For his first 'foreign voyage' cookery series the celebrated English chef, Rick Stein visited southwest France. The eight-part series, entitled "A French Odyssey", followed Rick on a journey down Le Canal des deux Mers from Bordeaux to the Mediterranean and showed him sampling local food and wine and collecting recipes on the way. The series was so popular when it was first shown by the BBC in the UK that it has been repeated every year since; in fact "A French Odyssey" is Rick Stein's most popular culinary series.
The accompanying book, published by the BBC and full of recipes from the series, is available on Rick Stein's site or from all good booksellers. A DVD set of the series is also available.
When Rick and the production crew arrived in the area, at Le Mas d'Agenais (just a few kilometres away from chez nous) Pete, your photography host, was invited aboard Rick's 100 year old barge La Rosa to discuss assisting with the filming.
With his inside knowledge Pete was able to introduce Rick and David Pritchard, the series' producer, to some of the gastronomic secrets of our locality. Amongst these were Vétou Pompele who was then the chef at our local café/bar "La Halte Nautique", Kate Hill, a locally based American cookery writer, and the local vineyards of Cocumont and Buzet.
As a result, Kate can be seen in episodes 2 & 4 of the series whilst Vétou, "La Halte Nautique", the vineyards (and Pete!) can be seen in episode 3.
Writing about the series in the Times newspaper, Rick said of his visit: "There are restaurants beside the canal, too - not as many as you’d think, but one in particular stands out, in Lagruere, with a lively cook called Vétou. She cooked a beautiful magret de canard for us, with a really good red-wine sauce made from a Côtes du Marmandais, from the Cave Co-opérative de Cocument"
Vétou's recipe for 'magret de canard in red wine sauce' can be found on page 120 of Rick's book. Vétou cooks this very same meal, in her own home, especially for guests of Painting Photography France ! *
And the reason Rick Stein chose to visit our area in the first place? Well, why not come and join us at Painting Photography France, and find out for yourself? If you like real French country food and wine as well as stunning scenery, it's an absolute must!
*Vétou's availability is subject to her domestic and personal circumstances. Wine not included.