets were so heavy that I was unable to empty mine into the trailer myself.

As you picked the grapes they would let out their juice, it was becoming very sticky. We were soon addicted to our metier and suddenly we found ourselves at the end of the first set of vines.

The tractor then took the trailer full of freshly picked fruit to a waiting vehicle so that they could be taken back to the domain.

We managed two hours, as our backs were now aching. We had only helped with two rows, so we did feel that maybe we were cheating as we left the others to carry on until 7pm or 8pm.

As one drives away one can see the enormity of the task ahead with 12.5 hectares to complete in approximately 3 weeks!

Dreams do come true.....

We came across this lovely, provencal house in St Roman de Malegarde. It was "love at first sight", says my wife and to have a swimming pool as well, it had to be the one! An offer was soon on the table and once accepted the start of the paperchain buying process began. To say it was an eye opener would be an under statement. It would be 3 months to completion and on the day itself we had a meeting at the notaires with the translator, the vendors, the estate agent, the
four of us and of course the notaire! Very civilised, but too many chefs! The paperwork again had to be signed by us all and initialed on all pages....but in the end it was worth it and we can now say we have our dream.

Home in Provence

That Provencal home we all dream of....

Is it all a dream?

Well, we have been searching for that perfect little slice of Provence for a very longtime and last year we decided to make a more concerted effort in finding one.

Our business demands a good location for a base in order to receive our customers and to be able to keep in touch with our contacts  in the area. 

Oh! and what fun we have had.........

When looking at properties in France on the internet, there is very little information and therefore you need to go into the Immobilier for further details. It is then that you get the full picture of what the properties have to offer. We saw over 6 properties in one day!

We were looking for that WOW! factor, and although most properties had typical Provencal characteristics, some needed a lot of internal work to bring up to date. Some property details have no outside pictures and very little inside and most have a rooms that needs an SOS makeover!

We looked in Aubignan, Caromb, Jonquieres, Mazan, Mornas, Piolenc, Cairanne, Vaison La Romaine, Visan, and many more.

It was only when driving along one of the picturesque routes we have on our tours, that we came across a villa on the side of vineyard. Perfect! we thought and it was within our budget too. We arranged a viewing and fell in love with the views and the possibilities.

    We decided to have a think on it before putting in an offer as we were returning to the UK at the weekend. It was only after talking to the agents during the following months, that we decided to make another trip down at the end of January to get another viewing. We thought, as in England, we would go in low and renegotiate. Unfortunately, the offer was rejected and was told that the owner wouldn't budge a centime under the asking price, even though it needed up dating and clearing of rats in the basement!

So, we came home empty handed, and even when the Euro rate was more favorable, we increased our offer and was instantly rejected again! Oh well, we decided to move on and look at some more through the agents website and  we made another trip down to Vaucluse to take advantage the slow housing market and excellent Euro rate.

Whistle stop tour...

We just had time for a tasting at Cave Beaumont. After being well received we started with their Ventoux Rouge 'Tradition' and ' Selection d'Ambrosis' . Followed by their 'Reserve du Vigneron' and 'Prestige de Nos Vignes'. They are in the midst of preparing a new veranda for 2015, we look forward to seeing this in use 😄.

Vaucluse in February

We're here in beautiful wine country again, this time for a spot of house hunting and a little wine tasting (well that's the idea 
The week started off well with bright sunny weather with a little hint of a cool mistral and we visited one of many houses we had chosen to see, which is perched on a hillside overlooking vineyards and the Rhone Valley, not bad for a start!
By the end of the morning we had covered all the points we needed to note about the property with the help from our good friend Jack. The afternoon was put aside for discussions with a glass or two of rose!
Our next property on the Monday was to be a delightful holiday style home which appears to have been 'added' to over the years but of which also had fantastic views across the vineyards and the valley. It even had an infinity pool! Well more of a plunge pool, but certainly had the just imagine in the heat of the sun with a glass in hand, oh la la! Roll on summer! The house itself was 
very individual and quirky with ornate decor and a large fireplace.
We left this one with options in mind and visited another house which was in the village of Visan. Although it was quite new, it did lack Provençal style and was more suburban than we liked.

By now, the weather was getting colder, but still bright. It was only to last 24hrs as Tuesday became more wintery in the afternoon and snow began to fall! It was the first time for us all to see snow here in the Rhone and how beautiful it looks too!

Our last property to see was in Valreas, and we arrived before the snow. A very different house, with a central round house, like a castle, with rooms attached either side. The old couple who lived there must have seen their grandchildren grow up there as many pictures were on display. Again it was very ornate with a large fireplace and wooden mezzanine above the lounge. The rooms seem to go on for ever around the turret and below to the cave! The 
decoration was very old and required modernisation but there was plenty of room and a large garden.
( photos will be added later )

The France Show

Our last day of the show proved to be as busy as Saturday, with lots of interest again. We discovered new business contacts with other traders who operate in the same area of Provence. We were lucky to be in good company around our stand with Arnaud's Language Kitchen, Siffler Publications and Parfum de France. Everyone had a great sense of humour and we hope to all keep in touch.

We were approached by a Chateauneuf du Pape fan who wanted to buy one of our posters.....well 'wine not!' It was the least we could do.

After a mad disassembling of our stand at the close of play, we made an early dash for the train. We had to lift all our gear up and down the platform walk over bridge and onto a crowded train to Clapham Junction where we just missed a fast one to Bournemouth! We boarded the next one half an hour later , and spent most of the journey wondering which end was going to Bournemouth and which end was splitting to Portsmouth as there was no carriage numbers, just information saying the first five were to Bournemouth! This wasn't our booked train and we were to told at Basingstoke by the conductor that we had a useless ticket and that we should be fined £90! Luckily he let it go this time.....maybe we'll take the car next year.

We would like to say thanks to everyone who paid a visit to our stand and we hope that we will see you in 2015

The France Show

Saturday 24th

Our legs are hurting now as we finish another busy day at the show. Plenty of interest again with some lovely comments from the visitors; especially from a young couple, recently married in France, who wish to broaden their horizons in the Rhone Valley. We hope that we will see a good response for later in the coming year. Our fellow exhibitors were all in good spirits today and shared a glass of Domaine de la Damase red with us at the end of business. We also had a visit from Charlottes' friends who gave us encouragement and a slice of some delicious brownies!!! Well we did give them a drink!

All in all another interesting day and tomorrow should prove to be busy too. We are networking with other trades here and our business is getting more exposure and it's nice to think that people are interested in what we have to offer. 2015 in looking good and maybe that bottle of Gigondas will be opened tomorrow!........

The France Show

The France Show, Olympia 2015

We have finally arrived at the Olympia, London after a long but smooth journey by train with all our promotional material and information for the show. (Including a bistro table and two chairs courtesy of Clare!) Our hotel...well to say "to swing a cat!" is an under statement! Although modern, clean and having a terrific shower, comfortable bed....our stand at the show has more leg room!

After finding our way to the right entrance and avoiding the 'Toy Fair'! We were able to set up in our small but functional stand. At first we pasted up all our posters.....only to find we had lost our stand! So we removed some and decided on a more minimalist approach. Our table sat neatly at the back with our brochure stand up front with a nice display of lavender, the doors opened at 10am and with leaflets in one hand and a glass of red in the other we were ready!!!
We received lots of interest throughout the day with several customers looking to making future bookings. After many attempts to log on to the Internet we are now ready to show our website and possibly take payments this weekend. We brought along a bottle of Pierre Amadieu Gigondas 2006 as a prop for our table and it will be opened on celebration of a successful show on Sunday, so if you fancy a glass, then you need to get here quick!
We are situated in good company with like minded people. Apparently, Saturday will be busier.......

Thank you to all of our friends and colleagues who helped us to prepare for this exhibition.