May the taste bud celebrations begin: nougat from Montélimar, olives and olive oil from Nyons, truffles, pintadeau, picodon, la raviole, la Pogne de Romans, le Suisse from Valence, blue cheese from Vercors-Sassenage, raviole du Dauphiné, petit épeautre de Haute Provence, noix du Royans – to be consumed with no regard to moderation.
Olives and olive oil
The Nyons olive (AOC-AOP), of the Tanche variety is the only olive to benefit from ‘origine contrôlée’ status. The olive is harvested ripe and hence black between November and January. The largest calibre black olives are destined to be eaten whilst the smallest are used in oil production.
Nyons olive oil (AOC – AOP), the first in France to achieve AOC status, is a ‘pure fruit juice’ which is a guarantee of its quality.
Tapenade, based on Nyons black olives is also called ‘provençal caviar’. It’s an olive paste aromatised with herbs and capers. The paste is used as much on toast for aperitifs as a mustard substitute.
‘L’Oliveraie de Nyons’ (olive groves) is listed as a ‘Site remarquable du goût’ (taste award).
Founded in 1923, Vignolis, the Nyons olive and wine cooperative today includes around 1100 growers. With 600 hectares under olive trees and producing olive oil and the Nyons AOP black olive, it is the leader in the « Olive de Nyons » appellation. At the heart of Nyons, next to the cooperative, the ‘Espace Vignolis‘ dedicates its 1500m2 to sales, tourism and culture: an unmissable visit opportunity to find out all about this fabulous ‘black pearl’.
Awaiting your discovery, the new «empreinte d’exception» logo of Nyonsolive – for products associated with a long history of skills and an ingedient with a unique taste, the Nyons black olive.
Black truffle of the drome
Harvested in the Tricastin, the Val de Drôme or the Coteaux de Romans, the black truffle of the Drôme, the Mélanosporum, is noteworthy for its strong and wild aroma; this is the black diamond. A precious ingredient, it transforms all food recipes.
The Tricastin, 1st truffle growing area in France, covers 68 communes in the Drôme and 15 communes in the Papal Enclave. The Tricastin black truffle, the Mélanosporum, represents 60% of national production. This prestigious « black diamond », formerly much eaten, has today become rare and and enjoys the status of a refined delicacy to be found at the best tables or tasted at source on the truffle farm. Its very specific characteristics have rendered it a unique and mysterious product: an underground existence, a black unevenly spread colour, a woody aroma and a powerful taste.
This fungus seems to have found, in the Drôme, the right conditions to come to life and grow naturally, requiring: a tree, preferably an oak tree, called the ‘truffle oak’, a sufficiently calcareous soil and, finally, a Mediterranean type climate.
The harvest or « cavage » of the black truffle takes place over the winter. The harvest is carried out using a specially trained truffle dog. The dog indicates the presence of truffles by scratching the soil. With a ‘fouji’ (a hook-shaped tool) the truffle grower lifts the truffle.
Please note : Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux has obtained the ‘Site remarquable du goût’ distinction for the ‘Truffières du Tricastin’ (truffle grounds).
Nougat de Montelimar
With the appearance of paid holidays and major holiday departures episodes, there was a time at Montélimar, where nougat was sold by street sellers in the traffic jams of the N7 highway. Today, with the presence of the autoroute du Sud, this tradition has died. Yet craftsmen and craftswomen still use a cauldron and up to 13 hours of cooking time to make the « Nougat de Montélimar » appellation product, cleverly dosed with 28 % almonds, 2 % pistache and 25 % lavender honey.
The Pogne de Romans : an egg brioche perfumed with orange flower and rum. Its origin lies in the Middle Ages: at major feast days people gathered a few handfulls of wheat flour which,once kneaded, produced a biscuit called a « Poignie ». One day a baker kneaded the flour with eggs, butter, sugar and aromatised the dough. On that day the Pogne de Romans was born.
Le Suisse : its history it worth recounting. At the end of the 18th century, general Bonaparte exiled Pope Pius VI to Valence where the latter died. In the course of the procession of the papal Swiss guard, a baker’s wife had the idea of making a biscuit in the form of the dress uniform of the soldiers. Since then, you can find this little figure made with short crust pastry and orange peel, buttoned up with Corinth raisins, behind every window.
Official provider to the greatest chefs and the best pâtissiers, the Chocolaterie Valrhona, at Tain- l’Hermitage is also the first to have produced the ‘Grands Crus de chocolat’ in submitting its products to the same sort of scrutiny as the wines of the same distinction. A not to be missed gourmet and sensorial experience: a visit to the ‘Cité du chocolat’.
« Façon Chocolat » at Crest: sculpture, ongoing production for the public to watch, Aztec cave where the history of chocolate is told by the ‘chocolatier’ himself. Only fair trade and organic products are used.