High up in the mountains of the Vaucluse region of France there is this little hill top town, Brantes, where a small company – Les Aventurieres du Gout – lead you between the buildings, over cobbled narrow roads and dusty paths hunting out everything the season can provide in terms of wild, edible plants. While the heat may have been a bit much and the sun far too high in the sky for the most effective photos, the tour was actually great fun. Herbs and roots, leaves, flower heads and all sorts were picked and placed in a basket for our small group to cook with later.
Photo Gallery: Les Aventurieres du Gout The Village and The Foraging
Seemingly every turn revealed another plant with a use. Either it was edible, a cure for an ailment or to induce childbirth (or termination) or, in the case of the big bunch of pink flowers, can be used as a soap. By one of the village wells we rubbed a few of the flowers between our palms. From such an unexpected source a foamy, cleansing lotion was ‘created’.
What was rather quaint is that the cooking portion of the session was held in the owner, Odile Daniels, own kitchen and like every other well used kitchen it was full of the clutter and haphazardness of daily cooking life.
I chopped tomatoes and shredded a bunch of green leaves for a bruschetta dish. Other in our group stuffed apricots or sliced courgettes. I mixed up the ingredients for a tapenade while across the table little orange petals were removed from the flower heads to act as a garnish. Little pancake things were shaped and fried. A well seasoned pan was shaken to halt the ton of seeds from sticking and burning. I crowned the stuffed apricots (stuffed if memory serves with two different local cheeses, one soft, the other hard) with delicate little flower heads. It all seemed quite chaotic but Odile handled it all with aplomb; despite a certain photographer walking off to the natural light at the window with half the finished dishes under his arm.
All the dishes are vegetarian and they looked, topped with the multi-coloured flowers, vibrantly wonderful. I did think looking at the final mix on each persons plate, you get one of each of the canapés to eat in a certain order, that there didn’t seem to be much food. Now I admit I did have seconds of the bread and salad but I was surprisingly full after. And not that bloated, bursting, ‘need a doze full’ either (despite an over indulgence on the wine). That was down to, as it was explained, the mix of natural ingredients providing a most perfect balance.
Photo Gallery: Les Aventurieres du Gout The Cooking and The Eating
Depending on the season the food collected and the dishes cooked will vary; witness the use of Elderflower during Cooksisters visit!
Les Aventurieres du Gout
Le Village 84390 Brantes
Les Aventurières du Goût run wild food courses run every Thursday at 16h00 and every Saturday at 10h00 from April to November. Classes (the walk, cookery class and lunch – about 3 hours in total) cost €35 a head. Group size is 5-10 people and German or English speakers can be catered for.