For any families looking for October half term holidays, why not look out for France’s regional gastronomic specialities when you visit a Les Castels site. Although some site facilities may be closed for the season, food never takes a break in France!
The Ardèche – The Ardèche is justifiably proud of its reputation as the largest producer of chestnuts in France. Farming more than 5,500 tons of chestnuts per year, it will come as no surprise that they feature in the department’s cuisine. Of the varieties grown, there are 19 which represent 75% of production – Comballe, Bouche Rouge, Sardonne, etc.
The châtaigne or sweet chestnut is used to make the famous crème de marrons (puréed candied chestnuts) and it is also responsible for marrons glacés (glazed sweet chestnuts).
- the hot and tasty sweet potato soup known as La Cousina. It is a delicious soup based on the chestnuts of Ardèche accompanied by a poultry broth, nutmeg and crème fraiche.
- the crique which is a flat cake made from grated potato, fried in a little butter with salt and pepper
- the bombine, cooked over a wood fire – a hearty dish using root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots.
- Fricassée de dinde à l’ardéchoise marries poultry with chestnuts and is typically served with crème fraiche and thinly sliced mushrooms
- With the Autumn, comes the arrival of the famous cèpes mushrooms, delicious simply cooked with a little parsley and garlic.
- For dessert, look out for Le Gâteau ardéchois – a delicious cake made of chestnut flour which is perfect for those who are gluten intolerant, almond powder, brown sugar, cream of sweet chestnut and some glace chestnuts.
Where to stay: Domaine de Sévenier in the Ardèche – The Domaine de Sévenier is an old winery transformed into a comfortable village of brand new wooden houses, all respectful of the environment. Their on-site restaurant – La Table de Seibel (open until 11/11/16) – is renowned for being great value and serving delicious food, offering an ever-changing menu every night at €25 with a choice of 2 starters, 2 mains and 2 desserts or cheese plate. The chef Virginie Farappa prepares her meals as she does for friends, making full use of local and seasonal products, and focusing on Mediterranean cuisine: fish and scallops with vegetables, wild salmon steak with parsley, or lamb shanks with thyme juice are some of her specialties.
There are lovely views over the Ibie Valley from the terrace by the pool, with its vines and arches of flowers. It is pleasant to relax in the peace and quiet after the hustle and bustle of the local tourist sites such as Vallon Pont d’Arc.
A week in a chalet for four starts at €250 per chalet – 22/10/16 to 29/10/16.
- Le Ker-Y-Pom – a gourmet sugar crust pastry with apples and chocolate which originates from the charming town of Saint-Malo – eaten for breakfast, afternoon tea or dessert
- Le Kig-Ha-Farz – Like Ker-Y-Pom this name is unique. This typical dish is very similar to the national pot-au-feu. This dish literally means ” meat and stuffing ” and is found around the Basse-Bretagne. The ingredients include buckwheat flour, pork knuckles, beef and bacon along with vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, turnips and leeks.
- La Roulade Sévigné – Originating from the city of Vitré near the Haute- Bretagne, this delicacy is made up of farmed guinea fowl which is stuffed with mushrooms, apples and walnuts and is traditionally served with a glass of cider.
Domaines Les Ormes in Bretagne – This Domaine has some of the best facilities of any of the Les Castels sites including some excellent eateries:
Pizzeria chez Madeleine -The Madeleine Pizzeria is named after a lady called Madeleine who lived here when this was a farm. Offering a wide variety of pizzas, salads and pasta, the terrace overlooks the aquatic area where some of the evening entertainment takes place.
L’oie gourmande – (open evenings only until November) serves refined dishes, using fresh local ingredients especially fish, in a calm atmosphere.
Le Club – offers a brasserie type atmosphere and serves drinks, meals and snacks from midday. It dates from the eighteenth century and was originally an ecclesiastical residence.
- Tapenade – A Provençale recipe made from black or green olives, garlic, capers and anchovy. It is served with an apéritif along with bread or croutons.
- Fish soup (la bouillabaisse) – Bouillabaisse comes from Marseille and traditionally includes whiting, turbot, monkfish, gilt-head bream and red mullet mixed with potatoes and served with garlic croutons.
- Pesto soup – Classically made pesto (a mixture of basil, pinenuts and olive oil) is either added to a plate of summer vegetables and pasta or served on the side.
- Courgette flowers – Take a courgette flower, dip it into batter and quick fry it, a colourful and tasty way of adorning dishes.
- Navettes – The Navette provençale is a pastry eaten mainly at the Chandeleur religious festival held on 2nd February. There are three types, classic with orange blossom, Provençal, Marseille and natural without orange blossom.
Domaine de la Bergerie in the Var – Olive oil, tapenade, Provencal herbs, Provencal wines – these are things to try when staying in the Var area. The restaurant on site is actually closed at half term but there are a plethora of eateries in the area.
A week in a mobile home for four people starts at €438 per home – 22/10/16 to 29/10/16.
Specialities of the Gironde – Gironde is a beautiful region where you can find the vibrant city of Bordeaux. Often referred to as a mini Paris, its position between land and sea gives it the advantage of beautiful weather year round. There are numerous specialities:
- La tourte bordelaise aux cèpes: (mushroom pie) – An entrée that comes highly recommended. For all lovers of mushrooms, this pie is made from the best ingredients: puff pastry, butter, crème fraiche, parsley and eggs.
- Le carré d’agneau de pré-salé – the lamb from Pauillac is a renowned speciality and this recipe is made in three stages – cooking the meat, preparing the aubergine caviar followed by a barigoule of artichokes. A flavoursome dish accompanied with numerous vegetables, absolutely delicious
- Canelés – A speciality of Bordeaux, known to everyone – a small pastry baked in a fluted or scalloped mold and soaked with rum. It should be eaten at the end of the meal with coffee.
Le Village Western en Gironde – this site has a Wild West theme so as one might expect, the on site eateries are focussed on burgers, fajitas and Tex-Mex predominantly but in the surrounding area, there are several places in which to enjoy both Bordeaux wines and the specialities of the Gironde
A week in a mobile home for 5 persons starts at €269 per home – 22/10/16 to 29/10/16
Photo credit thanks to: Ardèche Tourism / C.Fougeirol / M. Rissoan / Peter Allan /
Notes for editors – Created in 1959 Les Castels is a collection of 38 four and five star camping sites across France and is the leading provider of glamping sites – characterised by their outstanding locations near areas of cultural interest and outstanding natural beauty. Les Castels offers a wide choice of accommodation with everything from chalets and mobile homes to tree houses, gypsy caravans, houses on stilts and apartments.
The facilities and entertainment varies from site to site, no two are alike, however one thing unifies the group as a whole is the Les Castels environmental approach. As outdoor accommodation specialists they are entirely committed to sustainable development. The accommodation is blended into the landscape as far as is possible, using light, mobile installations such as tents and caravans. The sites are committed to supporting ongoing environmental conservation initiatives in France.
For more information please visit www.les-castels.com