The cuisine is very special, a blend of the best culinary techniques and expertise ‘from the world kitchen’, as Joan puts it. The team – Joan, and her son Kasper – are proud to dedicate themselves to producing good things.
The kitchen team enjoys working with the best of produce from an area which is extraordinarily rich in its natural harvest. Marrons (a kind of super-chestnut) from Olargues have earned their own AOC (French state certificate of origin and quality), and the village celebrates the autumn harvest with La Fête du Marron in early November. Local cherries and apricots are among the finest in southern Europe.
The virgin olive oil, used extensively in the kitchen, comes from the olive trees of a local producer whose output is so small and of such high quality that Joan is reluctant to identify him. The succulent beef comes from river pastures further up the valley.
Honey comes from chestnut woods and herb- and heather-rich moorland untainted by pollution. The game in season and fish also find their place in the local cornucopia of good things. Local people sometimes bring their freshly harvested walnuts and cèpes straight to the kitchen door. Local wines, of course, deserve a page to themselves.
Everything is very fresh. The likelihood is that the ingredients for the superb salads on your plate grew until an hour ago in the vegetable plots a little way along the river bank, or that Joan bought your goat’s milk cheese that morning in the […] market, or that the students from hotel and restaurant schools in Europe are hand-picking the terrace herbs to garnish your plate while you watch.
Presentation is superb, so artistically conceived that sometimes you feel disinclined to disturb the beautiful arrangement on your plate. More basic instincts generally prevail, though.