Discover Southern Europe, Issue 2, March 2019

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Contents



M ARCH 2 0 1 9


COVER FEATURE 48 Omar Allibhoy – ‘the Antonio Banderas of cooking’ He has worked with the likes of Ferran Adria, Jason Atherton and Gordon Ramsay and as well as founding the Tapas Revolution restaurant chain, he is the author of the best-selling cookbook of the same name. Discover Southern Europe spoke to the chef about growing up in Madrid, why working with Jason Atherton was ‘the most demanding job’ he ever had and why it has been an emotional journey.



12 France’s Most Ravishing Museums France has some of the most spectacular and idiosyncratic museums anywhere in Europe. From world-class art collections to breathtaking chateaux and museums

of pop music, lavender and science, we take you on a tour of some of the most fascinating museums in the country. 36 A Taste of Italy You can not really talk about Italy without talking about food. Whether it is in Milan, Venice or the Tuscan hills, Italian cooking is at the heart of the country and, in this special feature, we discover where to eat the best bistecca, the most captivating carbonara and much much more.


Southern European Style


Design Finds


Films & Books


Diary Dates

Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  3

Discover Southern Europe  |  Editor’s note

Dear Reader, Welcome to the second issue of Discover Southern Europe – the new magazine taking you to the sunny sands, striking cities and heady hilltops of Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. Discover Southern Europe Issue 2, March 2019 Published 03.2019 ISSN 2632-3397 Published by Scan Group Print Uniprint Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Eddi Fiegel Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Owen Evans Martin Pilkington Kate Harvey Heidi Fuller Love

Rudolf Abraham Hannah Jane Thompson Lisa Gerard Sharp Katie Turner Vicki Morrison Paige Apetino Kiki Deere James Rampton Sophie Elkan Ingrid Opstad Anna Bonet Lucy Pearson Hannah Krolle Cover Photo Ekaterina Latcenko, Shutterstock Sales & Key Account Managers Katia Sfihi Rafael Casaleiz Tiziana Balestri Mathilde Rineau Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 207 407 1937

As March ushers in the early hints of spring, the warm embrace of Southern Europe beckons with a welcome antidote to Northern Europe’s greyish climes. In this, our second issue of Discover Southern Europe, we take a look at some of the cultural and foodie highlights from across the channel and beyond. We’ll be discovering the best Southern European fashion and design and, in our new Film & Books pages, finding out about the best new releases either from those countries or set there. In our special feature on France’s most ravishing museums we’ll be heading off the beaten track to find magnificent manor houses, stunning chateaux and state of the art museums: from the far flung from Provence and the Loire Valley to Bordeaux and Normandy. In neighbouring Spain, we follow the foodie trail, dining out under Gaudi’s undulating ceilings, discovering fine dining on the coast at Cadaqués and exploring the idiosyncratic but excellent wines of Catalonia’s Priorat region, amongst others. We also talk to star Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy – founder of Tapas Revolution and bestselling cookbook author about how he learnt his craft and working with Ferran Adrià and Jason Atherton. In Italy, meanwhile, we take another foodie tour, this time bringing you a taste of Italy’s exceptional restaurants: from the A-listers’ favourite along Venice’s canals to traditional trattorias, and from the grandiose streets of Rome and Milan to the romance of the Tuscan countryside I myself have always loved Italy, lived in Barcelona for several years and grew up visiting France regularly, so have been smitten by all things Southern European for some time. I hope you will be too.

© All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.

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Eddi Fiegel Editor

Château du Champ de Bataille A 17th century furnished masterpiece of architecture

8 Allée du Château 27110 Sainte Opportune du Bosc T. : +33 (0)2 32 34 84 34 chateauduchampdebataille restaurantlecafegarcia chateau_du_champ_de_bataille

Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style

Southern European Style It is an open secret that trends never really come and go. Instead, they ebb and flow, and each season, certain tropes resurface on our fashion radar. In Spring, pastels and sorbet colours return to the mainstage as nature dictates the urge to lighten up after the dark months of winter. TEXT: SOPHIE ELKAN  I  PRESS PHOTOS

If you have not yet encountered Maison Chateau Rouge, I urge you to search them out online at your earliest available opportunity. A Parisian lifestyle brand, inspired by African heritage, with a fashion collection comprising a clash of pattern, culture, colour and style. They have statement pieces aplenty, like this athleisurewear jacket but also plenty more subtle prints to add balance and style to your existing wardrobe. €160.68

I have fallen hard for this men’s runway look, featuring the nostalgicallynamed Pink Panther pullover, styled here with co-ord trousers and bag. Innovating in knit-sportswear since the 1970s, Italian heritage brand Iceberg has surfed trends and remained consistently covetable. There is a genius to creating a powerful look using pastels for menswear and the pops of brightness enhance the strength of colour. €502.69 Photo: Imaxtree

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These stone-toned boots from the omnipotent and omnipresent Spanish brand, Zara, are a perfect segue from winter to spring. Not quite as fashion-forward as the sock-boot-hybrid, these are a lifeline out of the ubiquitous dark colours of winter and the trainer/ brogue/Chelsea boot which are too often the only real choice for men reluctant to embrace the more avantgarde footwear options. €68.85

Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style Lack of vibrancy can cause a pastel print to fall flat, but when done well, it can be a versatile asset. This example ticks every box. The pattern is subtle, but the choice of fabric and colour ensures an impact. Blush pink is not leaving the runways anytime soon, mainly because it pairs so well with anything and everything. San Sebastian-based label, indi & cold, have used it for wearable cropped pants They work equally well with a roll neck and high boots, or T-shirts and sliders. By indi & cold, blouse, €95.60 and pants, €125.10

Eric Bompard opened his first boutique in Paris back in the 1980s and is still generally regarded as the ‘dernier cri’ in stylish cashmere. This silk/cashmere blend would be perfect to drape over the shoulders or be worn as a lightweight layer to protect against any lingering chill in the air. €218.02 Photo: sophieelkan

New kid on the block, Palazzo VII from Portugal, has the official status of ‘one to watch’. Primarily focusing on footwear, their latest collection, The After Party, celebrates all that is decadent and desirable and includes a couple of dresses to add to their emerging collection. Pictured here are the Duchessa Rosa velvet block-heeled sandals with jewelled details: fullon opulent ornamentation! €123.14

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design Finds

Design Finds Each year Pantone chooses a colour of the year, and you might have seen that the bright and fun Living Coral is the pick of 2019. Described by Pantone as ‘buoyant, vibrant and effervescent’, it is guaranteed to bring a warm glow to your décor. Here is our pick of hot home designs that put this striking shade to excellent use. Perfect for adding a classy coral note and bringing your interiors bang up to date.


The simple yet beautiful Kyoto console is ideal for adding a dash of coral into small spaces – a useful storage solution that looks great too. Inspired by partitions found in Ryokan, traditional Japanese inns, the ‘Kyoto’ console was designed by Isabelle Gilles and Yann Poncelet for French design studio Colonel, known for their use of light wood, bright colours, patterns and craft techniques. Colonel, ‘Kyoto’ console, €1,890

Go all out and make a statement with this coral rug from the Canevas Geo collection by Spanish Gan, an asymmetrical piece with an aesthetic based on overlapping colour patterns. Each rug is hand-embroidered with stitches in multiple directions on a base of light pink felt, using orange, dark coral and white wool in a gorgeous design that conjures up cultivated fields seen from the air. Gan, ‘Canevas Geo’ rug, €2,239

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design Finds

The new Dipping Light is much more than an ordinary light. When the lamp is turned on, the different shades of paint sift the light creating a magical and ambient effect. When turned off, its coloured glass sphere is an object charged with beauty, perfect on a shelf, nightstand or table. Designed by Jordi Canudas for Marset, it will create a vividly coloured atmosphere wherever you decide to put it. Marset, ‘Dipping Light’, €260

With its unusual and characteristic shape, the Raviolo armchair created by Ron Arad for Italian brand Magis is both sculptural and functional at the same time. Made from polyethylene, it is weather-resistant and easy to clean, making it ideal for both outdoor and indoor use as well as for people with children. The Raviolo armchair will liven up any room and be a fun and eye-catching addition to your home. Magis, ‘Raviolo’ armchair, €378

A great way to add a pop of coral to any room in your home is by decorating it with striking vases and accessories. Le Morandine is a collection of hand-painted ceramic jars, jugs and vases where the shapes conjure up the still lives of the great artist Giorgio Morandi. All of Sonia Pedrazzini’s vases are handmade in Italy only upon order. Sonia Pedrazzini ‘Le Morandine’ vases, composition of five pieces, €660

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Films

Films & Books Our monthly pick of the best films and books either from Southern Europe or featuring Southern European locations.



n otherwise sleepy Spanish village does not know what hits it when secrets, lies and family politics all come to a head in the ‘whodunnit’ thriller Everybody Knows, released in UK cinemas this month. Both the storyline and the Spanish countryside locations in Torrelaguna just outside Madrid make for mesmerising viewing. This is cinematic storytelling at its best. Some serious foreign-film heavyweights have come together for Everybody Knows, or Todos Lo Saben, as it is titled in Spain. Director Asghar Farhadi and the two lead actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have each earned themselves an Oscar over the course of their careers, and it comes through in the quality of the film. The story begins with Laura (Cruz) returning to her hometown, a rural wine-region suburb of Madrid, where her sister is getting mar-

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in Everybody Knows.


ried. While her husband Alejandro (Ricardo Darín) has to stay behind in Argentina for work reasons, she arrives with her teenage daughter Irene (Carla Campra) and toddler son in tow. It is all smiles and ‘abrazos’ (hugs) until Irene is kidnapped in the middle of the wedding party. All of a sudden, fault lines are exposed, everyone starts suspecting each other, and the relationship between Laura and her ex-lover Paco (Bardem) becomes increasingly significant to the disappearance. The gradual impact on Penelope Cruz’s character as a mother with a missing child is extremely moving and both she and Bardem turn in star performances. Just as you can almost feel the dusty village air in Everybody Knows, the grace of Paris is tangible in the The White Crow, a new biopic of Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev di-

The White Crow.

rected by (and starring) Ralph Fiennes. A far more gentle film, this one sits firmly in the arthouse genre and is also beautifully elegant. Spotlighting Nureyev’s life-changing visit to the French capital with his dance company, the Kirov Ballet, Sergei Polunin plays the ‘white crow’, so-called for being somewhat special. While his character is brooding and selfish, his dancing is obviously extraordinary. Flashbacks to a brutal childhood in the Soviet Union are delivered rather starkly in near monochrome, and episodes which see him being trained by Alexander Pushkin (Fiennes) are quietly tense. But it is the Parisian scenes that make this film so watchable. Nureyev befriends local dancers who introduce him to a more cosmopolitan way of life, much to the annoyance of the onlooking KGB. But with an east-meets-west, communismmeets-capitalism narrative, comes friction and complexity. In fact, this is a deeply ambiguous film, with an enigmatic protagonist at its centre.

Everybody Knows is in cinemas 8 March The White Crow is in cinemas 22 March

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Books




orn in Seyne-sur-Mer, a small harbour city in the South of France, and raised on a literary diet of John Steinbeck, Albert Cohen and Louis-Ferdinand Celine, it is little wonder that Marcus Malte is one of France’s most acclaimed authors. Indeed, until now, Malte’s best-known novel was Garden of Love, which won the French writer a dozen literary prizes,

Caroline Montague

His most recent release is The Boy – or Le Garçon in his native language – which is the first of Marcus Malte’s novels to be translated into English, and it too was awarded prestigious French literary prize, the Prix Femina, in 2016 by an exclusively female judging panel. Spanning the first four decades of the 20th century, The Boy is a poetic tale, rich in prose and set against the backdrop of a changing French landscape. The boy was brought up in the wild forests of southern France by his mother, and has little grasp of what the outside world is really like. He is both nameless and voiceless, and so, when her death looms large, this naïve and near feral child pushes beyond the boundaries

Beautifully poetic, wonderfully poignant and a spellbinding meditation on humanity, what the boy lacks in voice, he makes up for in charm and genuine warmth, and his character will no doubt touch all those who read this profound tale of romance, war and discovery. of life as he knows it as he sets out to embrace humanity after a childhood spent in the barren French countryside. The story starts in a small hamlet in southern France from which the boy is exiled by the head of a farm, and he goes on to meet a rich cast of characters – from a Romanian wrestler, to a former apple farmer and his daughter – and moves from the fairs and markets and villages of southern France, to the streets of Paris where he embarks upon a lusty love affair, to a small city in north-eastern France. Marcus Malte

Another story set in the early 20th century, is Caroline Montague’s An Italian Affair – a family saga of war, betrayal and bravery in the hills of Tuscany during World War II. After the sudden death of her husband, Allessandre Durante discovers that she is heir to the family’s Italian villa – Villa Durante, deep in the Tuscan hills. While her son is drafted to the RAF, she moves there with her daughter Diana to start afresh in the Tuscan countryside. As the Second World War reaches the shores of Italy, Villa Durante becomes a necessary shelter for all those in need. Villa Durante takes centre stage in this pacey, plot-driven read, with a backdrop deeply evocative of the Italy of the time.

Lucy Pearson is an award-winning book blogger and freelance writer. Her blog, The Literary Edit, is an online space for readers, writers and literary travellers.

Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  11


The Most Ravishing Museums in France The French have a way of doing things with style and panache. Not least when it comes to museums. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL

Photo: Tate Modern

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums


any French museums not only house world-class collections but have also become almost as iconic for their architecture. Paris’ Louvre is a classic example with I M Pei's controversial glass pyramid, as is Richard Rogers’ and Renzo Piano’s groundbreaking building turned inside out, tubes- and pipes-clad Pompidou Centre just a few miles down the road in the French capital. Less futuristic, but no less impressive, is the stunning Musée d’Orsay – a lesson if ever there was one in how a ‘fin de siècle’ railway station can be turned into a spectacular museum with its exceptional collection of Impressionist works beautifully displayed under the steel and glass roof. You could spend a month in Paris alone, visiting museums, but the French museum story is not just about Paris. The Côte d’Azur, so beloved of artists from Picasso and Matisse to Bonnard and Chagall, is home to wonderful collections such as the Fondation Maeght in the hillside village of St Paul de Vence. The Fondation is home to an exceptional collection of works by the likes of Chagall, Braque, Giacometti, Matisse, Miró and Barbara Hepworth, showcased amidst a building whose

glass walls look out to the neighbouring Provencal countryside Nearby Nice is also home to the Musée Matisse and Musée Chagall, whilst the Musée Picasso in Antibes showcases the maestro’s time on France’s Riviera providing an insight into his later years and ceramics and sculptures. In Lille, meanwhile, in a former Art Deco swimming pool once dubbed ‘France’s most beautiful swimming pool’, La Piscine de Roubaix has recently reopened as what is undoubtedly one of France’s most striking museums. The huge collection includes paintings by Vuillard, Dufy, Bonnard as well as sculptures by Rodin, Picasso and Camille Claudel displayed around water in what was the original pool. But these are just some of France’s better-known museums. Over the following pages, we take a look at some of the most fascinating museums you might never have heard of, often in corners where you would least expect them. If you thought museums were just about art, you are in for a surprise too. Yes, there is

Le grand bassin. Photo: La Piscine de Roubaix

Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  13

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

La Pyramide du Louvre Photo: © 2012 Musée du Louvre Olivier Ouadah

the wonderfully atmospheric Renoir Museum in what was originally the artist’s home amidst olive groves in the Provencal countryside of Cagnes sur Mer and the magnificent Musée des Beaux Arts in Bordeaux with its extraordinary collection including works by Caravaggio and Matisse. Likewise, there is world-class Italian art at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Chambéry and spectacular tapestries at the Musee de la Tapisserie at Aubusson.

However, there is also nature and aromatics in the Musée de la Lavande (Lavender museum) in Provence, science at the Musée Louis Pasteur, unexpected treasures at the Moulin à Papier Richard Bas paper mill – creators of extraordinary, artisan paper and a favourite of Picasso and Dali. Elsewhere, you can find out about the history of ceramics at the Musée de la Faience in Provence, see historic rock carvings at Photo: Manuel Braun

the Musée des Merveilles in the Maritime Alps, learn about the history of one of eastern France’s most famous delicacies – ‘volaille (chicken) de Bresse’ at the Musée de la Bresse, whilst in Figeac, in southwest France, you can learn about the history of the written word. At the Musée et site Gallo Roman in Vienne, you will also gain an insight into the Roman era and see how the Romans lived in France. Some of France’s most fascinating collections also lie within the country’s extraordinary chateaux. At the Château-Musee de Gien, Château de Sully and Château de Chamerolles, as well as the Baroque Chateau Champ de la Bataille, you will find exceptional art collections and interiors as well as landscaped gardens. Bringing history into the 20th century and beyond, there is a thought-provoking exploration of the First World War in the Musée de la Grande Guerre (Museum of the Great War). Meanwhile, MuPop, in the historic town of Montluçon near Clermont Ferrand, takes visitors on a fun and fascinating look at the history of popular music and includes a remarkable collection of musical instruments and memorabilia.

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Châteaux & musées du Loiret



CHÂTEAU DE SULLY-SUR-LOIRE Chemin de la salle verte • 45 600 Sully-sur-Loire

02 38 36 36 86

CHÂTEAU-MUSÉE DE GIEN Place du château • 45500 Gien

02 38 67 69 69

CHÂTEAU DE CHAMEROLLES 45170 Chilleurs-aux-Bois

02 38 39 84 66


02 38 94 84 19

territoire d’innovation 02 38 25 45 45

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

Picture perfect The great impressionist painter Renoir spent the last years of his life in Cagnessur-Mer. To mark the centenary of his death, the Renoir museum in his home in the Côte d’Azur town is hosting a major exhibition of his work from that period. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: VILLE DE CAGNES-SUR-MER


enoir moved to Cagnes in 1903, and in 1907 bought the land on which he built himself an elegant home that is now The Musée Renoir. The building sits on the beautiful hillside of Les Collettes

in the heart of the Provence countryside, surrounded by Mediterranean gardens and offering a wonderful insight into the artist’s time living there, from 1908 until his death in 1919. It is a vibrant, natural space filled with more than 150 ancient, gnarled olive trees which Renoir adored and went to great lengths to preserve. “Renoir came to Cagnes partly for the beautiful bright sunlight, for his work,” explains Emeric Pinkowicz, who heads the town’s museums, “but also for the climate, for his health. He suffered terribly with arthritis, and the dry, sunny weather here in the south of France helped him cope with that.”

Renoir’s portraits and painting at Les Collettes Renoir’s time at Les Collettes was an important one in terms of his work there. In the later years of his career, Renoir had nothing 16  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

left to prove as he had already made his fortune through commissions painting Paris’ rich and famous. So, by this time, he was at last able to choose what he wanted to paint himself. “His subjects were chosen because he had some emotional attachment to them, maybe friends visiting, or a woman, so they are more intimate, more spontaneous than his earlier work,” says Pinkowicz. A new exhibition running at the museum from 15 June to 22 September will focus on the portraits he painted during this period. This was an especially creative period in Renoir’s life, and in addition to the permanent collection, the exhibition also includes the magnificent portrait Gabrielle à la Rose – on special loan from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. There will also be photographs and archive material. During Renoir’s later years, he also spent time focusing on sculpture. “Sculpture became increasingly important to Renoir at the end of his life and career,” says Pinkowicz, “a field in which Renoir, severely hampered by his rheumatoid arthritis, was assisted by the young Catalan artist Richard Guino, which proved a very successful collaboration. One of the best

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

Top, from left to right: Dining Room, Musée Renoir, Cagnes-sur-Mer. Olive Trees at the Musée Renoir.© Nicolas Chaxel /Ville de Cagnes-sur-Mer. Maison, southern façade. Photos: © Service communication. Bottom (left page): Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Madame Colonna Romano, 1910, Musée d’Orsay collection, MNR* 204. Photo: © Bernard Olives. Bottom left: Renoir’s paintbox. Photo: © Nicolas Chaxel. Bottom middle: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Ferme des Collettes, détail, 1915, musée Renoir, Cagnes-sur-Mer. Photo: © Bernard Olives. Bottom right: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Coco reading, 1905, Musée d’Orsay, MNR* 1004. Photo: © Bernard Olives. *MNR: works recovered after the Second World War and currently with Musées Nationaux (French National Museums) awaiting confirmation of ownership.

examples of their work together is the bronze statue of Venus Victrix, in the gardens.”

The house – rescued and lovingly restored After Renoir’s death, the house was home to one of Renoir’s sons for many years, but by the time the local authority purchased it in 1960, it had changed considerably. Decades later, the local council came to the rescue and, between 2012 and 2013, major sums were invested in a lengthy programme of careful refurbishment, in order to restore the artist’s workshop to its former glory. “There are pieces of furniture, and settings like the dining room, along with some very personal

objects like his cane,” says Pinkowicz, “his paint box and a beloved cup and ball toy, that give visitors a real feel of his time here.” The house and gardens now provide a vivid insight into Renoir’s day to day life, his home and his work amidst one of the most beautiful parts of the Provencal countryside. Combined with the painter’s beautifully preserved gardens, there is a wonderful sense of the impressionist experience. “A visit to the house and the gardens,” says Pinkowicz, “is both cultural and sensory, and it opens the door to a very important period in Renoir’s life.” musee-renoir

The Musée Renoir is open June to September, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm (gardens open 10am to 6pm) October to March, 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm April and May, 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm Closed Tuesdays and 25 December, 1 January and 1 May 19 Chemin des Collettes, 06800 Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  17

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

Photo: Laure Roux

Photo: Laure Roux

Ceramics with a difference in magical Provence In a beautiful corner of mountainous Provence, in a village where at twilight the buildings glow pink in the setting sun, there is a very special museum TEXT: JANE LABOUS  |  PHOTOS: MUSÉE DE LA FAIENCE


he village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie has long been known for its pottery. In the shadow of the Provencal hills, artisans there have been making ceramics since the Middle Ages. During the reign of Louis XIV, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie ceramics had the reputation of being the finest in France. The pieces are made of Moustiers clay, notoriously superior in quality to other clays available because it contains high levels of limestone. This prevents the clay from cracking at the first firing. Before being used by the artisans, the clay is crushed, cleaned and washed, then left to rot for several months in vast underground cellars. 18  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

“There are still ten working, living ceramics workshops in the village of MoustiersSainte-Marie, each with its own characteristics,” says Virginie Lions, who works at the

museum in the heart of the village. “You can visit the workshops to learn about all the stages of manufacturing a piece of ceramic, and you can buy ceramics there, or during your visit to the village.” It is a wonderful place, adds Virginie. “Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is such a beautiful village, where we live well, and the people that live there – including me – are friendly, welcoming, always smiling! We love to welcome tourists here.”

Pots of history When ceramics first began in MoustiersSainte-Marie, only objects in glazed clay were produced, using the natural colours of green and brown. Then, in 1679, a local potter called Pierre Clérissy founded a dynasty of local potters that would remain active until

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

birds, vases of flowers and other more fanciful decorations. Then, Joseph Olerys founded a workshop in 1738, introducing polychrome and producing ceramics painted in purple, soft green, orange and blue.

museum and the academy. When Simone Garnier, another potter, came to set up a workshop in 1943, Provence co-financed the purchase, believing that his work would continue.

Many of these treasures can be seen in the large blue living room at the museum.

Provence passionately believed that Moustiers clay was something special, and liked to point out the sound of a good piece of ceramic. "The earthenware of Moustiers has its own accent,” he said. “Touch it with a nail and it makes a crystalline sound, like Easter bells in the mountains.”

“During your visit to the museum, you’ll be astonished when you go into the large blue salon,” says Lions. “This room mainly displays ceramics with blue decor that come from the two former companies that dominated the beginnings of production here, namely Clérissy and Olérys. The chandelier, meanwhile, dates from 1900. It’s made of transparent Murano glass with pure gold glitter.”

Easter bells

the late 18th century. Clérissy began making luxuriously-decorated ceramics using white enamel and cobalt blue that became desired objects for the French population of the time. At the end of the 17th century and up until 1730, Clerissy potters made large hunting dishes with a central decoration showing a hunting scene, most often drawn from the engravings of Antonio Tempesta, an Italian Renaissance painter whose engraved work circulated at the time throughout Europe. Later on in the 17th century, the Moustiers potters embraced a more colourful style featuring arabesques, architectural motifs,

The local ceramics trade gradually died out around 1870 with the arrival of English ceramics and bigger industry, and for a while, Moustiers’ ceramics stopped. Then, a man called Marcel Provence, a local arts expert, decided to reinvent the local industry, and the ceramics workshops in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie fired up again on 15 September, 1929, under the supervision of Marcel Provence (Joannon) and the Academy of Moustiers.

Now the museum displays five centuries of masterpieces and more than 300 rare ceramics through a collection funded by the donation of patron Pierre Jourdan-Barry. “The style of ceramics has evolved through the years, thanks to the evolution of colours and contemporary decorative styles,” says Virginie. “But the art of ceramics is still very much on the move. I think ceramics are interesting to everyone, from old treasures to modern-day creations, because our potters in this village are always adapting and growing their style to reflect modern trends and fashions. They are a little like fashion designers.”

Marcel Joannon was a journalist, writer, historian, ethnologist − and lover of Provence, so much so that he made it his surname. As well as reviving the local ceramics industry, Provence created the Academy of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to oversee the study of ceramics and the folklore of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, as well as the museum. Meanwhile, he set to work as master potter to reinstate the Moustiers-SainteMarie ceramics industry. Marcel Provence's workshop closed its doors in 1937, but he continued to take an active interest in the

Photo: Philippe Murtas

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums


The history of pop music in central France


When it comes to the history of rock’n’roll, many cities have played a major role. Memphis, Liverpool, London – to name a few. The small town of Montluçon, however, just over an hour’s drive north of Clermont Ferrand in central France, might not necessarily spring to mind – but perhaps it should.


n amongst the town’s steep, winding medieval streets dotted with 15th and 16th-century houses around the banks of the river Cher, lies France’s only museum dedicated to popular music. MuPop (Museum of Pop) is a museum with a difference, both inside and out. Spread over two separate buildings, Méchain and Charnisay, the museum has been strikingly converted by Philippe Tixier of architectural practice Atelier 4. Using part of the buildings’ original façades, Tixier has brought 20  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

them very much up to date, creating what looks like a futuristic piece of outside bronze origami, in sharp contrast to the centuries-old buildings nearby. Inside, not only is there a huge collection of musical instruments on display as well as 20th-century rock and pop memorabilia, but it is also very much a modern, high tech, sensory experience. Dotted throughout the museum are five different touch screens transforming the

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

traditional museum viewing into a highly interactive experience. Visitors also receive specially designed headsets which use innovative modern technology to bring sounds and commentaries about the different exhibits alive.

(Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations) in Marseille. Although these other museums cover some of the same history, it is the MuPop collection which is thought of as the backbone of them all.

The collection includes more than three and a half thousand musical instruments dating from the 18th century onwards, and is considered one of the most important musical collections in France.

Alongside the permanent collection, MuPop regularly holds innovative exhibitions and, from 29 June 2019 to 5 January 2020, the new show will be entitled Les Tubes de l’été – which loosely translates as ‘summer hits’ – often the kind of Europop, Eurodisco or novelty hits that have been ubiquitous across Europe since the 1960s. See Kaoma’s Lambada in 1989 or La Macarena – a global hit every summer for three years from 1995 to 1997.

Exhibits include more than 200 electric guitars, 30 drums, 36 accordions as well as some 80 brass and 200 wind instruments. As well as the musical instruments themselves, there is also musical memorabilia such as record sleeves, photos, posters, stage costumes, dance halls, punk rehearsal rooms and music-related documents.

Summer Hits – a new exhibition

The exhibition will cover the different styles (disco, Macarena, pop etc), using displays

of costumes, instruments, gold discs and other memorabilia to explore the social and political context of the time whilst also detailing how the media of the time, for example, television, radio, records and cassettes, influenced their success. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of concerts, talks and workshops as well as a specially produced catalogue.

Activities for all the Family The museum also has specially arranged family activities, both at weekends and during the school holidays. In July and August, there are special workshops lasting between 40 minutes and two hours, with singing and games while children learn about different instruments and the history of music.

Elsewhere, other displays cover the evolution of 20th-century music-listening equipment, from early phonographs and record players to transistor radios, tape recorders and early televisions. There is also an archive with its own special library and an extensive collection of records and tape recordings.

The history of the collection The collection has been built up gradually over the last 50 years and, for the most part, belongs to the town of Montluçon through donations and acquisitions from various bodies including the Musée de la Musique (Museum of Music) in Paris and MuCEM

MuPop is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 12 noon and from 2pm to 6pm. Admission is €7,50 for adults, €5 for over 60s, €4 for 13 to 18 year olds and 2€ for 7 to 12 year olds. MuPop, 3 Rue Notre Dame, 03100 Montluçon, France. 00 33 4 70 02 19 62

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

The paper beloved of Dalí and Picasso


Richard de Bas can lay claim to being one of the most prestigious paper mills in the world. Centuries of history are embedded in the paper, which is lovingly handmade at the historic mill near Ambert in a remote valley in the Auvergne, France. The exquisite paper, which is produced in a mill dating back to the 16th century, has been used by world-class artists such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. In addition, the sole copy of the Constitution of the 5th French Republic of 1958, The Encyclopaedia of Diderot and D'Alembert and Nobel Prize diplomas have all been written on Richard de Bas paper.

As well as the high-end white paper, which is still in huge demand from editors, artists and engravers, Richard de Bas also manufactures paper for more general use. This paper can be used for wedding invitations, greetings cards and menus. During the summer months, the mill uses the flowers from its splendid gardens to produce a specially scented paper.

Despite making only 200 sheets of paper a day, Richard de Bas has some 30,000 visitors a year, drawn by the mill’s fascinating guided tours. During the school holidays, there are also papermaking workshops for children. Sylvain Péraudeau, whose family has owned this last surviving mill in the Auvergne for 80 years, explains what makes Richard de Bas so special: “The world moves so fast these days. Our mill is unique. It’s very rare in this day and age to find something that requires such care. That has real value, and we need to preserve it.”

France’s museum of wonders – a rare insight into the mysteries of early civilisations TEXT: OWEN EVANS  |  PHOTOS: MUSÉE DES MERVEILLES

It is always fascinating to get an idea of how people in early civilisations lived, and at the Musée des Merveilles (The Museum of Wonders), you can do exactly that. Deep in the Maritime Alps, with Nice and the Côte d’Azur about an hour’s drive south and the Italian border just to the east, the Musée des Merveilles is dedicated to one of the most important rock engravings sites, or ‘petroglyphs’, in Europe – la Vallée des Merveilles. The story is one of fascinating mystery, as we only know so much about how the carvings came about. What we do know is that towards the end of the Neolithic period some 5,000 years ago, local inhabitants carved over 50,000 mysterious anthropomorphic and shamanic figures into stone at the remote Vallée des Merveilles at Mont Bégo. The 4,000 rocks are now listed as a French ‘Monument historique’ (national heritage site). “The petroglyphs give us a wonderful insight into the complex societies and religions of the surrounding tribes,” says 22  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

Musée des Merveilles' communications manager Christelle Pascucci. “But as well as helping visitors understand different cultures,” she continues, “the Musée des Merveilles is also a research centre. One of our aims is to help visitors understand this exceptional archaeological and ethnological heritage site. We really want to bring these early civilisations to life.” As well as the rock engravings at Mont Bego, the museum’s permanent galleries explore human evolution, archaeology, protohistoric engravings and rock art from around the world. There is also a hugely popular section devoted to the fascinating tale of the 19th-century scholars and archaeologists who first ‘discovered’ the enigmatic carvings, just as Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen.

Guided tours and workshops are available, as well as special rates for schools and groups.

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

Château du Champ-de-Bataille

Baroque brilliance Spectacular landscaped gardens, Louis XIV interiors and an Indian Palace make Normandy’s Château du Champ-de-Bataille one of the most impressive chateaux in France.


ying between two rivers – the Risle to the west and the Iton to the east, the Baroque Château du Champ-deBataille was built by Alexandre de CréquyBernieulle between 1653 and 1665.

Garcia, who has restored it and returned it to its former glory.

Facing an ornamental lake, the main building is in the style of Louis Le Vau, architect of Versailles, whilst the interiors date from the eras of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. Highlights include the dining room – with the dining table prepared as if you were about to sit down to an 18th-century royal dinner, an impressive galleried library, royal bedchambers and the ‘Salon Louis XVI’.

The gardens are as much of an attraction as the Château itself. With over 120 acres of exquisitely landscaped designs, they include fountains and waterfalls, the Boxwood Lace Gardens (‘Les Dentelles’, based on a drawing by Andre Le Notre), and an eyecatching folly – the Temple of Leda, the Grove of Eden and the Grove of Erebus – designed to conjure up heaven and hell. Elsewhere there are rose gardens and aviaries, as well as tropical greenhouses with over a hundred varieties of orchid.

In 1992, the Château was bought by internationally renowned architect, interior designer and garden designer Jacques

Another feature is the ‘Indian Palace’ which took some 10 years to build, with stones and materials directly imported from India.


In the summer, the gardens host open-air opera productions and musketeer shows. Domaine Château du Champ-de-Bataille is open seven days a week from 1 March to 31 December. The Château’s annual 'Heritage Days’ also provide a rare chance to visit The Indian Palace and tropical greenhouses.

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Wander through the ages of art Founded in 1801 by Napoléon Bonaparte, over the next 12 months, the Musée de Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux will pay homage to important figures in the world of fine art. The Liberté! Bordeaux 2019 cultural season this summer is set to be spectacular. With the past informing the present, the exhibition will be inspired by fathers of the Enlightenment such as Eugène Delacroix. As Museum Director Sophie Barthélémy explains: “Focusing on one of Delacroix’s most important works here, Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi, artist Nikos Aliagas has curated a photographic collection for visitors to appreciate the original painting and discover Missolonghi, his hometown in Greece. There will be some 40 works on loan from the Louvre, some of our own pieces and some from Bordeaux’s Museum of Decorative Arts and Design and the exhibition will run from 19 June to 13 October.” The Museum of Fine Arts has built a reputation as one of the finest art institutions in France: “The collection of over 9,000 works here in Bordeaux is regularly

loaned-out worldwide; our Delacroix paintings have travelled to the Louvre and the MET in New York.” continues Barthélémy. “We are a member of Club 19, which brings together the oldest French museums of the 19th century. We also create links between French and American institutions within the FRAME initiative.” Exciting partnerships will continue to flourish with the So British season in 2020, which will see masterpieces from the Louvre brought to Bordeaux for its British Stories exhibition. Bordeaux will then collaborate with its sister city of Bristol for the Absolutely Bizarre exhibition, featuring works from the Bristol School of Art. “The permanent collection here is equally as impressive,” explains Barthélémy: “Spanning some five centuries, visitors can retrace the history of Western painting, and highlights include Renaissance masters Titian, Brueghel

A song of scripts


and Veronese, as well as painters such as Rubens, Corot, Redon, Marquet, Lhote and the kingpin of modernism, Picasso.”


Over the last century, the world of communication may have gone through some tumultuous shifts but the ancient art of writing is still very much central to our lives. The 18th-century French scholar, philologist and orientalist Jean François Champollion was fascinated by the history of the writing arts and is best known as the first man to have deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics. The house in which he was born in Figeac, just a couple of hours’ drive north of Toulouse in southwest France, is home to the Musée Champollion – Les Écritures du Monde (Champollion Museum – The Writings of the World). As its name suggests, the museum’s main premise is to throw a spotlight on the history of writing and collections range from early hieroglyphics to Chinese and Arabic scripts to the world of the book, and the place of writing in contemporary art. “The main focus of the museum is to showcase 24  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

the development of writing”, says Laurie Cruveilher, head of public relations. “Its evolution from the earliest known scripts and alphabets to the present day. Of course, we talk about Champollion the man as well, but what we are most interested in is showing how his work, his discoveries, sit within the evolution of the written word.” The original 15th-century house has been spectacularly transformed into a 21st-century museum by architectural firm Moatti & Rivière, who preserved the original stone façade, but placed a striking copper and glass wall behind it. The copper sheet is pierced by 1,000 characters, created by graphic and typographic designer Pierre di Sciullo from a multitude of different scripts, living and dead. Sunlight throws the shapes of

Above: Salle des alphabets. Photo: © N. Blaya Middle: Façade of 1,000 letters. Photo: © Luc BoeglyAgence Moatti et Rivière

these letters and pictograms across the museum interior, while illuminated at night they read like a giant homage to the written word across one side of place Champollion. Writing is how we shape the world, a tool of knowledge and of power. In over 600 objects, the Musée Champollion shows the breadth, sophistication and sheer beauty of its journey.

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

L’Historial de la Grande Guerre

A thought provoking exploration of the Great War


The First World War came to an end at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. But just over 100 years later, The Great War continues to exert a powerful grip on our imagination. ‘The war to end all wars’ still has an immense hold on successive generations: which is why a visit to L’Historial de la Grande Guerre (The Great War Museum) is such a compelling experience.


cross two museums in the French towns of Péronne and Thiepval, L’Historial de la Grande Guerre offers a riveting history of the war. One of the first museums entirely dedicated to the First World War, it emphasises why the conflict has had a cataclysmic and enduring impact on the world. The site in Péronne is one of the few museums to explore the conflict from the differing perspectives of the French, British and Germans. Thousands of objects, including posters, lithography prints, newspaper articles, uniforms, postcards, written works, photographs and souvenir albums – as well as a series of 50 etchings by the great German artist, Otto Dix – are exhibited in

the museum. All combine to conjure up the sheer global magnitude of the conflict. The L’Historial de la Grande Guerre site in Thiepval recounts the stories of the catastrophic Battles of the Somme. The museum – which includes a panoramic mural by

illustrator Joe Sacco as well as a gallery devoted to The Missing – is also a great place from which to start The Remembrance Trail of the nearby First World War battlefields. “Even though it took place more than 100 years ago, the First World War still has very important lessons for us,” says Hervé Francois, the director of L’Historial de la Grande Guerre. “At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a great belief in science and progress across Europe. Each country was at the height of its power. But then they simply committed suicide. How could civilised nations behave like this? They mobilised all their economic, military, industrial and people power to wage a war that didn’t solve anything. All it did was move us closer to the Second World War. So much energy expended – for what?” Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  25

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

The perfect place to find out about Louis Pasteur Every scientist probably dreams of changing the world, but very few actually get to achieve that dream. Louis Pasteur – the French scientist who discovered pasteurisation amongst many other things, was someone who did just that, and at the museum which was once his home – the Maison Louis Pasteur in the Jura region of France – there are some fascinating insights into his work. TEXT: JAMES RAMPTON  |  PHOTOS: LA MAISON LOUIS PASTEUR

In Arbois, less than an hour’s drive from the Swiss border to the east and Dijon to the west, La Maison Louis Pasteur is a chance to immerse yourself in Pasteur’s world, celebrated for his groundbreaking work in the causes and prevention of diseases. The house, which was the only home Pasteur ever owned, has been preserved just as it was in Pasteur’s time with nothing changed since he lived there in the 19th century. Visitors can see the perfectly preserved laboratory where Pasteur made such world-changing breakthroughs as the discovery of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurisation, and get a real sense of his questing spirit.

The home where Pasteur was born in nearby Dole is also open to visitors. An exhibition highlights each of his specialist fields of knowledge, including the rabies vaccine, crystals, silkworm diseases and fermentation in wine and beer, and visitors

can also take part in two-hour workshops at L’Atelier Pasteur and try out experiments which demonstrate his ideas. “Pasteur brought about a scientific revolution and changed the course of history,” explains Sylvie Morel, the director of La Maison Louis Pasteur. His work still has a great influence on science today and here at the museum you can see the places where he lived and worked. It’s a wonderful, educational experience.”

The cité at the heart of tapestry town


A sleepy town in the heart of rural Creuse, Aubusson, has been home to master tapestry weavers for the past six centuries with their work often compared to the world-famous State Gobelins tapestries.

concludes. “They will be astounded by the sheer scale and detail of these wonderful works of art.”

The fascinating museum at Aubusson’s Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie – Europe’s only tapestry documentation centre includes extremely rare tapestries such as the Mille Fleurs à la Licorne, which dates back to 1480 as well as work by major contemporary artist Jean Lurçat. “Visitors will be enthralled to find out about the highly complex work involved in making these tapestries. This was the bread and butter work of so many local families,” explains Emmanuel Gérard, director of the museum. Open since 2016, the Cité is also dedicated to training international artists to follow in the footsteps of their tapestry-creating forebears. “This is not a dead tradition, we want it to be passed on; we want Aubusson to live from tapestry as it always has,” says Emmanuel Gérard. Partly thanks to the Cité’s training programme, Aubusson’s cob-

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bled streets are now packed with tapestryrelated attractions, including a renovated 16th-century tapestry-maker's house, where exhibits trace the history and tradition of Aubusson. “Although this was once a dying art, today we have seven ateliers and three manufacturers here, as well as dyers and spinning mills,” says Gérard proudly. Two major exhibitions are planned for this summer: an innovative new project in conjunction with the Tolkien Estate to produce a series of tapestries based on the work of the Lord of The Rings author, and also a ground-breaking exhibition in conjunction with Switzerland exploring the influence of the Biennales de la Tapisserie in Lausanne, on textile art around the world in the 1960s. Gérard is understandably enthusiastic about the Cité’s future. “People need to come here and spend time with the tapestries,” he

Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raft-Elves, tapestry from J.R.R. Tolkien, collection Cité internationale de la tapisserie, Aubusson, France. © The Tolkien Estate Ltd 1937

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

The beautiful buildings and grounds are part of the museum’s historic charm


French art à l’Italien


International visitors are encouraged to discover a trove of artistic and literary culture in this picturesque Savoie capital


ith its snow-capped ski resorts and famous cheeses, the Savoie region of south-eastern France may seem quintessentially French, but the area is also the gateway to an often-forgotten international past. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Chambéry. An hour’s drive from both Lyon and the Italian border, it hosts some of the most notable works of Italian art this side of Turin. This is largely due to 19th-century Savoyard and Florence-based art collector Baron Hector Garriod, who left over 200 works to the city on the condition that a museum would be created. “We have a shared history, which goes back to a time when the Savoie was not yet part of France and Italy had not yet formed,” explains Mélanie Faguer, cultural communication manager at the museum. Located in an old granary, complete with vaulted ceilings and sweeping staircase, the museum plays a key role in showcasing this shared history. “It is our number one

mission to restore paintings and display them,” says Faguer. “It is a public service, to preserve our heritage.” Indeed, as part of the publicly-funded body Musées de France, the place is still unmistakably Gallic, with Les Charmettes − the onetime home of French writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his lover Madame de Warens − on its doorstep. A major part of Chambéry’s appeal, Les Charmettes attracts more international tourists among its 13,000 annual visitors than the museum itself (whose 28,000 annual guests are mainly French). As the name would suggest, its beauty is in its charm. “Les Charmettes is known because Rousseau said his time here was ‘the happiest of his life’,” explains Faguer. “We can still find that spirit here today.” Guided tours through the gardens, orchard, beehives, vines, and historic rooms bring visitors a real sense of this, whether visitors are familiar with Rousseau’s work or not. Indeed, for all the sites’ high-end cultural as-

sociations, the team works hard to ensure that they appeal to a diverse audience. Families are encouraged: in fact, all babies born in the Chambéry maternity unit are given a ‘Passeport Culturelle’, allowing them and their families free entrance for one year. Similarly, a patrons’ scheme, Les Amis d’Hector − which launched on 15 February this year − gives businesses and individuals alike a chance to support the museum even further, whether financially, or by volunteering time. And while museum visitor numbers in France are increasing, says Faguer, attracting new eyes to the vast heritage on display here is still a priority. “One of our missions is to diversify,” she explains. “The idea is to make the museum accessible, for as many different kinds of people as possible.”

Musée des Beaux-Arts: Les Charmettes:

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

Photo: C.Monfray

Fabulous fowl If you have ever happened to visit some of Paris’ priciest butcher shops, perhaps to stock up on some premier cuts of charcuterie to take back home, you may well have come across ‘volaille de Bresse’, the most expensive chicken in the world. TEXT: KIKI DEERE  |  PHOTOS: MUSÉE DE LA BRESSE-DOMAINE DES PLANONS


aised in the historic region of Bresse in eastern France, the white chickens of Bresse have become a gastronomic symbol of France, not only due to their exceptional quality, but also the fact that the colour of their bodies match the French flag – blue legs, white body and red comb.

A Brief History The first mention of these much-prized birds was in 1591, when the citizens of Bourg-enBresse offered a number of birds to the Marquis of Treffort for his efforts in fending off marauding Savoyard soldiers. The long history of the Bresse chicken is recounted at the Musée de la Bresse, a large cultural site that showcases the region’s rich herit28  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

age. “Visitors can learn about the gastronomic traditions of our region, not least of our world-famous ‘volaille de Bresse’, the star of our collection, with old egg cups, paintings and even poultry papier-mâché sculptures by contemporary artist Chantal

Dunoyer,” explains Aurélie Faivre, the director of the museum. Not to be missed is the historic 1894 Lyon banquet menu. Offered by the City of Lyon to the then President of the Republic Sadi Carnot in honour of the Exposition Internationale et Coloniale, a world fair and colonial exhibition, the six-page silk menu features elaborate depictions of the city of Lyon, the President’s speech, and details of each dinner course, including – of course – a truffled Bresse chicken dish. Belly sated with tender roasted chicken, President Sadi Carnot was infamously murdered shortly after the banquet. So important are chickens in this part of France that the Museum, which occupies an area of 48 hectares, raises its own. In the expansive grounds, chickens roam around freely. Their diet of wheat grain, corn and dried milk is kept deliberately low in protein

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

Photo: C.Monfray

A Traditional Bressan Farmhouse Located on the site of a former working farm, the Museum showcases a treasure trove of artefacts and exhibitions. The beautifully preserved farmhouse, complete with sweeping arched columns, displays traditional machinery and objects, allowing visitors to experience what life was like in a traditional Bressan farmhouse. Dating back to 1490, the Maison Chauffure is the oldest part of the building. Equipped with a large heated fireplace, it displays numerous pieces of furniture, including an oak table with benches, straw chairs and a kneading-trough. Its most impressive architectural feature is undoubtedly the Saracen chimney, with its Moorish features and minaret-like shape. Dating from the 13th century, it is extremely rare (there are only 30 such chimneys left today).

so that they have to forage for other foodstuffs including worms and grass. By law, the chickens must have at least ten metres of area each, reaching 12 metres for capons. “The ‘terroir’ of the region is what lies behind this much sought-after poultry meat. The clay-rich soil and the temperate climate of the region combine to give us the world’s most prized chicken,” explains Aurélie.

The Contemporary Museum and its Exhibits Surrounding the farm, are acres of greenery where visitors can easily while away the day exploring the grounds, stopping off to enjoy a bite to eat at designated picnic areas. Along with the farmhouse, the grounds house an impressive contemporary building made of wood, glass and aluminium that is at one with the surrounding environment. Partially buried in greenery, it serves as a guiding thread between the landscape and the exhibitions.

including headdresses and hats, from simple hats to large, elegant headwear with elaborate lace. An important collection of 19th-century jewellery takes in brooches, rings and necklaces that reflect French fashion of the time, while a display of hurdygurdies and musettes highlight the importance of music in village communities. An impressive collection of enamels sheds light on the importance of enamelling in this region, with religious objects, belt buckles and jewels made by skilled local craftsmen. Aurélie admits that not many have heard of Bresse, its name ringing a familiar bell perhaps only with true foodies. “Our museum aims to highlight not only our region’s rich gastronomic tradition, but also our exceptionally rich cultural heritage that is France’s best-kept secret.”

As well as a room dedicated to the ‘volaille de Bresse’, the building showcases traditional Bressan costumes and accessories, Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  29

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

The Lavender Museum celebrates `true lavender’ from the high mountains in Provence, and is the only lavender recognised for its medicinal benefits.

Living the lavender life Lavender in bloom is a beguiling sight, a vision of mauve waves that conjures up Provence. On these lofty Lubéron slopes one family has cultivated `true lavender’ for five generations. It is a story of saving an ancient way of life by growing and distilling `blue gold’ while winning over visitors to their vision of sustainability. Welcome to the Lavender Museum. TEXT: LISA GERARD-SHARP  |  PHOTOS: MUSÉE DE LA LAVANDE, WWW.MUSEEDELALAVANDE.COM


he Musée de la Lavande is a family love affair with a fragile flower that symbolises Provence. The Lincelé family has cultivated lavender in these uplands since 1890 and is on a mission to continue painting Provence purple-blue. Behind this romantic notion is a belief in roots and a battle for the soul of this rugged region. Growers and distillers Jack and Sophie Lincelé are dedicated to producing only the purest lavender, from flowers as diverse as the family members themselves. Not for

30  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

them the cheap, cloned varieties that lack subtle scents and soothing properties. As Sophie Lincelé says: “Lavender is easily recognised but easily misunderstood.”

Museum mooch Tucked into a traditional farmhouse south of Gordes is an engaging exploration of lavender lore. It runs from flowery romance to the debunking of myths. “Our museum was created to tell the story of true lavender, not lab-lavender,” declares Sophie Lincelé.

“We want visitors to make informed choices and, in so doing, help preserve our precious Provencal heritage forever.” It wasn't until the 19th century that the peasants of Haute-Provence realised lavender’s potential as `blue gold’, worth cultivating for its essence. Even so, outside the lofty world of perfume, lavender distillation was familyrun until the Second World War. After that, Potions and perfume flasks in the Lavender Museum.

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

professionalism took over but industrialisation led to the creation of strong-smelling detergents masquerading as lavender. Since then, the side-lined craft industry has fought back, spearheaded by grower-producers of `true lavender’, like the Lincelé. Their lavender might be natural, but the landscape is designed. “It’s easy to forget that this timeless lavender landscape is crafted by growers like ourselves,” Lincelé reminds us. Jostling for space in the museum is an array of ancient perfume flasks and burnished copper stills collected by family forebears. “There’s one dating back to 1626, the same year our lavender farm was built, so a lovely coincidence,” smiles Lincelé. The dynastic legacy is ever-present: her teenage children are happy to test the newly-revamped museum route as well as the lavender macaroons.

True-blue believers The museum will also open your eyes to real-deal lavender. Known as ‘lavandula officinalis’, it grows above 900 metres in the parched Provencal uplands. According to Jack Lincelé: “In the same way as you would create a great wine, lavender is all about climate and soil.” His wife adds: “True lavender is a native plant propagated by seeding, while cheap, cloned lavender relies on cuttings.” Instead, ‘lavandin’, hybrid lavender, grows on lower levels and often produces the overpowering pong found in detergents. Only true lavender has medici-

anti-inflammatory and regenerative.” In short, “lavender is such a multifunctioning, magical plant, it’s called the Swiss army knife of aromatherapy.”

Dreaming in lavender

Prized AOP Essential Lavender Oil.

nal properties and a scent subtle enough for prestigious perfume houses, or for the family’s niche products: “We don’t simply make a sweetly-scented hand cream but one that soothes.” And they master the whole process themselves, from plant to potion. It stands to reason that the museum supports the true believers, even if there is a cost attached. Jack Lincelé is clear: “We need to distil 130 kilos of flowers to produce one kilo of essential oil, a yield of only one per cent.” As proof of its status, this is the only plant in Provence to gain a designated classification for its essential oil, Lavande de Haute Provence (AOP). As for `the science bit’, the distiller waxes lyrical about his oil’s healing properties: “It’s anti-allergenic,

As the master-distiller, Jack Lincelé is mainly found on the family’s Chateau du Bois farm on the high plains nearby, often helped by his son Max. It is a 330-hectare estate with 110 hectares of lavender, including 40 set aside for crop rotation. In July, it is made for dreaming in mauve: “By looking at a flower, I know when it needs harvesting, just as my grandfather knew the perfect moment. We harvest blooms under the blazing sun, at the hottest time of day, when the plant is at its peak.” His wife is similarly entranced by her home: “It awakens my senses, beginning with the view of the undulating uplands, of the flowering fields framed by mountains. If it’s baking hot, the lavender releases its heady scent and, when you caress the flower’s bloom, the essences and aromas just explode. True lavender is so rare and so worth preserving that we want to make visitors aware of the fragility of this precious heritage.”

Musée de la Lavande: Le Chateau du Bois Provence:

Copper stills for extracting essential oil – in the Lavender Museum.

Lavender-picking in Provence in the olden days.

At work on the Chateau du Bois lavender estate.

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Photo: Chamerolles vu du Ciel

Visit the ‘valley of the kings’ A trip to the Loire is not complete without a visit to at least one of the area's famed châteaux, and the Loiret region has no less than three gems within a 45 mile radius of Sully-sur-Loire. Each with something very different to offer.

20 miles upstream you will find the château at Gien, marking the entry of what is known locally as the ‘Valley of the Kings’ and was built on the orders of Anne of France in 1482.



ominating the River Loire and the landscape south-east of Orleans is the Château de Sully “It’s incredibly beautiful and very imposing. The castle sees you long before you see it,” Sophie Pirou says. Pirou manages the Château de Sully and the Château de Chamerolles, of which more later. You will find layer upon layer of French history at the Château de Sully which began its existence as a fort in the 13th century. The duke, whose name it bears, was a childhood friend of Henry IV and he eventually rose through the ranks at court to become the King’s right-hand-man. If you are looking for the ‘wow factor’, the Château de Sully certainly has it. The keep 32  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

has one of the finest examples of medieval carpentry anywhere, with the ceiling rising to 16 metres “The dimensions, the sheer quality of the work and incredibly rare technique just blows you away,” says Pirou. The Château de Sully is open year-round and has activities for visitors young and old, in English as well as French. “Christmas is really a very special time at the Château. We bring in 14 Christmas trees and the main hall is chock-full of presents. The children who come obviously love it.” Pirou continues: “But it’s also a place where we mark moments of national importance, such as the recent Navy memorial we hosted. Events can be small and intimate or really large-scale and impressive in these historic surroundings.”

It is now the Château-Musée de Gien and opened after a complete overhaul in 2017 as the Museum of the Hunt, home to one of the most significant collections of hunting art and artefacts in Europe. The vast 17th-century tapestry that adorns the first of the rooms leading to the permanent exhibition is one of the highlights. “It really sets up your visit,” explains Muriel Oghard who looks after guided tours and exhibits at the Chateau. “You can get a real insight into hunting during the Renaissance. It's all about the animals." The museum is not just for adults, however. Part of Muriel’s job is to make things interesting for a younger audience. Not least with an impressive collection of stuffed animals “The kids get totally into it. The wild boar is a par-

Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

the Château de Chamerolles sits amidst rolling countryside. Acquired by the Du Lac family in 1440, it also has close links to the French kings; from Francis I right through to Louis XVI.

Photo: Sully-sur-Loire Grande

Sophie Pirou says: “While it might be a little off the beaten track by comparison to Sully or Gien, when you drive past, it’s so pretty, it’s almost impossible not to be drawn in.” The château is home to a permanent exhibition on cleanliness and perfume through the ages. It might seem like an unusual theme but it all makes sense once you realise the surrounding area is France’s ‘Cosmetic Valley’, dedicated to the development of the country’s vast perfume and cosmetics industry.

Photo: Sully-sur-Loire PsychÇ

ticular favourite because it’s definitely not an animal you can see up close when it’s roaming in the wild,” she explains. There are temporary exhibitions throughout the year but these ramp up in the summer months. “Having live birds of prey on site is a great example of one of the events we’ve hosted since we reopened,” says Muriel “You could really see that these creatures have unique characteristics and personalities which make them so good at hunting.”

Photo: Chamerolles Puits

In the summer, the château which towers above Gien opens its terraces, giving visitors stunning views across the rooftops and the River Loire below. For a complete change of pace and a roam around beautifully-maintained gardens, including an elaborate maze, the Château de Chamerolles is the perfect contrast. Whilst the Château-Musée de Gien and Château de Sully hug the banks of the River Loire,

Another key attraction at Chamerolles are the frescos, believed to be some of the oldest in France. Dating back to the early 1500s when the site was a Protestant temple, they were discovered in the chapel by a team doing restoration work in 1992. Pirou recommends late spring as the ideal time to visit. “Late April into May is just magnificent and the gardens really come into their own,” she says. “It not only looks fabulous but all the flowers in bloom smell absolutely incredible too.”

Photo: Château-musée de Gien

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France’s Most Ravishing Museums

Photo: Patrick Ageneau

Gladiators and garments along the River Rhône


30 kilometres south of Lyon, the archeological museum built on the fascinating site of a wealthy Roman settlement presents a new way of unearthing ancient history: from preparing for gladiator battle, to fashioning a garment of your own.


ituated at the crossroads of ancientRoman Europe along the banks of the River Rhône, Saint Romain-enGal is one of the largest sites of its kind in France. The Gallo-Roman Museum, near the French town of Vienne, is constantly finding new ways to revive the Roman spirit from over 2,000 years ago. “We provide a glimpse into what life might have been like,” says Emilie Alonso, museum director. With a backdrop of archeological vestiges, villas and balustrades, the extent of Romanisation is wholly immersive. Thanks to their developments in the field of ‘experimental’ archeology, the museum can reconstruct areas of daily life: from ceramics and glass to ancient baking techniques. “We bring history to life by collaborating with artisans and scientists, and studying artefacts such as ancient mosaics. Our annual Gallo-Roman reenactments and Vinalia Days allow the museum to exhibit our

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discoveries to the public and to other institutions in the field,” Emilie explains. This March and April, a bespoke workshop will also give visitors the opportunity to create an authentic Roman garment like that of their ancestors, using traditional methods of weaving and dyeing fabric with colours from raw materials. “They’ll then be suitably dressed to participate in our coming events!” enthuses Emilie. On the weekend of 10 May 2019, for example, the public can experience the life of a gladiator, with a backdrop of colonnades and archeological wonders. “Such events

are led by re-enactors selected for their professionalism,” says Emilie, “and the GalloRoman Days attract on average between 5,000 and 9,000 people.” Wine is similarly a key aspect of the museum. The vineyard has been an integral feature of French heritage for over 27 centuries, and on the last Sunday of September every year, visitors can delve deeper into Roman viticulture. “During our Vinalia event, we draw parallels between the world of wine and ancient gastronomy with that which we have today,” says Emilie. To celebrate the convivial origins of wine, visitors can also see, taste and live the experience of a Roman banquet.

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Discover THEME Southern Europe  A Taste of Italy SPECIAL OF ITALY   |   A|  TASTE

A taste of Italy There is more to Italian cuisine than the cliché of pasta and pizza on a red gingham tablecloth adorned with a table lamp made from an old Chianti bottle. From the tip to the toe of Italy’s boot, you will find some of Southern Europe’s most exceptional food, from fine dining to rustic delights. So where can you find the best?

Grand Canal, Venice. Photo: A.Bartolozzi


f you are heading to Florence and in need of refuelling after a day at the city’s musems, a ‘bisteca alla Fiorentina’ is essential. A large T-bone steak cooked over roasted chestnuts for an intense smoky flavour: it is hearty fare and, if you have a sweet tooth, round it off with one of the gelatos the city is justly famous for. Fancy a post36  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

prandial tipple before you totter off for more galleries, museums and architecture? Try some cantuccini (biscoti) dipped in the nectar-like dessert wine, vin santo, just like the locals do. Further afield in Tuscany, rustic ragouts are the order of the day. Boar and wild mush-

rooms feature prominently on menus, as do satisfying, slow-cooked bean stews. In Milan, you are in the heart of the Po valley: the ‘rice bowl of Italy’ where more rice is produced than anywhere else in Europe. It is the ideal place to sample risotto and the alla Milanesa variant boasts a distinctive

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Taste of Italy

yellow saffron hue and an elegant creaminess thanks to a winning combination of cheese and bone marrow. Gorgonzola, meanwhile, in greater Milan, offers lovers of cheese an opportunity to try both the dolce & picante varieties, respectively sweet’n’creamy and spicy. Before you leave the region, however, do not miss out on a bowl of warming minestrone Milanese. Whatever is in season goes in and you will never look at a supermarket can of minestrone in the same way again. If you are enjoying the canals and gondolas of Venice in spring, take time out to enjoy a plate of crisp ‘moleche’ – small green crabs caught in the waters just as they shed their shells. They pair perfectly with a glass of the Venetian favourite, Prosecco, or if you are in a Hemmingway-esque cocktail mood, try a Bellini with added peach juice.

To sample Modenese cuisine at its finest, quaff a glass of sparkling red Lambrusco and settle down to a plate of gnocco frito – delicious fried pastries served with cured meats and bacon. Eaten all day from breakfast onwards, you cannot gnocco it! The treacly dark balsamic vinegars that dress the salads here enhance the already beautifully prepared side salads that you are sure to be offered alongside the ringshaped tortellini that the Modense claim as their own addition to the pasta canon. Rome is a city of splendour and opulence, but the gutsy vitality of its hectic bustle is reflected in the local fondness for earthy offal. With scant regard for the dictates of fashion you will find livers, gizzards, hearts, tongues and tripe on menus in the city’s Trastevere district. Make like the locals and tuck in. Buon appetito!

Duomo and Piazza Grande, Modena. Photo: Enit

Florence. Photo: Enit

Sforza Castle, Milan. Photo: Enit

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Discover Southern Europe  |  A Taste of Italy

Legendary legs – a story of Italian traditions and prosciutto ham Italians take their food very seriously indeed, not least their beloved prosciutto ham, traditionally enjoyed all over the country as an antipasto starter. TEXT: KIKI DEERE  |  PHOTOS: CONSORZIO DEL PROSCIUTTO DI SAN DANIELE


ith its low levels of fat and high levels of good monounsaturated fats, as well as zinc, phosphorus and potassium, prosciutto is, in fact, like much of the traditional Mediterranean diet – a healthy snack. So where does the best ham come from? Some of Italy’s finest comes from San Daniele

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del Friuli – a pretty hilltop town tucked away in the north-eastern region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, an area most tourists would be hard pushed to pinpoint on a map (let alone successfully pronounce its name).

The Romans and the Celts Recognisable by its guitar-like shape, ‘prosciutto di san Daniele’ is made exclusively

from Italian pigs born and bred in ten regions of central and northern Italy, whose diet is a specially regulated blend of all-natural grains and whey. Meat can only be cured with pure sea salt, strictly without the use of chemicals or preservatives. The unique microclimate of the region is key to producing ‘prosciutto di San Daniele’. Southward-blowing fronts from the Alps meet the air currents of the Atlantic, while both the area’s moraine soil and the waters of the Tagliamento River regulate humidity and temperature.

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Taste of Italy

The word prosciutto comes from the Latin ‘pro’ (before) and ‘exsuctus’ (to suck out), referring to the process of extracting excess moisture from the meat. As the origins of the name suggest, prosciutto-making is an ancient tradition, although it originated in Friuli Venezia Giulia long before the Romans arrived. The Celts, who once inhabited the region, bred pigs and were familiar with salting as a means of preservation. They developed a process of curing meats that was handed down to the Romans, who would later inhabit the nearby town of Aquileia, the Roman Empire’s third city. For centuries, the inhabitants of San Daniele traded hams with Aquileia and the Republic of Venice, a major maritime power that dominated trade in the Mediterranean.

Perfect Preparation Once the legs of pork reach the town of San Daniele, they are coated in a special layer of salt called ‘prosciuttifici’. During

the salting process, local experts gently press on the muscle mass so that the salt sinks deeply into the meat, after which the thighs are placed in cellars for roughly one day per kilogramme of weight. The legs are then rinsed in lukewarm water, creating a change in temperature that triggers the maturing process – a stage which takes a minimum of 13 months. In order to soften the ham and prevent it from drying out, the surface of the joint is smeared with a paste made of lard and rice. Experts test every leg of ham by pricking it with a horse-bone needle and smelling the aroma to assess how well the meat has matured. The result of this long and painstaking process is a rosy-red prosciutto with a sweet delicate flavour, characterised by a strong, mouth-watering aroma featuring gentle notes of dried fruit and barley. Its brilliant white fatty contours lend it a marbled appearance that gives the meat a rich tender flavour. Best enjoyed with a slice of freshly baked bread or a

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Discover Southern Europe  |  A Taste of Italy

breadstick, ‘prosciutto di San Daniele’ has a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Crudo Celebration So important is prosciutto in people’s everyday lives in the region, that in late June every year, the Aria di Festa Festival celebrates the long history of prosciutto, raising awareness of age-old traditions and the complex techniques that lie behind making this prized antipasto. Crowds take to the streets to sample local hams from a variety of producers, with music, dancing, talks, cultural events and free tastings aplenty, complete with white wine pairings featuring local ‘vino’. Locals come from far and wide to get involved in slicing masterclasses and cooking courses with renowned chefs, learning the characteristics of the area’s much-loved prosciutto, with top tips on how best to preserve the meat. 40  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Taste of Italy

Bistecca alla fiorentina is so tender, it melts in your mouth.

Flavourful fiorentina Restaurant-goers in Florence face a meaty dilemma: where to tuck into the best bistecca alla fiorentina - a rare juicy steak that is a staple of Tuscan cuisine. The region’s much-loved bistecca alla fiorentina is traditionally made from Chianina, an ancient Tuscan breed of cattle that is praised for its lean and well-marbled qualities. Cooked on a charcoal grill, bistecca alla fiorentina is tender and full of flavour, seared for just a few minutes on each side.


ith scores of restaurants claiming to serve the best bistecca alla fiorentina in town, however, it can be hard to know where to go. “We source top-quality beef to produce a full-flavoured steak that won’t let anyone down,” states Ludovico, owner of Le Cappelle Medicee, a cosy wine bar and restaurant located smack in the centre of Florence, where plates piled high with enormous slabs of meat are dished up to an international clientele. Here, the bistecca alla fiorentina is prepared in two ways: dry aged, hung for 28 days at a temperature of three degrees centigrade, or marbled, which entraps moisture in the meat, lending the beef tenderness and plenty of succulent flavour.

martyred saint who was roasted alive on hot coals. Legend says a group of English merchants and aristocrats screamed with delight when they saw the grilled meat, shouting out “Beef steak! Beef steak!”, whence the word ‘bistecca’. Weighing about a kilogramme, the perfect bistecca alla fiorentina is usually at least two inches high, (Tuscans joke that any-


thing thinner is carpaccio), its characteristic T-bone lending it its thickness. It is so tender, you can cut it with a spoon. As well as the steaks, there is also a wellthought-out selection of homemade dishes and over 100 local wines, so you can choose to pair your grilled-to-perfection bistecca alla fiorentina with a glass of full-bodied Chianti from just up the road, if you so wish. “I want to give my client what I have always sought as a client elsewhere,” says Ludovico, “hospitality, comfort and top-quality food.”

This much-loved Tuscan staple is said to date back to the Renaissance, when vast quantities of meat were grilled on large braziers in the piazza by the Church of San Lorenzo, to commemorate the eponymous Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  41

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Taste of Italy

The tradition of hospitality Imagine waking up to a breathtaking view of the Venetian Lagoon, with the silhouette of San Giorgio Maggiore island emerging slowly from the morning mist. Situated along the gondola-filled Riva degli Schiavoni, a stone’s throw from St Mark’s and the Bridge of Sighs, the Hotel Savoia & Jolanda could not be more central. A hotel for over a century, this elegant Venetian palazzo has been run by Famiglia Rado for almost 40 years. “We are like a big family,” says Alessia Davi, sales and marketing ‘Aperitivo con vista’ at the Lounge Bar. Photo: Roberto Rosa/R2 Foto

coordinator. “Most of our staff have been part of the team for quite some time.” Such is the case with chef Massimiliano Melis, who has served Italian and Venetian speThe façade of Hotel Savoia & Jolanda at night. Photo: Daniele Nalesso


cialities to the clientele of the Principessa restaurant for the past 20 years. Sitting on the outdoor terrace, basking in the sunshine, fish lovers can indulge in a tantalising selection of seafood antipasto Principessa, before tucking into al bragosso – a Venetian classic made up of mussels, clams and shrimps, or seppie in rosso: cuttlefish in tomato sauce. The restaurant’s in-house pastry chef, Giuseppe Molin, has also won fans with his freshly baked biscuits offered to hotel guests on arrival, as well as his breakfast buffet cakes. The hotel makes a great base for enjoying Venice, and their recently renewed Lounge Bar is the perfect place for an ‘aperitivo’ with a view, if you need a break from sightseeing (not to mention that happy hour drinks are half price for hotel guests). As the Italians say − salute!

A taste of Scotland in Veneto To the uninitiated, Ristorante Mulinello, tucked away in the depths of the northeastern Italian Veneto countryside, just an hour’s drive from Venice, might look like just another Italian country home. However, those in the know have been flocking to this discreet gastronomic hideaway for some time, drawn by the restaurant’s highly original combination of classical Italian cooking and super-fresh ingredients – in particular from Scotland. Salmon connoisseur Andrea Garboli has long been passionate about sourcing organic produce, and was brought in to import fresh seafood for the restaurant from Scotland’s Shetland Islands, using only suppliers with sustainable produce. The restaurant’s newly appointed chef Mirko Pistorello is also inspired by the natural pinkish hues of burnt-orange capesante scallops, purple prawns and only fish-fed produce. Star dishes include oaksmoked Scottish salmon, cooked at low temperatures and decorated with vibrant edible flowers and herbs, as well as native Sicilian scampi, red tuna from Puglia, 42  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

prawns imported from New Caledonia, and the infamous Alzata Imperiale selection of crustaceans, molluscs, and carpaccio. Spread across two intimately lit dining rooms, fish also takes pride of place in the large oval glass counter to the rear, featuring the ‘catch of the day’ from the Italian seas. But it is not just about the food. Director Michieletto Samuele is also Il Mulinello’s head sommelier and expertly pairs the


seafood with both local wines from the Alto Adige and Veneto areas as well as top wines from France. One of his top recommendations is a Cavalier Blanc de Blancs, which, he says, gives an exquisite refresh of the palate in between morsels of fish. The sparkling wine accentuates the food’s rich flavours, too. In springtime, there is nothing better than their seasonal octopus “with a glass of Vermentino Ligure, produced by fifth-generation Paolo Basoli’s Cantine Lunae.”

Catina (wine store).

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Taste of Italy

Tuna tartare.

Fresh sea urchins.

Ready to be baked, Roman style.

Fine dining.

Rome’s seafood temple Every morning, as local fisherman haul in their loads, Francesco Tripodi, the owner of Il Tempio di Iside, one of Rome’s finest seafood restaurants, eagerly waits for the daily fish auction to begin. Francesco ensures he walks away with only the highest quality fish and crustaceans: “My customers deserve the very best,” he says.


t the entrance to his restaurant, just a few feet from the Coliseum, cascades of Royal Red prawns and scampi on ice tempt diners as they arrive, as do tanks filled with live lobsters and the restaurant’s famous Alaskan king crabs. As diners make their way through their abundant courses, Francesco brings his charismatic warmth to the floor, welcoming guests in the two upstairs rooms, and in the atmospheric, medieval vault below. Meanwhile, his brother Giuseppe is passionately creating signature dishes like sea truffles,


gamberi (prawns with cherry tomatoes and pecorino cheese), as well as fresh fish of the day cooked to your choice; under salt, grilled, or in the oven with zucchini, olives and tomatoes, Roman style.

tuna tartare, stuffed cuttlefish or spaghetti with fish and capers. His philosophy is that the best food is fresh, simple and traditional, with their menu reflecting seasonal produce and the local catch of the day.

Il Tempio di Iside also has an equally fine selection of Italian and global wines, from a Tuscan Chianti Classico Doc to a Burgundy Pinot Noir Grand Cru or a Sauvignon premium from as far afield as New Zealand.

Antipasti can be eaten ‘crudi’, (raw) or ‘cotto’ (cooked), and served alongside dishes such as Carpaccio frutta di mare (marinated raw shrimp, sea urchin and oysters), calamari stuffed with artichokes, stuffed swordfish or fried mini squid, to name a few. Mains include handmade pasta with fresh seafood sauce, such as Fusilli con

Francesco’s wife, Rosely and Giuseppe’s wife, Cristina, takes great pride in the running of this popular Roman restaurant. “All our family play a part in making our restaurant a success,” Rosely says. “We love it; it’s our life!” Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  43

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Taste of Italy

A journey through taste A major naval power that once dominated trade in the Mediterranean, the Republic of Venice was allegedly founded at midday on 25 March 421. Its capital, Venice, was built on an archipelago in the heart of the lagoon. Part land, part sea, this unique and alluring city was enviably located halfway between Rome and Byzantium, attracting merchants from the world over who came to trade exotic goods, including silks, precious stones and much-desired spices. Today, a small part of La Serenissima can still be found in a picturesque corner of the city, tucked away from the tourist crowds.


t Ristorante Riviera, gregarious owner GP Cremonini sources produce from the territory of the former Republic of Venice, an area that today spans from Lake Garda to current-day Croatia. “Ingredients are strictly local and seasonal. Our guests need to experience Venice and its rich history through food,” claims Cremonini. Indeed, each dish brings this maritime city to life, offering fond, gentle nods to the city’s glorious past. Fish is freshly caught from the Venice lagoon and the Adriatic Sea, with the likes of tuna, amberjack, shrimp, eel and mullet featuring on the menu. Radish and artichoke come from Sant’Erasmo Island or nearby Treviso, while top-quality meats are sourced from Damini Macelleria & Affini in the Veneto region, the only butchery and restaurant to hold a Michelin-star in Europe. Chef Samuele 44  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

Silvestri opts for simplicity in his dishes to bring out the true flavours of each ingredient. He skilfully uses a variety of techniques to enhance the unique properties of each dish, resulting in a subtle and delicate cuisine that is the hallmark of his cooking style.


natural ingredients that work in harmony with our bodies. That, for me, is priceless. And that’s what we do daily for our Guests,” delights Cremonini, as he darts from one table to the next to take orders from his much-cherished guests, all of whom come to savour an authentic taste of this most magnificent of Italian cities. Chef Samuele Silvestri.

Dishes follow traditional recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, but are prepared here with a fresh take and a modern twist. The beautifully presented scampi tartare with tapioca is marinated in carrot and lemon juice, and topped with pumpkin seeds and dried seaweed powder that Samuele uses to accentuate and highlight the intense flavours of the sea. Soft and crunchy, the dish is light and refreshing. “Luxury is not an expensive car or a yacht. True luxury is being able to find authentic

GP Cremonini. Photo: AlviseBarsanti

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Taste of Italy

Zesty Zanze


If you thought paying for a meal in crypto-currency was a thing of the future, then think again. One of the very few places in the world that allows customers to buy food with Bitcoin has now arrived in Europe. And it is not in ultra-modern Copenhagen or in tech-friendly Stockholm. It is located in beautiful Venice, a city steeped in history where – tourists aside – life seems to have remained unchanged for centuries, with gondolas elegantly gliding down colourful canals lined with opulent villas.


anze XVI has been around since the 16th century, but it has recently had a complete makeover by a dynamic team who have sought to give the restaurant a fresh modern look while remaining true to its ancient roots. Ingredients are sourced locally and strictly follow the seasons, with fruits and greens from a nearby organic farm. Beef comes from grass-fed cattle from a trusted butchery, while fish is from local producers in the region. “In order to create the perfect cuisine, you need top-quality ingredients and a chef to bring these to life with intelligence, experience and creativity,” claims Chef Marco Galtarossa, whose five- and eight-course surprise tasting menus are a hallmark of the restaurant. The surprise factor allows Chef Galtarossa to provide a seasonal and original tasting experience by preparing individual dishes based on diners’ personal tastes. By using surprise tasting menus, the Chef also has the added flexibility to change dishes

at any time based on which ingredients he can source from suppliers. Among his varied creations are beef carpaccio served with raw and marinated radish with quince zabaglione and pine-nut mayonnaise, and smoked grilled eel served with a pak choi sauce. This is modern international fare with a splash of creativity, served in contemporary bistro-

style interiors that ooze history. Original marble floors date back to the ’60s, while the rustic ceiling beams are over two centuries old. There are quirky touches in the furnishings, too. Tables are made with reclaimed wooden poles traditionally used in Venice’s canals to delimit navigable channels or to moor boats, while stylish designer chairs exude a pinch of retro, recalling traditional seating in old Italian taverns. Interiors are contemporary with vintage accents, and the cuisine modern with a touch of traditional, making for the perfect blend in this forward-looking city that is a custodian of centuries-old traditions.

The colourful Venetian building dates back to the 16th century.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  A Taste of Italy

Venice on your plate


Tucked away in the Venice backstreets, near the former shipyard’s ‘arsenal’, is the Hostaria da Franz – an address for your little black book. A favourite with actors and celebrities, this high-end restaurant has been run by the Gasparini family for over three decades. “It’s our 35th anniversary this year,” says Maurizio, the owner. “We started with my father, Gianfranco, and my grandmother’s recipes.” The history of the place is a much older one, though. Franz, after whom the restaurant is named, was an Austrian soldier who fell in love with a Venetian and opened up an inn, some 230 years ago. “He is also

regarded by some as the inventor of the Spritz,” smiles Maurizio. “We have no proof but it’s nevertheless a fascinating anecdote.” These days, the restaurant specialises in, and a dynamic team led by chef Ross takes pride in, a modern interpretation of traditional Venetian fare. All the big classics are on the menu, from the ‘sarde in saor’ to ‘baccalà mantecato’, as well as more hard-to-find specialities like ‘risotto di gò’, typical of the island of Burano. Another speciality is ‘Gò’ – an elaborate recipe, prepared over a couple of days using gudgeon, the fish which lurk in the muddy waters of Venice’s lagoon. “These dishes are precious and there is a lot of work involved,” explains Maurizio. “This is why dining here isn’t just about eating. We want to tell the stories behind what’s in your dish, from my daily visits to the Rialto mar-

ket on the hunt for the day’s fresh catch, to our chef’s trips to the islands looking for aromatic herbs full of the salty spray of the sea. Our food means tradition and culture and we want our customers to get the full picture.” Although seafood is the specialty of the restaurant, Hostaria da Franz also has several tasty dishes that will keep vegetarian customers happy, like this zucchini mille-feuille.

An eggtastic experience for egg lovers Exploring Milan? Looking for a restaurant open all day or a cosy venue for a weekend brunch? Well L’Ov Milano could be the right option, especially if you are craving anything from carbonara to eggnog. Scrambled, poached, fried, hard or soft boiled – the accent is on the most complete food of them all, a true powerhouse of wellness: the egg – ‘L’Ov’ in the Milanese dialect. A clever wordplay, as to anyone non-local, the name L’Ov Milano bears a striking resemblance to the English word ‘love’. “The two things are connected anyway,” explains Lidia di Donato, communications manager. “The egg is the most nostalgic comfort food, something that brings us back to a family dimension, to the stories our mothers and grandmothers used to tell us, to beautiful memories. It’s about feeling pampered, and loved.” L’Ov Milano has two branches in central Milan (a third is scheduled to open for the end of 2019) – a bistro in Viale Premuda and a newer addition in Via Solari, in the heart of the trendy fashion and design district. Both have the same cosy-meets-retro feel in common 46  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

– think a New York-inspired atmosphere and the vintage furniture of the ‘old Milan’.

Egg lovers will be spoilt for choice, from decadent classics like Eggs Benedict to the always-popular pasta carbonara, also available in a scrumptious variation with truffle. The dishes comprise the highest quality, strictly seasonal ingredients. Organic eggs, for example, come from the woods of the Valtellina region, in the far north of Lombardy. “Hens roam free in the woods, living off the leaves of chestnut trees,” explains Lidia di Donato: and you can definitely taste the difference.

Eggs Benedict are a favourite with L’Ov Milano’s customers.


Established in 1867 during La Belle Époque, Restaurant Savini has long been regarded as integral a part of Milan as the Duomo and La Scala opera house. Long considered the most elegant restaurant in Milan, Restaurant Savini has played host to celebrities from composer Guiseppe Verdi, opera singer Maria Callas and F. T. Marinetti who signed the Futurist Manifesto here in 1909. Today Savini, divided into Caffè Bistrot (ground floor) and Ristorante (fine dining restaurant,on the 1st floor), maintains its close connection with the city’s history with special dishes like the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Teatro della Scala, created specially by Executive chef Giovanni Bon.

Via Ugo Foscolo, angolo Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - Milano phone: +39 – (0) 272003433 | email: |

Discover Southern Europe  |  Cover Feature  |  Omar Allibhoy

Omar Allibhoy – ‘the Antonio Banderas of cooking’ If you have not heard of Omar Allibhoy yet, you will soon. The 35-year-old Spanish founder of the Tapas Revolution restaurant chain is on a mission to fly the flag for Spanish cuisine around the world, and is fast doing exactly that. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PRESS PHOTOS


he idea of bringing the bustle and brio of the traditional Spanish tapas bar with its sizzling patatas bravas and tantalising tortillas to a wider British audience might seem a little incongruous. Particularly when you are trying to beam up that notion and transplant it to the midst of the not famously atmospheric British shopping centre. However, producing top-quality tapas, which actually tastes like the tapas you would get in Spain and doing so at a price that is accessible to a wide audience, was always Allibhoy’s goal. “I started realising that nobody in Britain cooks Spanish food in their homes,” the charismatic chef tells me in his fluent but still heavily Spanish-accented English, when we meet at Tapas Revolution. “Everybody goes on holiday to Spain in this country, but nobody cooks Spanish food. They cook

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all these complicated pasta sauces and Chinese stir fries but never a Spanish omelette! So I started wondering what’s wrong? Why?” “I also realised that there was no ambassador for Spanish food,” he continues. “You had Antonio Carluccio talking about Italian food and Ken Hom talking about Chinese and Raymond Blanc for French, but there was nobody in the Spanish market. So that’s when I started thinking ‘Maybe I need to spread the word of Spanish cuisine because this is what I know’. And that became my tapas revolution.” Since Allibhoy opened the first Tapas Revolution at West London’s Westfield shopping centre in 2010, the chef, described by Gordon Ramsay as ‘the Antonio Banderas of cooking’, has become a regular on TV on the likes of Sunday Brunch, The One Show, This Morning, Masterchef, and Saturday Kitchen.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Cover Feature  |  Omar Allibhoy

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Cover Feature  |  Omar Alibhoy

Tapas Revolution has also proved so successful that he has opened a further six branches: in Birmingham; Sheffield; Newcastle; Bath; Windsor and at Bluewater in Kent, with an eighth branch due to open at Westfield Stratford in June 2019. The Westfield branch will make it the largest Spanish restaurant group outside Spain. Against considerable odds, Allibhoy has managed to pull off that rare feat – a restaurant which is as popular with the public as it is with the critics. It is quite an achievement for a 35-yearold by anybody’s standards. But Allibhoy not only loved cooking from an early age, but also showed entrepreneurial flair from a young age, too. Allibhoy grew up in Madrid with his Spanish parents and Indian paternal grandfather. When he was six, his aunt Marisa – “a very important influence on me being a chef because she was a fantastic cook” – gave him a book called Mi Primer Libro de Cocina (My First Cookery Book). “I learnt how to do everything in the book,” remembers Allibhoy, “and I still have it at 50  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

home. I know all the recipes and now I cook them with my son, who is five, and makes the pizzas I used to make.” “At a very early age, I became quite a competent cook,” he tells me and, by the time he was eight, his mother named him the ‘head chef of the house’. His passion was for cakes, but when his parents started complaining that there was too much food

and that some of it was going to waste, he swiftly came up with a solution. With an entrepreneurial spirit that would no doubt impress Sir Alan Sugar, he started knocking on the neighbours’ doors, selling any leftover pieces of the cakes, until they were all sold: “and that’s how I started in business!” By the time he was 15, he had got himself his first professional kitchen job, as a kitchen porter washing up at a pizza restaurant in Madrid. But it was three years later that he landed the job which he says really formed him as a cook and businessman. Allibhoy had heard that Ferran Adrià and his chef brother Albert, renowned for their pioneering molecular cuisine and multi-award-winning Costa Brava restaurant, El Bullí, were due to open a new restaurant project with leading Spanish hotel chain NH, and that there were jobs going. Over the next two years, Allibhoy not only learnt about techniques – “the molecular cuisine – the caviars and the foams”, but also about organisation. “They were very or-

Discover Southern Europe  |  Cover Feature  |  Omar Allibhoy

silent for two minutes and I thought ‘Oh, I’ve messed up’. But from then on, they started calling it ‘small plates’ instead of tapas, because I think he actually went and told Gordon.” After a subsequent stint at the high-profile London restaurant El Pirata de Tapas in Notting Hill, including an appearance in the ‘pro kitchen’ spot on Masterchef in 2010, Allibhoy joined forces with his current business partners, restaurant industry veterans Douglas Smillie and Ken Sanker, to start Tapas Revolution. Allibhoy’s eyes well up with tears as he tells me about his “audition” meeting with Smillie, who was keen to sound him out as a potential business partner.

ganised in the systems,” he explains, “and the way they train. Just everything was of a way higher level and calibre than I had ever experienced, and that really stayed with me. Even though there was the flair of creativity, it was very robotic, very streamlined and I’ve brought that with me in everything I’ve done since in my life.” At 21, Allibhoy came to London and, within a few years, was working under head chef Jason Atherton at Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred Maze restaurant, in a role he describes as “the most demanding job I’ve ever had.” He had gone to Maze because the restaurant was serving what they described at the time as tapas, but which Allibhoy believed was anything but, and eventually told Atherton so. “One day, Jason and I were walking back to the tube and I said ‘You know it’s not tapas, don’t you?’, and he was completely shocked. He said ‘What do you mean?’. I said ‘Tapas dishes are meant to be shared, so everybody at the table can grab exactly the same thing whether it’s a piece of squid or mushrooms or whatever’. He was

Smillie asked him what had been his first ever professional kitchen job, and when Allibhoy mentioned that it had been the Chicago Downtown Pizza Restaurant in Madrid, Smillie’s ears pricked up. In one of those strange life coincidences, it turned out the British owner of the pizza restaurant was an old friend of his. Smillie phoned his friend and put her on speakerphone. ‘Angela’, he said, ‘you don’t happen to remember a 15-year-old boy working at Chicago Downtown Pizza when you first opened do you?’. ‘Yes’, she said, ‘I do’. ‘I remember he was a local young boy who really wanted to cook’, she said. ‘His name was Omar’. ‘Well’, said Smillie, ‘he’s quite a big deal here in London now and I’m thinking of going into business with him’. ‘I knew he would make it far’, said his friend. ‘That’s the thing I remember about him – he was very very driven’. “At that point,” remembers Allibhoy, “Douglas shook my hand and said ‘No more questions’. And that’s how we went into business.” “Sorry about this,” says Allibhoy, as he wipes the tears from his eye, “I’ve never cried in an interview – really. But I get very emotional thinking about it. It’s such a story!” Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  51

Discover THEME Southern Europe  |  Spain For Foodies SPECIAL   |   SPAIN FOR FOODIES

Spain for foodies From tapas bars in London’s hippest enclaves to Michelin-starred Spanish chefs topping the World’s Best Restaurant lists, Spanish food has become the flavour of the moment over recent years. Once something of a poor and unloved stayat-home sister to its chic cordon bleu neighbour in France, it is now enjoying a well-deserved place on the international stage.


he star of the Spanish food show is undoubtedly the quality of the produce and it is that very quality which characterises the regionally rich and varied cuisine of Spain.

For those with more modest budgets but equally keen appetites, the many bars and restaurants offer a dizzyingly high standard of fare to locals – and lucky visitors, with exacting gourmet demands.

San Sebastian is the destination of choice for serious foodies who, armed with pocket guides and insider tips, can enjoy a Basque city that boasts more Michelin stars per capita than virtually anywhere else in the world.

The city’s coastal location on the Bay of Biscay guarantees a steady supply of sparklingly fresh seafood and the dozens of bars offering pintxos (the local variant on the ubiquitous tapas) vie with each other to

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Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid. Photo: César Lucas Abreu © Madrid Destino

produce the most creative and imaginative morsels. Moving over to Spain’s easterly Mediterranean coast, Barcelona and the Costa Brava: just to its north, is the other corner of Spain with a phenomenally high concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants and exceptional cooking. The Costa Brava was, after all, home to Ferran Adrià’s legendary El Bulli and is still home to El Celler de Can Roca – repeatedly voted the top restaurant in the world. Meanwhile, although Madrid’s old town may not be as Instagram-friendly as San Sebastian, Barcelona or indeed the Costa

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain For Foodies

Brava, the purchasing power of the city’s restaurant and hotel proprietors and the variety of the city’s outstanding food markets mean that some of the finest produce in Spain is on offer here. Madrileños love nothing better than a ‘cocido’ - a rich and filling stew featuring chickpeas and a variety of meats as its star ingredients. Its origins are disputed, but the smart money is on it being of Sephardic Jewish origin and for the real cocido deal, look no further than the Spanish capital’s old town where you will find the dish on many a menu. Tuck in with a glass – or several, of inky red wine.

ly when paired with an ice-cold glass of the local Cruzcampo beer or the bone-dry sherries of nearby Cádiz. Or, for a change, head to the leafy Maria Luisa park for some welcome shade from the intense Sevillano heat and a cooling glass of the local crushed-ice concoction that is a granizado de limon. For the most Spanish dish of them all – paella, look no further than Valencia, where the dish originated. Paella-making is an art around these parts and, once you have tasted one there, you will never accept being palmed off with substandard tourist offerings elsewhere again.

Heading south, Seville’s Santa Cruz barrio is one of the liveliest and indeed loveliest parts of a picture postcard pretty city and its tightly winding side streets are home to some of the finest tapas bars.

The original, rustic countryside version – and to any food connoisseur’s mind, the best – features chicken or rabbit with snails. Locals also swear by the sweet, milky white, tiger-nut based drink Horchata, to cool you down.

The options are endless, but the crisply fried fish is both exquisite and moreish, particular-

Further north, La Rioja may be most famous for its wines but the capital of the region

– Logroño – is home to one of the most vibrant tapas cultures in the country. The miniscule medieval streets of the old town are home to an extraordinarily high concentration of bars offering small plates of tasty morsels, from sizzling sardines to garlicky prawns. Competition is rife and standards are accordingly high, so although the title of Spain’s finest tapas destination may be hotly contested, Logroño can unquestionably throw its hat into the ring with the best of them. But for the chef’s choice of seafood, from oysters to cockles and clams, look no further than Galicia. Over on Spain’s western coast, the Rias Baixas or ‘low rivers’ form a dramatic backdrop to a region that is sometimes unfairly neglected. Crisp Albarino wines enjoy pride of place on restaurant tables here and the local seafood they accompany is arguably the finest in Spain. As they say in Spain – que aproveche!

La Rioja. Photo: Vinedos Dinastia Vivanco

Photo: Christopher Willan+Greentraveller

Barrio de Santa Cruz. Sevilla.

Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  53

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain For Foodies

Dinner with Gaudí If you are visiting the Catalan capital, chances are you will be visiting some of maverick architect Antoni Gaudí’s famous buildings: and at one of the most wellknown – La Pedrera – you can eat inside it too.


ituated on the elegant Passeig de Gràcia boulevard, surrounded by designer boutiques and luxury hotels, Cafè de la Pedrera is located inside Gaudí’s renowned masterpiece of the same name. Commissioned by the Mila family, Gaudí designed and oversaw construction of the building between 1906 and 1912. At the

time, there was considerable opposition to the building and people were opposed to its quirky style. Fast forward 107 years, however, and today, it is one of the most celebrated buildings in the city, welcoming around 3,000 visitors per day. Whilst thousands of visitors tour La Pedrera, not many know that you can dine here too, admiring parts of the interior without the crowds, and without having to buy a ticket. “The space was first occupied by Restaurante de la Pensión Hispanoamericana, and more than 100 years later, in 2012, the restaurant reopened as Cafè de la Pedrera,” says manager Ana Alvarado. Inside, it is elegant, yet relaxed, with many reminders that you are sitting inside one of Gaudí’s most renowned works. Think swirly-patterned ceilings that make you feel

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as if you are sitting under a sea of waves, organically-shaped pillars and quirky lamps. During the day, the space feels light, bright and informal, whilst by night, atmospheric lighting and Gaudí’s undulating ceiling transform the café into an intimate, romantic venue. Smart waiters in starched uniforms serve guests throughout the day – whether it is for breakfasts, lunches, tapas or main meals. In the mornings, there is toast and eggs as well as coffee and cakes in the afternoons. Alternatively, for lunch or dinner, there are both à la carte and set menus with Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as cod with samphire; pork ribs with honey and soya sauce; or steak with potato puree and black chanterelle mushrooms. “We use quality produce to create Catalan classics with a modern touch, without losing the authenticity of the product,” explains Alvarado.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain For Foodies

Fine dining amidst the vineyards of Tarragona Whether it is Spain, France or the hills of Tuscany, the idea of the must-visit finedining restaurant tucked away in the nether regions of gorgeous countryside has almost become a cliché. But at the Tossal Gros restaurant in Catalonia and the surrounding Escoda Sanahuja wine-growing estate, they do things a bit differently: both when it comes to the food, and indeed, their wines. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: CELLER ESCODA


ur wines taste like no-one else’s,” explains vineyard owner and restaurateur Joan Ramon Escoda. “Even though we’re near the Penedès (the wellknown wine and Cava producing region nearby), our wines taste nothing like theirs. Our wines are warmer and closer in style to French wines and our Pinot Noir more rustic and wild.” “We’re also less than 20 miles from the sea,” he continues, “so you can taste those salty, mineral notes too. What really makes our wines different, though, is the fact that we don’t use any chemical additives or sulphurs. Everything we produce is natural and organic and that’s really important to us. It’s about respecting nature and the landscape.”

It was with this ethos in mind that Escoda decided to open a restaurant amidst the vineyards. He brought in American expat chef Kaya Jacobs, who had been working in Barcelona and was equally keen on doing something which focused on sustainability, freshness and honesty. “My cooking is based on a broad philosophy,” says Jacobs. ‘Basically, I only use local ingredients that are in season, so the food becomes an expression of where we are.”

of my signature dishes: grilled squid with pork belly, baby fava beans and wild thyme.” Jacobs also uses locally foraged ingredients, from spring flowers and sprouts to wild blackberries and figs in summer, and mushrooms in the autumn, but his philosophy really comes together in Tossal Gros’s signature pudding – fennel marmalade served with tangy goat’s milk yoghurt, citrus segments and olive oil. It sounds unusual but the dish has proved one of the most popular on the menu. “We use wild fennel for the marmalade,” explains Jacobs, “so it’s very intense and it just really wows people every time.”

“There’s a strong local identity to what I’m doing,” he explains, “with a dash of my own influences added in. The Catalan tradition of ‘mar i muntanya’ (ie ‘sea and mountain’, or as we would say in English, ‘surf and turf’) is a good example. My own take on that is one Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  55

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain For Foodies

Quality wines and ancient traditions in Catalonia’s Priorat Ask anybody to name a Spanish wine region and they will most likely mention La Rioja. But over the last few decades, oenophiles and those in-the-know have also been talking about the Catalan region of Priorat. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: RAFAEL LÓPEZ-MONNÉ / DOQ PRIORAT


est-known are the area’s full-bodied, intense reds – Garnacha and Cariñena, whose highly concentrated, mineral character gives them a ripe and warm fruitiness, with powerful cherry, tar and liquorice notes.

But although the Priorat wines’ reputation may have only started shining internationally in recent years, wine is nothing new to the area. This dramatic, mountainous region, about two hours’ drive south-west of Barcelona in the province of Tarragona, has

been home to wine-making since the 12th century, when Carthusian monks first settled and planted vines on the surrounding hillsides at the Priorato dei Scala Dei monastery. Covering a vast area of nearly 45 acres, the DOQ Priorat (Denominació d’Origen Qualificada Priorat) region is home to more than 550 wine growers. But unlike the vast, corporate wineries in some of Spain’s better known wine growing regions, many of the 106 vineyards in the Priorat are family-run businesses or co-operatives where the growers still take a personal pride and passion in cultivating and creating their highly individual wines. A large number of the wineries are now open to the public, and the region has its own designated wine route – the ‘Ruta del Vino’. Many of the vines themselves date back over a century and, like any wine growing

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region, the climate has a profound effect on the wines. The region’s mountainous terrain means winters are intensely cold whilst summers are powerfully hot with minimal rainfall. With vines planted on the slopes and hillsides in the mountains and valleys dotted around the Siurana river, they produce an unusually small but high-quality harvest, and the result is wines which are intensely aromatic and flavoursome. The Regulating Council of the DOQ has worked hard to preserve what has been a central part of local life and also certifies and approves each vineyard, its wine growing methods and its wines according to its strict quality control criteria and classifications. “This is an exciting time for the wines of the Priorat,” says Salustià Àlvarez, president of the regulating council of the DOQ. “We have been making wines here for centuries so it’s wonderful that more and more people around the world are beginning to learn about our wines and enjoy them.”

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain For Foodies

Sharing plates on the Costa Brava


Meet the former El Bulli chefs blazing a culinary trail by the sea in Cadaqués. As home to the Roca brothers’ El Celler de Can Roca and Jordi Cruz’s Àbac, amongst many other eateries, Catalonia has become a hotbed for top cuisine.

be family-friendly. As they say, “We want to make diners’ experiences informal, dynamic and fun”.

Following hot on the trail is Compartir, located in the whitewashed Costa Brava coastal village of Cadaqués, just a couple of hours’ journey north of Barcelona, famous for its connections with surrealist maestro Salvador Dali. Compartir is the brainchild of chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch, who met while working in the kitchens of former World’s Best Restaurant - El Bulli. The trio opened their restaurant in 2012, to combine their talents and create their own menus. The concept behind the restaurant is based on sharing several dishes - ‘compartir’ means ‘to share’ in Spanish: “Just as Spanish families do at home,” explains Casañas. Since its opening, Compartir has developed a reputation as one of the best restaurants in the region. In fact, so successful has it been, that Mateu, Oriol and Eduard have also

subsequently opened the Michelin-starred Disfrutar restaurant in Barcelona. The menu at Compartir focuses on exquisitely-presented dishes which still give the nod to the region’s culinary traditions, such as tuna cannelloni with olives and capers; anchovies with fresh almond cheese, truffle oil, honey and pine nuts; or poached egg with carbonara sauce. “The inspiration for our dishes comes from the wild Costa Brava region itself, and focuses on the concept of ‘mar y montaña’ (sea and mountain) featuring lots of fresh seafood, as well as farm produce, meats and rice dishes,” says Casañas. However, far from the sometimes stiff and formal experience found in some fine dining establishments, Mateu, Oriol and Eduard have created an atmosphere that is elegant but relaxed and informal enough to

Tuna cannelloni at Compartir. Photo: Francesc Guillamet

Eduard Xatruch, Oriol Castro & Mateu Casañas. Photo: Maribel R de Erenchun

Mouth-watering Murcia The Spanish city of Murcia may not immediately spring to mind for a foodie break, but in recent years it has established itself as one of the country’s best culinary destinations.


little-known Spanish region that produces some of the country’s best fare.

“Most foreigners haven’t heard of Murcia,” explains David López, owner and executive chef of Local de Ensayo, a fashionable restaurant tucked away on the outskirts of Murcia. “Yet it is home to impressive gastronomic delights.” “We have seafood,” he continues, “outstanding fresh greens and meats like Chato Murciano, a domestic breed of pig that is prized for its succulent lean meat.” Ingredients here are locally grown, with vegetables like wild Swiss chard, peas, artichokes, mushrooms, truffles and wild potatoes, all selected from family-run producers from the surrounding countryside. Fish comes from nearby Mar Menor, a salty sea lagoon where ancient fishing methods dating back to the Phoenician times are still used today. By installing a barrier of reeds, fishermen trap the fish in an enclosed area,

preventing them from escaping towards cooler currents, and subsequently capturing them with small nets hooked to a pole. But although ingredients are sourced following traditional ancient methods, the cuisine at Local de Ensayo is anything but démodé. “Our experimental cuisine is lovingly developed and prepared,” López promises. For López, the real importance and focus of the food lies not so much in the presentation, but in the array of creative cooking techniques he uses, which come to life in the flavour and texture of each dish. With its whitewashed brick walls, hanging light bulbs and mismatched chairs, the restaurant has a stylishly convivial feel. Designed by Soraya Olivares, the lively interiors reflect the philosophy of the restaurant: to create simple yet inventive dishes made with fine seasonal ingredients in this

Chef David López is at the helm of the restaurant. Photo: Maria Caparros

Photo: David Flores

Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  57

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain For Foodies

The riches of the sea Jutting out into the cool waters of the Atlantic off the coast of Galicia in northwestern Spain, the rocky peninsula of Cape Finisterre was once believed to be the end of the world (‘finis terrae’ is Latin for ‘the end of the world’). For hundreds of years, sailors considered this stretch of open sea to be among the most awe-inspiring and mystical on Earth. These days, the coast allures plenty of seaweed collectors, including experienced divers in search of some of the world’s best varieties of seaweed. TEXT: KIKI DEERE  |  PHOTOS: XULIO REY


amily-run Galician company PortoMuiños has been sourcing this underwater vegetable since the ’80s. Every week, seaweed collectors select top-quality specimens, transporting bundles of these healthy greens to the Porto-Muiños factory nearby, to be processed. For over 15 years, the company has been researching how best to cultivate rare species of algae in order to avoid their extinction in the wild. 58  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

We most readily associate seaweed with Japanese cuisine (‘nori’ is famously dried in sheets and used to roll sushi), and it is not quite part of our daily diet – not yet, that is. Co-founder of Porto-Muiños, Rosa Mirás, claims: “Seaweed has huge health benefits. It’s high in nutrients, rich in fibre, protein, iron and iodine, and has excellent antioxidant properties. It’s the food of the future.” Indeed, seaweed’s health boosting properties

cannot be denied. As well as being packed with vitamins, it is an excellent source of minerals, including calcium, potassium and magnesium. “I hope that one day, seaweed becomes a staple and is found in everyone’s kitchen cupboards. It can be used daily, added to a soup or sprinkled on a little risotto, just as you would parsley. It can even be used in desserts.”

A sea of potential With its variety of flavours, colours and textures, seaweed is an exceptionally versatile ingredient and can be used in most dishes, contributing not only to the taste of the dish but also adding the much-needed vitamins and minerals that our diets so often lack. Each and every species has particular characteristics that vary depending on where the plants grow, whether in the open sea,

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain For Foodies

by the coast or on rocks. Translucent bright green sea lettuce, for example, has a strong clammy flavour and can be consumed raw in salads, or cooked in soups. ‘Wakame’, a dark green alga that has been consumed in Japan for centuries, has a strong flavour and texture reminiscent of Swiss chard. The light brown ’bifurcaria’, found in rock pools not far from the shore and known for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, is said to have a subtle peach flavour. ‘Laurencia’, a red alga that grows in temperate and tropical waters, has spicy undertones and a peppery taste, making it ideal to be used as a condiment. With thousands of varieties, there is plenty to suit all tastes.

Educating on the nutritional benefits of seaweed Rosa admits it was a challenge to educate people on the health benefits of seaweed. “People think of seaweed as something dirty that lies on the beach, something that is only used as garden fertiliser; something that’s not eaten.” But perceptions are changing. Worldwide, people are taking more of an interest in what they eat. Unlike a few decades ago, consumers now want to know the properties of the food they consume, nutritional value, total calories, and so on. “We have tried to make people aware of the health benefits of seaweed. We didn’t want consumers to change what they were eating but we wanted them to introduce seaweed as a new ingredient to their dishes. People were receptive to the idea and they soon started adding seaweed to soups, salads and even paella,” explains Rosa. Over the course of the years, Rosa and her husband Antonio have chatted widely to the

community to educate them on the many health benefits of seaweed. They have set up cookery classes for children and have given talks at schools to make little ones aware of its unique properties. At the PortoMuiños plant, a biologist takes visitors on educational tours, accompanying guests to the seafront to learn about the great variety of algae present in the Atlantic. Tours also

include cooking classes, where guests can sample different types of seaweed and exchange ideas and recipes. With plenty of inventive ways to use seaweed, it seems straightforward to incorporate this superfood into our everyday cooking: and with all of its nutritional values, why would we not?

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain For Foodies


Tapas made easy If you are travelling to or around Spain, chances are, you are likely to be looking for some top-notch tapas. However, there are times when you may not want to spend hours queuing outside the bar that every tourist in town is flocking to, nor do you want to take your chances with the cosy looking but packed locals’ bar, unsure of what you are going to get. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: LIZARRAN


his is where Lizarran comes in. I first discovered the Basque tapas bar on the cobbled main plaza in Girona, drawn in by a tantalising display of pinchos – the Basquestyle mini open sandwiches, appetisingly displayed on the bar. Atop fresh baguette-style bread, choices included salivating slivers of jamon serrano, smoked salmon, cheese and the Spanish sausage, sobresada. There were also tapas bar classics such as patatas bravas and ensaladilla russa – a delicious, mayonnaise rich, potato salad. The décor is very much in the style of traditional Spanish bars with a wooden bar and exposed brick walls, and servers regularly 60  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

emerge from the kitchens bearing trays of freshly prepared, tasty looking hot morsels. Mouth-watering croquettes (croquetas) turn up, either of ham or garlic prawns, vegetable tempura, mushrooms in pastry as well as bite-sized pieces of crispy fried fish, and there is a huge range of other dishes. There are branches of Lizarran in most cities across Spain and the bars have proved a huge hit with both Spaniards and visitors since the first branch opened in Sitges in 1988. There are now more than 300 branches of Lizarran across Spain as well as in 13 other countries around the world, from America to China and from El Salvador to Georgia.

“We take Spanish cuisine around the world,” says Sara Vega, marketing and communications director for the Comes Group – the parent company which owns Lizarran. “But it’s not just about the food. It’s about the Spanish way of living and eating, of enjoying traditional food in a relaxed and comfortable environment.” The Comes Group specialises in quality cooking at accessible prices in a variety of styles, and their empire also includes The Counter – for artisan, quality burgers, Pieology – for Californian-style pizzas, and Pasta City, which, as the name suggests, dishes up pasta like they do in Italy. Back at Lizarran meanwhile, the pinchos and tapas are available all day, and sitting at the bar with some pinchos and a beer: this feels very Spanish indeed.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain For Foodies

La Mamona Aravaca


A foodie find on the outskirts of Madrid As any seasoned traveller will know, the best foodie finds are sometimes located off the beaten track: not least in Madrid. Tucked away to the northwest of the city, half an hour by train from the centre of the Spanish capital, lies the affluent Aravaca neighbourhood, home to La Mamona Aravaca – the latest addition to one of the city’s most successful restaurant groups, Grupo Lalala. Since it opened in the summer of 2017, La Mamona has fast been drawing in fans, from locals and in-the-know visitors alike, thanks to its elegant, airy interior and extensive, quality menu. The large central space is a contemporary take on the traditional Spanish restaurant/bar, with a long bar, wooden beamed ceiling, traditional style decorative floor tiling and floor-to-ceiling picture windows looking out to a pretty terrace. Similarly, the menu brings rustic Spanish cooking up to date. There is a mix of classic Spanish tapas such as croquetas de jamon (ham croquettes) or cod tortilla with padron peppers, or the Lalala Group’s own

innovative creations, such as ‘las patatas de japo con salsa kimunchi y alga wakame’ – basically fried potatos with Korean kimunchi sauce and seaweed. Other favourites include Galician razor clams, scallops, mussels and anchovies, fried eggs with octopus as well as Basquestyle pinchos – small open sandwiches with toppings such as steak tartare or Spanish tortilla. But it is not only bite-sized tapas and sharing dishes on offer. There are also elegantly presented main dishes like grilled hake with wok-fried vegetables or wild boar with potatoes. “We wanted to create somewhere relaxing,” says Sara of the Lalala Group. “Some-

where where people can escape from their everyday lives and spend time with friends, colleagues or family. Somewhere to enjoy delicious food in a beautiful space.” La Mamona Aravaca, Camino de la Zarzuela, 23, 28023 Madrid, Spain

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Diary Dates Our round-up of the best Southern European festivals, exhibitions, concerts and events happening in Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and Britain this month TEXT: HANNAH KROLLE

Cherry blossom, Vignola. Photo: Fodazione di Vignola

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Carnival of Santa Cruz, Tenerife 27 February 27 – 9 March Rhythm, colour, flamboyance, luxury – the carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the most ‘Brazilian’ of all the Spanish carnivals and attracts over 200,000 people to the heart of the city. For 15 days, the streets of the Canary Islands capital come alive with ‘joie de vivre’, freedom and extravagance. Watch in wonder as hundreds of women

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

The Blaze. Photo: Paul Rousteau

from across the island dress to impress as they vie for the title of Carnival Queen.

The Blaze perform at The Roundhouse, London, UK 12 March French dance music duo, The Blaze, come to London to perform their eagerly-awaited

debut album Dancehall. The French duo, formed by cousins Guillaume and Jonathan Alric – both successful music producers and film directors, released their debut track Virile in 2016, followed by Territory in 2017 and Heaven a year later, and have fast been gaining a growing following for their cinematic videos and emotive slow-paced dance sounds.

‘Las Fallas’, Valencia, Spain 15 – 19 March Every year, Valencia celebrates the arrival of spring with one of the most spectacular fiestas in Spain. Like a five-night-long cross between New Year’s Eve fireworks and world-class carnival rolled into one. Things get going on the night of 15 March when the ‘falleros and falleras’ – as the city’s parade organisers are known – put up 20-foot-high Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  63

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Pierre Bonnard at Tate Modern. Photo: Tate Modern

64  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

St Joseph’s Day, Santarém, Portugal.

papier-mâché ‘giants’ with prizes awarded for the best one. Do not miss the flower displays laid out in front of the ornate tapestry of Valencia’s patron saint, Saint Vincent of Saragossa.

Christian Dior – V&A, London Until 14 July The V&A’s exhibition, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, traces the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers, as well as the six artistic directors who have succeeded him. The show spans the decades from 1947 to the present day, exploring both the French designer’s own fascination with Britain and his enduring influence on fashion. Highlights include the famous Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, as well as other handmade pieces.

St. Joseph’s Day – Dia de São José, Santarém Portugal 19 March Let your hair down with the locals in the historic city of Santarém, an hour’s drive

north of Lisbon. Celebrating the city’s patron saint, St Joseph, this massive festival sees locals come from miles around to enjoy horse shows, fado nights, folk dancing, bullfights and traditional markets. Look out for the traditional ‘tasquinhas’ or bars in which to savour local food and wine from the surrounding Ribatejo region.

town of Vignola in the Modena province of northern Italy celebrates in style with a free festival. Look out for lavishly costumed street parades, concerts, exhibitions and food stalls. There is more to see – and taste – nearby too, as Vignola is also at the start of Modena’s ‘Food and Wine Trail’.

Cilegi in Fiore - Cherry Blossom Festival in Vignola, Italy 23 March – 14 April To celebrate the arrival of spring and the cherry trees in blossom, the Renaissance

Pierre Bonnard at Tate Modern, London Until 6 May Renowned for his use of intense colour and small brush strokes, post-impressionist master Pierre Bonnard is the subject of a

Photo: Carnaval Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Issue 2  |  March 2019  |  65

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Christian Dior, The V&A. Photo: The V&A

major exhibition at Tate Modern – the first in the UK for 20 years. Born in 1867 and known as an ‘intimist’, Bonnard was also famous for the intimacy of his paintings, which often featured sunlit gardens and interiors, nudes and ordinary domestic scenes.

Animalia Fashion Exhibition at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy 8 February - 5 May In contrast to the Renaissance masterpieces for which it is famous, Florence’s Uffizi Gallery’s new show, Animalia Fashion exhibition, takes a look at how nature inspires 20th Century Haute Couture fashion. With nearly a hundred fashion pieces, shoes, accessories and jewellery spread over 18 rooms, the exhibition looks at how fashion mimics nature, with pieces inspired by insects, lobsters, hedgehogs and snakes. The show also explores the impact of climate change on the animal world and the rising extinction of many species. 66  |  Issue 2  |  March 2019

Santarém, Portugal.

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