Discover Southern Europe, Issue 4, May 2019

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I S S U E 4 | M AY 2 019


The Best Wines and Wineries IN FRANCE


Coco Dávez talks art and Instagram P R O M O T I N G

F R A N C E ,   S PA I N ,   I TA LY   &   P O R T U G A L

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Contents



M AY 20 1 9

28 the most luxurious hotels and what makes them stand out from the crowd.

12 The Best Wines and Wineries in France Wine trends may come and go, but French vintages remain at the top of the list for wine-lovers in-the-know. We visit some of France’s top wineries, talking to their owners about their passion for their wines and ‘terroir’ and discovering the secrets behind some of the country’s best tipples.

40 Rising star artist Coco Dávez talks art and Instagram She may only be 29 years’ old, but Spanish artist Coco Dávez has been making serious waves in the international art world and is about to hold her first UK exhibition at prestigious London gallery, Maddox. We talk to her about her art, rebelling against her parents and how Instagram changed her life.

28 The 20 Best Things to do in Puglia With its spectacular Mediterranean coastline and whitewashed hill towns, the region known as the heel in Italy’s ‘boot’ is one of the country’s most fascinating. From sandy beaches and boat trips to sparkling wine and pasta, we bring you 20 of the top ways to discover ‘la dolce vita’ – Puglia style. 36 Special Places to Stay


From spectacular French coastal locations and interiors by design legend Philippe Starck, to golf courses and organic olive oil spas in rural Spain, we look at three of

46 France’s Top Fine-Dining Restaurants France has long been synonymous with fine dining and in this special feature we travel the length and breadth of the country to explore some of its top Michelin-starred restaurants.


Southern European Style


Design Finds


Films & Books


Diary Dates Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  3

Discover Southern Europe  |  Editor’s note

Dear Reader,

Discover Southern Europe Issue 4, May 2019

May is one of those lush times of the year when spring’s full promise bursts into flower across southern Europe, not least at Girona’s spectacular Temps de Flor flower festival (see our Diary Dates pages for more details.)

Print Uniprint

Kiki Deere Lisa Gerard Sharp Kate Harvey Matthew Hirtes Ingrid Opstad Harun Osmanovic Martin Pilkington Hannah Jane Thompson Katie Turner Claire Webb Heidi Fuller Love

Executive Editor Thomas Winther

Cover Photo Coco Dávez

We talk Picasso and Warhol with Spanish art star Coco Dávez, named by Forbes Magazine as one of the up and coming stars of the art world in their ’30 under 30’ list, and find out how Instagram transformed her work and career.

Creative Director Mads E. Petersen

Sales & Key Account Managers Katia Sfihi Rafael Casaleiz Nancy Tapia Mathilde Rineau

Over in Italy, we explore the southern region of Puglia – from Baroque churches and beaches to hilltop villages, coastal clifftop walks, folk festivals, pasta, wine and ice cream.

Published 05.2019 ISSN 2632-3397 Published by Scan Group

Editor Eddi Fiegel Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Contributors Abigail Blasi Anna Bonet Deborah Cicurel Nicola Colyer

Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 207 407 1937

© 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.

4  |  Issue 4  |  May 2019

This month, we’re travelling across ‘la Manche’ to explore some of France’s top Michelin-starred restaurants, finding out about the history of French cuisine and some of the country’s most exciting and innovative chefs. Where there’s food, there’s nearly always wine too – especially in France, and in this issue, we also meet some of France’s top winemakers, learning the secrets behind the best vintages and how they’re made.

Elsewhere, we’ll be discovering why world-famous French designer Philippe Starck loves France’s Atlantic coast and the exceptional hotels he has designed there. We’ll also be travelling to La Mancha in Spain to talk luxury hotels, golf courses and organic olive oil spas. Add into the mix our regular monthly look at the best in new fashion, design, films and books from southern Europe, and it should be a lively feast. Eddi Fiegel Editor

Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style & Beauty

Beige is the new black As the A-list descend on the French Riviera for the Cannes Film Festival, they inject an extra dose of glitz and glamour into the coastal city, so whether you’re joining in the festivities or admiring from afar, there’s no time like the present to add some stardust into your own wardrobe. From floor-sweeping gowns to sharp suits, we’ve hunted down the most stylish pieces that will soon have you following in their sartorial footsteps. TEXT: NICOLA COLYER  I  PRESS PHOTOS

The key to elevated style is all in the detail and this subtly patterned white shirt from Portugese brand Salsa provides enough interest to take this wardrobe basic to the next level. The slim fit and classic details offer flexibility for the discerning traveller; play it cool with an open collar and rolled sleeves or keep it classic under your favourite jacket. €49.95

In Paris’ St-Germain-des-Prés, Pierre Mahéo designs clothes for everyday life, making his suits a desirable addition to the modern man’s wardrobe. It’s no surprise that this slightly oversized jacket is a long-standing staple of the collection and one of the designer’s personal wardrobe essentials; whether worn as a suit with the matching trousers or layered with individual pieces for a more casual look, it offers an effortlessly cool and contemporary approach to tailoring. Jacket: €505, Trousers: €261

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To add the final flourish to your look, you can’t go wrong with a pair of slip-on loafers. While Spanish giant Zara, might come to mind for of-the-moment trends, this classic offering provides great value with the soft nappa leather, refined stitching and tassel detail that will ensure you keep reaching for them for years to come. €69.95

Every A-list wardrobe requires statement shades that add a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ and this polarised pair from Italian brand SNOB Milano is just the ticket. Keep them at hand for sunny al-fresco affairs or dare to wear them by night to get the paparazzi’s heads turning. €135

Pay homage to the home of the Cannes Film Festival with these coastal-inspired earrings from Parisian jeweller, Annelise Michelson. From her atelier in the Marais, Michelson crafts limited edition collections that reflect the power of the women who wear them. With an impressive list of celebrity fans, including Rihanna and Lady Gaga, you know you’ll be in good company. €450

Red-carpet dressing doesn’t necessarily mean draping yourself in designer brands from head-to-toe. As many of our favourite fashionistas know, the art of high-low dressing makes for the most interesting style and with its pearlescent finish and gold hardware, this Mango number will keep people guessing all night long. €49.99

Simple, strappy sandals are undoubtedly the shoe of the season and this suede pair from Spain’s Massimo Dutti will soon become an essential part of your wardrobe. Perfect for adding the finishing touch to an opulent evening look or dressing up your favourite denim, we strongly advise that you don’t leave home without them. €89.95

Whether you’re brushing shoulders with film stars or dressing up for a romantic dinner for two, this maxi dress from bohemian French brand, ba&sh, will ensure that all eyes are on you. The bracelet-length sleeves and cinched waist embody a classic, feminine glamour that is perfectly balanced by the sheer fabric, metallic finish and moody hue, making this a dress that is guaranteed to leave you feeling like the leading lady. €410

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

Design Finds This season, make your home more inviting by adding feminine tones, soft curves and graceful forms. Think romantic floral prints or quirky illustrations in blush, dusty pink or lilac and delicate fabrics. The feminine touches in these pieces will instantly update any space and add an extra dash of elegance, style and ‘je ne sais quoi’. TEXT: INGRID OPSTAD  I  PRESS PHOTOS

Designed by Nika Zupanc for the Italian brand Queeboo, the beautiful Ribbon chair is all about feminine romance and soft, undulating lines. With a backrest designed as a simple bow, the ribbon is available in pink, black and white, as well as gold and rose gold versions. Qeeboo, ‘Ribbon’ chair, €169

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

With its stunning, vintage-inspired, hand-painted floral motifs, the Coromandel magazine rack by Italian brand Fornasetti manages that clever trick of appearing both contemporary and retro at the same time. The sleek lines are very up to date whilst the floral design conjures up a mix of rococo and ‘fin de siècle’ glamour. The magazine rack is part of the new Coromandel collection of furniture and accessories, a tribute to Italian painter, sculptor and designer Piero Fornasetti and his passion for themes inspired by nature. Fornasetti, ‘Coromandel’ magazine rack, €1,800

Breathe new life into any room in your house with this striking, flower-shaped, Fiore bath mat from Portuguese Abyss & Habidecor. Made from 100 per cent combed cotton, it’ll soak up any stray splashes whilst indulging your toes in soft, cocooning comfort. In fact, this feels so luxurious, you may even be tempted to use it outside the bathroom as a statement rug. Abyss & Habidecor ‘Fiore’ bath mat, €329

This cosy blanket, with its bold, pop art-style illustration by Egle Zvirblyte for Spanish design brand Sancal, is very much a multi-tasker: use it as a cushion, a throw or a blanket… it’s up to you. Born Free is part of Sancal’s‘COSAS’ collection – perfect for bringing a ray of Spanish sunlight into your life. Sancal, ‘Born Free’ blanket, €147

With the New Life sofa, the celebrated French designer Damien Langlois-Meurinne has created a soft, sleek and elegant piece for Sé’s debut collection. The shape is inspired by 1930s glamour, and the rose tone adds a romantic dash of understated feminine elegance. As Langlois-Meurinne says: “a successful design is one that is endowed with a touch of poetry, freedom and fantasy”. We couldn’t agree more. Sé, ‘New Life’ sofa, rose, €7,980

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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.




rom start to finish, Diamantino is enormously fun. A Portuguese comedy-drama, co-directed by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt, we follow a Cristiano Ronaldo-like figure who, with one missed penalty kick in a World Cup final, falls from football god to national laughing stock within moments of the film’s opening. What will Diamantino do now? It doesn’t help that his beloved father and agent dies just minutes after Diamantino loses Portugal the World Cup Champions title. Now he must be managed by his twin sisters who are so evil they’re almost caricatures. Trying to fill a gaping hole in his life, Diamantino decides to adopt a Mozambican refugee: a young boy onto whom he can project the loving relationship he once had with his father. Played with perfection by Carloto Cotta, Diamantino is child-like, innocent, and so naive, that he doesn’t realise he’s being duped and used from all angles. First, there’s the glaring issue that his adopted son is not a young refugee boy at all, but actually a fully

grown and female secret-service agent (Cleo Tavares), investigating the money-laundering operation of the footballer’s twin sisters. Meanwhile, the sisters are capitalising on more than their brother’s money – they utilise his fame (and stupidity) to trick him into participating in an anti-EU, ‘Make Portugal Great Again’ campaign. Yes, there’s a lot at play here. And what with Diamantino’s memories of missing the goal

being punctuated by candy-floss coloured clouds, crashing waves and oversized puppies, it could well be one of the most bizarre films you’ll see this year. But this weird, wacky, tender 90 minutes is satirical entertainment at its very best. Bursting with ideas, it manages to send up everything from celebrity culture, to political ideology of all kinds, whether it be the far right or faux liberals. Essentially, Diamantino takes a mocking look at the madness of the modern world. The cast is brilliant, particularly Cotta, who makes the best loveable idiot seen on screen in a while, as well as Tavares, who executes his double role with admirable skill. Add into the mix the unusual, digressive storytelling, the way the plot spools in all sorts of directions you don’t expect, the lightness of touch from directors Abrantes and Schmidt, and the crazy, colourful visuals, and the result is utterly enchanting. Diamantino is in cinemas across the UK from 10 May.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Books



20 years after her chocolate shop first enchanted millions, Vianne Rocher is back. Joanne Harris’ latest novel continues the story of her bestseller Chocolat, which has been translated into over 50 languages and, in 2000, was turned into a sumptuous, Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.


he Strawberry Thief is Harris’s fourth novel featuring Vianne, a chocolatière in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, a sleepy village in France’s rural south-west where everybody knows everybody. She’s no ordinary confectioner: her simmering pots spell out omens and bewitch more than just the taste buds, and her youngest daughter Rosette has inherited her mystic powers. Harris, who’s half-French and lives in Yorkshire, has conjured up a timeless French village where folklore and superstition still holds sway. Five years have passed since the last book: Vianne has finally settled down and is friends with her old adversary Father Reynaud, who is tormented by an old secret. Their tranquil lives are turned upside down when the village’s curmudgeonly florist dies and leaves a patch of land – an oak wood where wild strawberries flourish – to her youngest

daughter Rosette, and a written confession to the priest. No one is more surprised than the florist’s haughty daughter, who’s determined to claw her inheritance back. As for Vianne, she’s more troubled by a bewitching stranger who sets up shop opposite. Harris’ writing is deliciously evocative, and as irresistible as her heroine’s wares. You can almost smell the spices that waft from her copper pan, and taste her dainty chocolate mendiants sprinkled with sour cherries. It’s little wonder that several villages in south-west France claim to be the inspiration for teeny Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, with its cobbled streets and disused tanneries on the river. Although Harris has never revealed the town she based it on, she has said that it’s in Gers, a department of lush pastures and rolling hills in the heart of sun-drenched Gascony, west of Toulouse. Dotted with characterful villages and medi-

eval fortified towns, it’s famous for its rich farmhouse cooking and foie gras. For all the modern references, The Strawberry Thief is nostalgic for a simpler time, where gossip happens over a glass of wine in the village café or a steaming cup of Vianne’s ‘chocolat chaud’. And yet, Lansquenet-sousTannes is no idyll. Its residents are scarred by the past, and being different in any way – like free-spirited Rosette – is pitied and feared by the sanctimonious church-going brigade. Fans will enjoy little nods to the villagers’ tangled backstories, but there’s no need to have read Chocolat or the other Lansquenet books to enjoy this one. It’s easy to devour, with enough edge to make it satisfying. A word of warning, though: Harris’ gorgeous descriptions of Vianne at work may make you crave a beautifully packaged box of handmade French chocolates.

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris is published by Orion (£20).

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French Wines As an introduction to our special feature on French wines and wineries, we hear from FranceAgriMer – the governing body for the wine industry in France – on the role they play and how French wines are still the world’s favourite. TEXT & PHOTOS: FRANCE AGRIMER

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Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines


hen it comes to the world of French agriculture, FranceAgriMer is most definitely an important player. Overseen by the French Ministry of Food and Agriculture, FranceAgriMer provides a forum for communication between the agricultural, aquaculture and fisheries sectors, as well as government bodies. Comprising around a thousand public officials split between regional administrative offices and the organisation’s headquarters in Montreuil, FranceAgriMer is managed by Christine Avelin. “FranceAgriMer is an organisation with a varied role, covering several different areas and sectors.” explains Avelin. “We sum up our role in three words: ‘consultation’ – we provide a forum for exchange and dialogue between industry professionals and the public authorities, and we also offer professional advice specific to each sector; ‘enlighten’ – we aim to encourage market transparency;

and ‘accompany’ – referring to the support we offer to the various sectors.” In order to ’enlighten’ both public authorities and industry professionals, FranceAgriMer processes and evaluates economic data for all sectors within the French fisheries and agriculture industries, including market rates, production levels, commercial transactions and levels of consumption. This helps the various branches to create short, medium and long-term development strategies. FranceAgriMer also organises surveys, conferences and around 200 publications every year. The agency’s ‘accompanying’ role is about implementing public policies relating to market regulation on the ground as well as providing support for innovation and development within the various sectors. “Whether it is a question of help with grants (from European or national sources), or providing tools specifically developed by FranceAgriMer,” explains Avelin, “our mission is the same: to set up efficient systems for farmers and business-

Photo: © Nicolas Logerot/Fotolia

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Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

Photo: © Aalf Caestecker/Fotolia

Photo: © emotive images

es, helping them to navigate the regulations around both grants and safety.” FranceAgriMer also contributes to the development of international networks. "In 2018, this mission was responsible for creating 37 export markets, covering 37 country / product pairs," she adds. Thanks to the way it is organised according to individual business sectors, FranceAgriMer can help with the implementation of public policies, from early consultation to arranging on-site inspections and organising the payment of grants.

FranceAgriMer and its support for French wines The wine sector is one of the most important in France when it comes to agriculture, and FranceAgriMer imparts knowledge, advises and supports businesses, helping individual organisations achieve a deeper understanding of the workings of the sector. In terms of square metres, France is the third-largest vineyard in the world, covering more than two million acres (after Spain and China). France is also the world's secondlargest producer of wine, producing 45.4 million hectolitres per year, on average every five years. Currently, FranceAgriMer is in the process of implementing measures to support the fiveyear programme of the French Wine Common Market Organisation (CMO), financed by the first statute of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), to the tune of 280.5 million euros per year. This support covers business investment, vineyard restructuring and promotion in third-party markets. Christine Avelin.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

French wines leading the world


rance is the world's largest wine exporting country in terms of value and the third-largest in volume (with 40 per cent of its production exported). French wine exports reach 14.1 million hectolitres for nine billion euros. With its AOC wines and Champagne, which account for 80 per cent of its exports, France is very much at the top end of the market. The main markets for French wine exports are Germany, China, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The turnover of the French wine industry is estimated at 26 billion euros (excluding spirits). With 65,000 holdings, 602 cooperative cellars, 7,000 private wineries, 11,050 winemaking merchants, 25 inter-branch organisations and ten wine-growing ba-

sins, the structure of the French wine industry provides not only support for the industry as a whole but serves as a business model for other markets. France is the second-largest wine consuming country in the world (after the United States), with 27 million hectolitres consumed per year, or 40 litres per inhabitant per year. France has a huge diversity of climates, terroirs and territories as well as a vast variety of grape varieties. This, combined with the expertise of winemakers, enables the industry to offer consumers a wide range of products for every occasion. Whether still or sparkling, red, white or rosé, from everyday wines to grand vintages for

Statistics provided by FranceAgriMer

special occasions, French wines are an ideal accompaniment for every occasion. The large area of vineyards in France, combined with the diversity of climates and grape varieties, make French wines unique. From Alsace to Champagne, from the Loire Valley to Bordeaux and the southwest, from Burgundy to Beaujolais, from Savoie to Jura, from the Rhône Valley to Provence, and from Languedoc-Roussillon to Corsica, French wines provide a rich experience for the senses. “French wines are an important part of our cultural and economic heritage,” says Avelin, “and they conjure up the essence of living life ’à la française’.”

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Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

200,000 bottles of Love by Léoube are currently produced, rising to 500,000 in the near future.

Sustainable winemaking by the sea Château Léoube is a beguiling coastal wine estate set between Saint-Tropez and Toulon, outside Bormes-les-Mimosas. It’s easy to be seduced by this stylish spot, a painterly patchwork of olive groves and vineyards, as peachy as its Provencal wines. This English-owned estate champions substance over style, with its organic, sustainable approach. TEXT: LISA GERARD-SHARP  |  PHOTOS: CHÂTEAU LÉOUBE


ou might discover Château Léoube by chance on your way to SaintTropez. As the largest private estate in coastal Provence, it’s an escape from the Riviera’s seaside sprawl. From a hilltop crowned by a chapel are tumbling vistas of olive groves, vineyards, parasol pines and the sparkling sea. It’s a protected site overlooking the Iles d'Or islands and stretches to the rocky shoreline and white-sand beaches. This is how the Riviera used to look before the builders moved in.

The Bamfords are behind the Daylesford Organic brand and brought these eco-friendly values to France. Sustainability is second nature to a family who first pioneered organic farming over 40 years ago. As Dubille

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After falling for this 1,400 acre Provencal estate, the family replanted the vineyards and olive groves in exemplary fashion. Lady Bamford’s mantra, `local, seasonal and sustainable’, is reflected in the Château’s organic and biodynamic approach. All grapes and olives are harvested by hand, with the wine-growers mindful of the seasonal and lunar cycles. Léoube fully understands biodiversity, from vineyards to vegetable gardens and 56 acres of olive groves, which produce distinctive oils made from Provencal or Italian olive varieties.

La vie en rosé

Provence’s planet organic? “The estate was reborn after an English family fell in love with this pocket of Provence, with its magical coastal setting, chateau and wine estate,” explains director, Jean Dubille.

says: “For the owners, organic means more than a state of mind - it’s a way of life.”

Romain Ott with (estate manager) Jean Dubille, who went to wine school in Bordeaux and revamped the French Parliament’s wine cellars

Life in Léoube’s 168 acre vineyards is decidedly rosy. “Provence has been the land of rosé since Roman times,” says Dubille. The vineyards lie on the coastal fringe of the protected site of Cape Bénat and benefit from sunny days and cool, breezy evenings. “The marine climate means that we’re spared such issues as mildew, that might affect inland estates,”

Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

continues Dubille. Léoube’s award-winning wines are mostly Côtes de Provence, with 75 per cent of production rosé. Blush-pink rosé is a summer staple in the south of France, but abroad, it is increasingly thought of as an all-occasion wine. Even so, these top-tier rosés reinterpret our idea of rosé wine.

Café de Léoube serves up organic salads, savoury tarts, sandwiches and fruit pastries. Sip Chateau Leoube Rosé, so fresh you can taste the maritime breezes along with citrussy and peachy notes. Swim or snooze at Plage de Léoube beach, only accessible by boat or on foot.

The estate benefits from a state-of-the-art winery and the expertise of Romain Ott, a scion of a legendary wine dynasty. Yet Léoube wines show a distinctiveness all of their own. Léoube-style rosé tends to be pale, crisp, dry, minerally, peachy and citrussy. As a fan of Super Tuscan wines, Lord Bamford also charged the estate to come up with a full-bodied red, the prestigious Le Collector.

The café borders a coastal path which winds past craggy rocks and sandy bays to a medieval fortress. Fort de Brégançon, standing sentinel over the bay, is the summer residence of the Presidents of the French Republic. President Macron’s wife has been spotted strolling along the shore, and there are high hopes that the President himself might drop by for a leisurely summer lunch.

An arty boutique sells both estate wines and Lady Bamford’s body products and stylish clothes. Pick out sportswear for the Monday beach yoga session or head off with farm-shop goodies, such as fig jam and black-olive tapenade, handmade pottery or straw baskets. You’ll probably also come away with some bottled sunshine: “Love by Leoube is our latest rosé, popular for its citrussy and peachy notes,” adds Dubille.

The British market is the biggest for the estate’s wines, followed by North America, so the owners must be doing something right. As Lord Bamford says: “Our vision was always to create wines with character, which reflect their regional roots while respecting nature. It’s been a long, rewarding journey, but we’re now proud to share our wines with you.” Jean Dubille agrees, seeing this Anglo-French adventure as a marriage made in heaven, meaning Provence: “Chateau Léoube is everything that Provence is about: fine wines, ‘savoir-faire’, seductive scenery and a summery lifestyle.”

Léoube as a way of life In summer, life is literally a beach at Château Léoube, with a nod to the St Tropez set. Wine-tastings or yoga sessions are followed by lunch in the beach café where you can sit under parasols or umbrella pines at the chic beach shack facing the island of Porquerolles. Set on the Plage du Pellegrin, the revamped Facebook: leoube Twitter: @chateauleoube Instagram: @leoube

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Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

Les Domaines Ott are owned and managed by cousins Christian and Jean-François, to create a great variety of high-end Provence vintages.

Provence in a glass Provence is not short of good wine, but it’s rare that a single family can offer vintages from three – yes, three – distinct estates.

Now used to bottle every single Ott wine, it has become so iconic, that Clos Mireille even hosts a museum dedicated to its story.



nter the Domaines Ott, comprising the Château de Selle, the Clos Mireille and the Château Romassan: (all within 90 minutes’ drive of Marseille, France) and each bringing something different – quite literally – to the table.

While Clos Mireille overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, with sand-clay earth, the hills of the Château de Selle offer arid, mineralenriched soil. In contrast, the sandstone-limestone earth of Château Romassan is complemented by low rainfall and breezes from the bay of Bandol. The first two produce wines under the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) de Provence, and the latter, the AOC Bandol: including “fresh and powerful” reds; “expressive and refreshing” whites; and “refined” rosés, which pair well with Mediterranean favourites such as fish, seafood, and Bouillabaisse. Fittingly for such a varied brand, the ‘Ott’ name is today represented by two people – cousins Christian and Jean-François. Descendants of Marcel, the Alsace graduate who fell in love with what would become the 18  |  Issue 4  |  May 2019

first Ott vineyard during a Provence tour in 1896, the duo have managed the company for 15 years. “We are devoted to our ancestors’ love of Provence,” explain Christian and JeanFrançois. “We continue the know-how of four generations, but are careful to bring in fresh dynamism, and a quality resulting from ancestral wine-growing tradition.” Old methods mix with new: in 2017, a modern winery opened at the Château de Selle, streamlining the process using gravity, a half-buried cellar, and more than 90 stainless-steel vats. Such detail is key: the family continues practices such as pruning the vine mid-growth – to allow the remaining fruit to better mature – and even go so far as to personally taste the grapes on the vine before harvest, to ensure consistent quality. Even the trademark bottles are a family affair: the elegant shape was first designed by an uncle, René Ott, in the 1930s – who was said to be inspired by the region’s rolling hills.

Throughout history, this family has combined creativity with passion and knowledge to ensure that each bottle – no matter which of the three sites it comes from – is truly worthy to call itself Ott. Facebook: DomainesOtt Instagram: @DomainesOtt

Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

Quentin Perroud, the manager at Château du Basty.

Superb wine with a rich history Many vineyards have rich and varied histories, but not many have the long legacy of Château du Basty. The 44-acre estate, situated in an idyllic location on the east and south facing slopes of the Saône Valley in the Beaujolais region of southern Burgundy, is currently celebrating its 537th year. TEXT: DEBORAH CICUREL  |  PHOTOS: CHÂTEAU DE BASTY


uentin Perroud, the manager at Château du Basty, is the 17th generation to run the property and its vineyards. The excellent wines created at the chateau have won multiple awards: the vineyard is divided between AOC Beaujolais Lantignie Red, Rosé, White, AOC Morgon, and AOC Régnié. “In 1482, my ancestors bought a few acres of vineyards at a place called the Billy,” says Perroud. “From our first small barrels delivered to Paris and the first bottles made in the domaine and throughout our history, Château du Basty has never stopped evolving.” The chateau’s distinctive wines are, as with all wines, closely related to the idiosyncrasies of the soil. The granite and occasionally gravelly or sandy subsoil combines Gamay grapes to make for fruity, spicy wines typical of Beaujolais. White wines, meanwhile, are crisp and perfumed thanks to the same granite soil and Chardonnay grapes. “What we want to do,” says Perroud, “is offer wines that are not just elegant, but that

create an emotional experience for those enjoying them”. Despite the chateau’s many years of expertise in producing quality wines, the effort to create an excellent product has never ceased, with painstaking work taking place, from harvesting by hand to careful maturing in oak casks, taking into account climates, plots and grapes to create the very best wine possible.

The chateau also places a high importance on community, ecology and organic farming, making sure that respect is paid to the environment when cultivating grapes and when creating their wide variety of wines. They also believe strongly in working collectively with the wider community of local young winemakers in Lantignie to use environmentallyfriendly methods throughout the process. Visits and on-site wine tastings can be made by prior reservation.

“We take time producing our wines and refining the taste,” explains Quentin. “Despite our long history, we are always asking new questions and creating new vintages. The work of nature, for us, is a perpetual quest.”

BEAUJOLAIS LANTIGNIÉ - 889.5 acres - Granite and gravel subsoil - A team of 15 young winemakers - A growth cycle based on eco-friendly agriculture

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Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

Le Domaine de la Tourade combines solid winemaking tradition with quirky modern touches for a unique experience in the heart of the Rhône vineyard country

Vintages and VWs in the Rhône Valley Nestled in the Vallée de la Rhône countryside, vineyard Domaine de la Tourade in Gigondas, in the Vaucluse region of Provence, appears, at first glance, to offer a perfectly normal taste of the region’s long-standing wine tradition. Reds, whites, and a sweet option, plus regular wine tastings for visitors that are especially popular during the summer months. So far, so typical. And yet, this vineyard – located around 35 minutes’ drive from Avignon and surrounded by competitor vineyards – is not your average wine shop. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: DOMAINE DE LA TOURADE


ndeed, as much as one might expect Rhône wine to be of a certain quality, one might not quite expect it to be served up in the back of an authentic 1965 VW campervan, driven lovingly around the grounds by one of the winemakers themselves. Because those three gleaming vehicles, parked pride of place outside this otherwise totally traditional-looking wine shop, do not belong to passing visitors: they are part of the experience itself. It’s all down to husband-and-wife owners Virginie and Frédéric Haut, who – as well as sharing a talent for making award20  |  Issue 4  |  May 2019

winning wine – also share a passion for the 1970s. So when, four years ago, they had a chance to acquire two beautiful VW campervans and one Beetle car from a local garage, the couple knew they had to find a way to incorporate them into the business. And that is how the word ‘vintage’ came to take on an altogether alternative meaning round these parts. This sense of flair and fun is one of the major factors that sets this Domaine apart from its countless competitors in the Rhône wine country. You don’t have to be a ‘70s or a VW fan to come here, but it helps. Guests can also stay in an on-site gîte, with access to a kitchen, a bathroom, a terrace with a barbecue, and a pool; while sleeping overnight in the original camper beds. Friends and family are encouraged: the site sleeps four, with visitors taking part in a wine-tasting experience before bedding down to enjoy a distinctly vintage evening.

Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

the sweet Muscat de Beaumes de Venise from just further south.

The vineyard also hosts 1970s-themed ‘wine trip’ evenings, which include not only tastings, but also a ride in the campers, vintage stalls, food trucks, and a ‘70s-style rock gig. Wine tastings – for day visitors and overnight campers alike – are arranged inside one of the campervans, too. Frédéric drives guests around the various vineyard plains, offering tastes and picking out the flavours, while also explaining the long history of the site.

Family Traditions Classic cars are not the only link to the past here; the Domaine has been in the same family for six generations, lending the place a real sense of purpose and regional knowledge.

Food-wise, the flavours especially suit classic French favourites. With the reds, Frédéric recommends strong cheese; the white meanwhile is particularly suited to fish such as salmon and trout; and the sweet is a great choice for aperitifs, desserts, foie gras and blue cheese. “There is a freshness in the wine,” he says. “But they can also be spicy, almost – with flavour notes in the red such as black fruit and liquorice. They are quite powerful. Our wines are totally typical for the region. We are of the terroir, and use the techniques of our ancestors. You can really taste that in the wine.” Respect for the past is the single, colourful thread weaving together each aspect of the Domaine de la Tourade, which is as steadfast

in its traditions as in its quirky, modern innovations. So if you’re in the area, watch out for a VW campervan making its way through the vines – and raise a full-bodied glass of Vacqueyras to the family bringing a whole new definition to the word ‘vintage’. Facebook: latourade

“We have inherited a certain know-how from our ancestors,” explains Frédéric. “Because of our family history, we have kept the spirit of our previous generations – the respect for quality, and our local terroir.” And even today, the vineyard is run in much the same way as in centuries past. The Hauts deliberately use similar techniques to their predecessors, such as, Frédéric explains, not separating the grapes from the vine stalks when harvesting. The overall process leads to powerful, full-bodied, yet clean-tasting wines – qualities that have not gone unrecognised: Frédéric collected the Mundus Vini Best of Show award for his Gigondas AOP in 2018, just one of several recent industry accolades. For all the extra style and flair, it is the flavour of the wines that ultimately take centre stage. And for this, it comes back to that classic French word: ‘terroir’ – that untranslatable ‘je ne sais quoi’ quality that denotes geography, soil, and climate. Blessed with clay-limestone soil, the Domaine produces the Vacqueyras appellation, the Gigondas from higher plains, and Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  21

Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

Wines, vines and family spirit


Family business Domaine Bott-Geyl has been making wine in Beblenheim in Alsace, in France’s Rhine Valley, since 1775. Each of the vintages – including a vast range of elegant Grands-Crus and LieuxDits – reflects the diversity of the Alsatian ‘terroirs’. Co-owners, Jean-Christophe Bott and his wife, Valérie Bott-Cartier, champion what they call “authentic and hand-crafted” wines. Unsurprisingly for such a family business, it all starts – literally – with the roots. “It is about respect for the vines’ personality,” Bott says. Nothing shows this more than the Domaine’s biodynamic, organic approach, which is all about improving the soil and vine roots, so they remain healthy, year after year. “If we want the wine to reflect its terroir,” explains Bott, “we need the vine root to be deep into the ground. If the vine suffers, the quality will suffer. So biodynamic practices are about improving the soil. If the soil works better, the vine will produce better grapes and flavour.”

The variety of Bott-Geyl’s wine ensures that they offer incredible diversity in terms of food and wine pairing: a Riesling with scallops or lobster, or a Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer with a wide range of Asian, Indian or Thai dishes. Overall, Domaine Bott-Geyl’s philosophy goes much further than simply food and drink: “It not just about drink, or nourishing the body,” Bott says. “Wine is also about emotion. Nourishing the spirit.”

Beyond the soil’s health, respect for the grapes and the wine is paramount. The grapes are picked by hand, when the skins are thin but flavourful. They are then packed into containers of just 30 centimetres high and weighing 35 to 37 kilogrammes each, to ensure that they are not crushed under their own weight, and there is no loss of taste. Great attention is then paid to the vinification process, with a minimalist approach taken to produce what Bott calls “wines of character”. Flavour is key. Facebook: bottgeyl Instagram: @bott_geyl

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Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

Rosé wines and blue blood The wines, the land and the architecture of wine-makers Château les Crostes are quintessentially Provençal, but the domain is also now home to members of Luxembourg’s Grand Ducal family. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON  |  PHOTOS: CHATEAU LES CROSTES


hâteau les Crostes has built links with the Benelux countries over decades, exporting its wines to high-end outlets like Brasserie le Phare in Knokke, the Sart Tilman Royal Golf Club and Mamy Louise in Brussels. But when the owner’s daughter Claire married Prince Félix of Luxembourg two years ago, those links became markedly closer, the couple opting to make the domaine their home, and to become involved in its management. It’s a choice that is easy to understand. The property is beautiful in itself, surrounded by vast forests, just a stroll away from the medieval town of Lorgues. Tourtour, Provence’s celebrated ‘village in the skies’ is nearby too, and the Mediterranean coast only half-anhour by car. And then there’s the wine. The wine business here dates from the middle of the last century. When a severe frost decimated its olive groves, the previous

owner opted to replace most with vines. “Since then the wine has developed an excellent reputation,” says sales director Linda Schaller-Gallet. “Our main offering is the Côte de Provence rosé. The rosé is a delicate, elegant, easy drinking wine, perfect as an aperitif or with lighter meals. It has the Provençal notes you might expect but also a character particular to the domaine: fruity but not overly so, with some fine mineral notes.”

A formidable list of Luxembourg restaurants stock the results of Garin’s skills. It would be hard to imagine a more apt way for their patrons to have celebrated the marriage of Prince Félix than with a glass of Château les Crostes rosé, or even better - Cuvée Claire.

Instrumental in the process of developing wines with characters unique to the property has been Ted Garin, head oenologist who has worked there for 21 years, with SchallerGallet, present for just five years fewer. Les Crostes also produces red and white wines, the latter with the Rolle grapes, a much favoured variety in the area: “And we make a small quantity of méthode traditionnelle sparkling rosé - Cuvée Claire, named after the owner’s daughter, who is now Princess Claire and the chatelaine here,” says Schaller-Gallet. Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  23

Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

A wine that respects Mother Nature What you put into nature is what you take out. This is is very much the philosophy at the Vignerons de Buzet in the south-west of France. Founded in 1953, this wine making co-operative accounts for over four and a half thousand acres of vineyards, which is over 90 per cent of the entire AOC Buzet brand name. Today managed by Pierre Philippe, they have taken it upon themselves to develop a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to making wine. TEXT: HARUN OSMANOVIC  |  PRESS PHOTOS


ore and more people are waking up to the fact that it is crucial we start making conscious efforts to preserve what in effect is our livelihood. Those efforts cannot be meaningless marketing stunts and organic labels, it is in fact our whole paradigm that we must shift if we are to achieve actual change. This is why the Vignerons de Buzet have a holistic approach to respecting nature, and also why people love their products. “This adventure is first and foremost one of passion for wine,” explains Pierre Philippe. “We love grapes and offering the best-quality

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wine to folks who share our passion but also to those who simply want to savour a nice glass at a family dinner.”

The co-operative includes some 200 wine makers growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot for rosés and reds and Sauvignon and Sémillon for whites. One of their signature products is called Sans – meaning ‘without’ (as in without added sulphites). “There is a strong demand for wines that have been made without added sulphite, and if that is something people want, if it is a more natural process and respects nature, why not take on the challenge,“ says Philippe in regards to the co-operative’s choice to develop the sans range. Sulphites refer to SO2, or sulphur dioxide, which are compounds that occur naturally in the vinification process but which most producers add in order to prevent the wine turning into vinegar. “I cannot recommend our Sans red and rosé enough, especially for people with SO2 intolerance… open it some 30 minutes before serving and the success is guaranteed,” continues Philippe.

Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

The co-operative’s efforts, however, are not limited to the quality of their wine. “Our vision of a sustainable industry includes every aspect of our business,” says the managing director. Thus, the Vignerons de Buzet have lessened the frequency of some pesticide treatments and discontinued some optional ones, enabling them to win the ‘Bee Friendly’ label awarded to agricultural ventures that respect bees. “There is a balance to find; obviously our grapes must remain healthy, but ultimately we try to spray our vineyards as little as we can, which means that the control and selection of the grapes must be much more meticulous.” But it goes beyond that. As soil becomes damaged by intensive farming, the Vignerons de Buzet are striving to reintroduce species such as the little owl and the common kestrel. “We replant bushes because it allows the ecosystem to be more balanced as it allows little rodents and rabbits to have a place to shelter,” continues Philippe, “and we try to avoid wasting water as well as glass by working closely with our supplier in order to design bottles that fit in with our philosophy.” The viticulturists of Buzet’s vineyards are open for public visits and tasting sessions, including a stroll amongst the vineyards and talks from the wine-growers.

AN ECO-FRIENDLY MASTERPIECE The latest creation from the Vignerons de Buzet is called Oniric – a winning combination of technological progress and respect for nature. Almost black in colour, with a hint of purple, Onric was created with mature grapes from the 2012 harvest. Its nose is powerful with notes of blackcurrant, vanilla and toast. It is also full bodied and rich on the palate, but also smooth thanks to the beautifully coated tannins and sweetness.

Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  25

Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

Back to the (delicious) future Château Font du Broc is paradoxical: its intriguing wines and stunning architecture are deeply rooted in Provençal tradition, yet both are of a relatively recent vintage. In a single generation, one man’s vision has created something that feels like a millennium in the making.

around the world, including the Olympics. However, when a fire ravaged the region in 1988, he saw the opportunity to create something new out of the ashes, a vineyard in true Provencçal style.



he best place to evaluate the hopes and ambitions of a winery is in its cellars. A walk around Château Font du Broc’s vaulted cave tells a story. Sylvain Massa, the man behind Château Font du Broc, is no dabbling hobbyist. The vast space was built in a style reminiscent of the Cistercian monasteries, using ancient stones, and the idea is very much that this will still be standing when most of this century’s more recent architectural additions have long since tumbled. It’s a legacy, not a project. The vineyard’s owner, who also lives at the property, summarises his philosophy about the wine: “I want my vines be raised with unending care, my wine looked after with infinite attention. There should never be any resort to 26  |  Issue 4  |  May 2019

short-cuts or shady strategies on the road to quality. That’s my commitment.”

Short history, long view Massa bought the land in the hills - a 25 minute drive from the coast, back in 1979. The idea was originally that he would devote the space to his major passion - a stud farm raising horses featured in competitions

“The vines we grow were chosen as being typical of the region, and thus suited to the ‘terroir’ here and our excellent climate,” says Matthias Buissé, the château’s commercial manager: “And as is frequently the case in this area, we grow quite a range of grapes to produce red, white and rosé wines. Our whites use only Rolle grapes, a local favourite that makes a wonderfully refreshing wine.” In 2013, the property gained organic certification, which was no mean feat. “We decided this were the right choice for several reasons,” explains Buissé: “Our wines respect the land, of course, and it has to be said that there’s great interest in organic wines from connoisseurs. But it also fits what we want to do in a wider way: Monsieur Massa is passionate about the natural world, so we

Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

A warm and civilised welcome Above the cellars and their huge oak barrels stands the château, its pink-tiled roof emblematic of the region, the honeyed-stone walls as warm as a June day here. It belongs to the country. Accordingly, the whole domaine feels at ease and welcoming – perfect for the wedding parties and business gatherings frequently hosted at the château.

have ponds and olive groves and gardens, not just endless vines here.” He continues: “Adapting to organic winemaking has also brought the taste of the wines nearer now to the traditional styles of the area, with minimal use of sulphites, for example, allowing the fruity flavours of our reds to come through better; and the way the vines are tended is in part a return to the methods of several generations ago. The wines are refined in style, with very marked characteristics.”

“Everything has been built using the right materials, the best materials, old stone, weathered beams, terracotta tiles that fit the region and the terroir, just like our wines,” says Buissé. “We decided to incorporate into the plans, created with our architects, the idea that the space could be used for receptions and meetings, so we can, for example, accommodate up to 450 people for a meal in the covered space that is at other times the covered manège. Additionally, there’s a room that takes 200 people, ideal for weddings, with fine French gardens in front. We work with about ten

‘traiteurs’ (caterers), so couples marrying have a choice of top-quality suppliers from the area and with whom we’ve built good working relationships.”

Location, location, location With St Tropez and Sainte-Maxime halfan-hour’s drive away and beautiful historic villages even closer, the château’s location helps in attracting business meetings, but the prospect of sampling some Font du Broc wine may also exert a little influence: “Along with the meeting, there will usually be a meal catered by one of the traiteurs we recommend, so it’s a social thing, not just business,” says Buissé. “Very often, there’ll be a wine tasting arranged as part of the day too. You can see people who’ve been in tough business talks visibly relax with a glass or two of our wines. For some reason it’s a particularly popular part of the experience!”

Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  27


Gallipoli, old town and harbour. Photo: Franco Cappellari

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Discover Southern Europe  |  20 Things to do in Puglia

20 great things to do in Puglia The sun-basking southern region of Puglia is much beloved by Italians, who love it for its fine whitesand beaches, its rustic cooking, its sense of a simpler life, and some handsome fortified towns. TEXT: ABIGAIL BLASI  |  PHOTOS: © VIAGGIAREINPUGLIA.IT

Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  29

Discover Southern Europe  |  20 Things to do in Puglia


Take a boat trip around Italy’s heel

Open-topped boat trips run along the coast during the summer season and there’s arguably no better way to spend an afternoon. Take a boat from the port of Torre Vado, on the Ionic coast: there’s no need to book, just turn up and get a ticket from a local kiosk. You’ll get a fantastic views, culminating in the pilgrimage town of Santa Maria de Leuca.

6 Martina Franca. Photo: Franco Cappellari

There’s no shortage of things to do in Puglia, but these are some of our top picks:


Explore the quirky geometry of Castel del Monte

Crowning a hill like it’s landed there from another planet is the eerily perfect UNESCO World Heritage site Castel del Monte, an octagonal castle, with an octagonal tower on each corner. Built by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century, it is shrouded in mystery. Just a few kilometres from the small town of Andria, it’s a unique, perfectly geometric design, and appears to have been a symbolic rather than defensive structure.


Go jumping in the waves off Baia dei Turchia


See pasta being made in the streets of Bari Vecchia

Puglia’s long coastline has some beautiful white-sand beaches, but the windsculpted, pine-forest-backed Bay of Turks, a few kilometres south of Otranto, so named as the Ottoman Turks landed here to attack in the 17th century, is particularly lovely. Take the winding pathways through the pines, grab your swimsuit and dip a toe in the water.

Puglia’s largest town’s Bari Vecchia (Old Bari) is wonderfully preserved and atmospheric. Wander down the narrow lanes mid-morning to see local matriarchs rolling

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out pasta by hand in front of their houses, as they have for generations: they sell it to local restaurants and to passers-by.


See the hobbit townscape of Alberobello

Peculiar to the local architecture are trulli - pointed gnomic drystone buildings. The UNESCO-listed Alberobello is the only town that is entirely trulli, and it’s an extraordinary sight to overlook the pointed skyline. Head to the viewpoints just off the main drag to get the best view. Making orechiette. Photo: Andrea Ruggeri

Wander the streets of Gallipoli

The walled town of Gallipoli occupies an almost island-like peninsula, and its architecture reflects its heyday as a 17th-century centre exporting olive oil. Today its backstreets are charming, with locals playing cards and kids kicking footballs, and there are fabulous sea views at the end of practically every street. Aim to get here for late afternoon, when the sun is on its descent and the sky turning pink.


Get folky with the locals at a summer taranta festival

Taranta is the local folk music, said to have begun as a way to exorcise the sting of a tarantula bite. The female dancers dance barefoot, wear long flowing skirts and spin to the hypnotic beat. There are festivals all over the Salento area, to the south of Puglia, during the summer: check the local magazine Qui Salento for listings.

Discover Southern Europe  |  20 Things to do in Puglia

Pescoluse Maldive. Photo: Paolo Laku


Try ricci (sea urchins)

Puglia is famous for its sea urchins. You can either eat them on their own the black-spiked ricci a mare (riches from the sea) are split in half and the sweet-yet-salty orange roe scooped out with bread – or as a sauce with pasta. The ricci season runs from winter to early spring: try the kiosks along the sea road from Bari southwards.


Sip sparkling wine in Locorotondo

With its white-washed buildings beacon-bright on a hilltop in the rural Valle d’Itria, the town of Locorotondo is enchantingly pretty. Locals chat and lower baskets out of top windows, almost as if they’ve been hired from central casting. This area is known for its fresh, lightly sparkling white wine, and this is a great place to taste and buy a bottle. Head for the local cooperative Cantina Sociale del Locorotondo.


Take a clifftop walk in coastal Polignano al Mare

With blazing-white houses seeming almost to grow out of chalk-white seacliffs, Polignano is the buzziest town on the northern coast, attracting Northern Italians in hordes over the summer: join them for the early evening passeggiata (stroll). It’s not overtaken by tourism, however: you’ll still see the local women sweeping their

steps and elderly men shooting the breeze in the town piazzas.

but visit off-season and you’ll have it practically to yourself.



Discover the Gargano Peninsular

Puglia’s north-eastern peninsular has a character and landscape all of its own, with thickly wooded forests and a coast that alternates between white-sand beaches and cliffs. The lovely Zagare Bay is the perfect place for a paddle.


Bask in the sands in the Maldives of Puglia

The clue is in the name of the Maldives of Puglia: take a dip at this southern beach on the Ionian coast. It’s fabulously perfect, with silky white sand and translucent water. In July and August, it’s overtaken by crowds of sun-worshippers, Alberobello, Trulli. Photo: Carlos Solito

See the frescos in Galatina

Head inland to the handsome town of Galatina in Salento to see the incredible frescoed interior of its 14th-century Chiesa di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria. It’s the exquisite home of a relic of Santa Caterina’s finger, brought back from Alexandria by a local noble.


Savour a gelato during the passeggiata in Lecce


Wander the marble streets of Martina Franca

The university town of Lecce is famous for its elaborately carved, goldenstone Baroque churches. It’s the capital of the Salento region where during the balmy season, from April to October, there’s always a throng enjoying the early evening passeggiata, eating ice cream (try Natale, just off Piazza Sant’Oronzo).

Don’t miss Martina Franca another hilltop town in the Valle d’Itria. Its historic centre is one of the grandest in the region, with churches and ornate mansions constructed out of pale marble, set off with window-boxes of blazing-red geraniums. Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  31

Discover Southern Europe  |  20 Things to do in Puglia


Soak in the sun on the coast near Torre Lapillo

During the season, you’ll want to hire a sunbed for a space on the broad, pale sweep of Torre Lapillo, one of Puglia’s finest beaches, lapped by the calm Ionian sea, and overlooked by one of the coastline’s fortified towers. To the north are flat rocks ideal for basking or fishing off, at the gloriously named Punta Prosciutto (Ham Point).


Eat orecchiette at L’Orecchietta


Visit the Taranto National Archaeological Museum


Explore the Castellana caves

Puglia’s biggest cave system, the Grotte di Castellana, close to Bari, is a subterranean, spiky wonderland of extraordinary organic rock formations. They’re visited via guided tour, either 50 minutes or two hours’ long, depending on how deep you want to go.


Have a spritz in Ostuni

The white city of Ostuni sits gleaming on a hilltop, visible from far and wide. Its polished stone streets are some of the most popular in the region. To get some bygone atmosphere, walk around the walls and duck into the backstreets, but to enjoy the summer cavalcade, park yourself on a piazza-side café and treat yourself to a sundowner.

Taranta Festival, Melpignano. Photo: Carlo Elmiro Bevilacqua

The local speciality ‘little ear’ pasta is made from only flour and water, its firm shell shapes ideally paired with ragù sauce, tomato or bitter-tasting cime di rapa, which resembles fine broccoli. Find out why these are so adored at family-run pasta shop turned canteen L’Orecchietta

The historic centre of Taranto feels like you’ve stepped back in time, with crumbling 17th-century townhouses, and locals calling to each other from the balconies. However, the main reason to head to Taranto is to visit its wonderful, renovated, riches-packed museum, home to some fascinating Greek and Roman artefacts. Castel del Monte. Photo: Franco Cappellari

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Galatina, Santa Caterina d’Alessandria. Photo: Vincenzo Pioggia


Ricci di mare (sea urchins). Photo: Maria Gravina

The taste of authenticity If you’ve ever been to Venice you’ll know full well that falling into a tourist trap is all too easy, not least at meal times. It’s not uncommon for restaurants to offer uninspiring menus with endless lists of dishes accompanied by cold, surly service. But at Hostaria Osottoosopra, things are different. Tucked away on one of Venice’s twisting cobbled alleyways, Osottoosopra offers a compact menu with a well-thoughtout selection of Venetian staples. With its centuries-long history, Venetian cuisine is based on fish and seafood from the Venice Lagoon and the Adriatic Sea. Spices and exotic ingredients feature heavily, a reminder of the city’s past as a major trading power in the eastern Mediterranean. Along with the city’s famous ‘sarde in saor’, fried sardine fillets marinated with onions, vinegar, raisins and a pine-nut solution that are typically enjoyed as cicchetti (snacks), at Osottoosopra, the menu includes ‘baccalà mantecato’, a light, fluffy dish of salted cod whipped with extra virgin olive oil, and ‘fegato alla veneziana’, a much-loved Venetian staple made with calf’s liver and onions.

The menu changes regularly, with seasonal dishes prepared using fresh ingredients sourced from small producers. In autumn and winter, there are hearty, comforting options, including slow-cooked beef cheeks braised in red wine. Cooked for eight hours in the oven, the meat becomes meltingly tender – so much so, that it can be cut with a spoon. As the spring approaches, lighter dishes include a cream of carrot soup with artichoke and goat’s cheese that makes for a particularly refreshing starter. A handful of creative dishes add a pinch of fun to the menu, such as an inventive salmon tartare with passion fruit and guacamole. While the food at Osottoosopra is the star of the show, the interior design also plays an important role in defining the restaurant’s ambiance, picking up on references to the


cuisine and the city’s heritage. The building’s original features have been preserved where possible, including exposed wooden ceiling beams, while other rustic features (bare brick walls; wine bottles lining shelves) create a welcoming and cosy feel. Facebook: osottoosopra Instagram: @osottosopra

Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  33

A taste of Tuscany The streets around Florence’s cathedral teem with tourists throughout the year. Tucked away a few steps from the Renaissance marvel that is the city’s Duomo, are two great little spots to savour some of the best Tuscan dishes in town. TEXT: KIKI DEERE  |  PHOTOS: CAPPELLE MEDICI AND IL NUTINO


l Nutino opened its doors in 1955 as Florence’s first pizzeria and the same wood-fired oven has been producing bubbling pizzas ever since,” explains owner Ludovico. Customers can sit back in one of the three first-floor dining rooms with frescoed ceilings and wooden ceiling beams, or in one of the two ground-floor dining areas. Thanks to Il Nutino’s exceptionally central location, it hums with hungry customers at virtually all times of day, with large, juicy steaks brought to the tables by friendly, affable waiters. “While our pizzas are a popular choice, Il Nutino is today renowned for its typical Tuscan dishes, not least the city’s muchloved ‘bistecca alla fiorentina’,” explains Ludovico. Served rare and bloody, bistecca alla fiorentina is a Tuscan favourite, tra-

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ditionally made from Chianina, an ancient Tuscan breed of cattle renowned for its tender flavoursome cuts. “Our sister-restaurant Le Cappelle Medicee, which lies just round the corner, also serves up big, juicy steaks prepared with just as much loving care,” continues Ludovico. A cosy wine bar and restaurant, Le Cappelle Medicee is located opposite the Medici Chapels a stone’s throw away from the Basil-

ica of San Lorenzo – one of Florence’s oldest churches. Opened in 1950, the restaurant was the first eatery to open in the area of San Lorenzo. Interiors have rustic, wood-panelled interiors lined with wine bottles (there are over 200 types), which lend a welcoming feel. Here too, waiters serve up large plates of freshly cooked bistecca alla fiorentina, filling the the premises with a succulent juicy aroma. “The marbling in the beef entraps moisture, keeping the meat tender and infusing it with an exceptional melt-in-your-mouth flavour. We serve it sprinkled with ‘sale di cervia’, salt that to this day is harvested by hand from salt pans on the nearby Adriatic Coast. It has an exceptionally wonderful flavour – a sweet aftertaste that really brings out the flavour of the meat,” says Ludovico. At both restaurants, bistecca alla fiorentina can be enjoyed with a variety of side dishes, from roasted potatoes sprinkled with rosemary to ‘fagioli all’uccelletto’ – a delicious side dish prepared with cannellini beans, tomato, garlic and sage that is typical of Florence and that marries particularly well with a succulent steak.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Top Places to Eat in Italy

The desserts are, naturally, all homemade. There’s panna cotta, a classic Italian dessert made with sweetened cream, cheesecake with a homemade berry sauce and, of course, Italy’s much-loved coffee-flavoured tiramisu. “Guests have a soft spot for our homemade chocolate fondant made with Perugina chocolate, a gooey spongy dessert with a melting texture and a delicious liquid centre. It truly is divine,” says Ludovico. “We want our international clientele to be able to savour authentic Tuscan cuisine at its best.” Ludovico aims to bring a corner of Tuscany not only to an international clientele in Florence, but also to customers elsewhere. “We have now opened a sister restaurant in Berlin. We want people there to be able to taste and savour our region’s wonderful variety of produce. I hope we will become a point of reference in the German capital for people wanting to enjoy an authentic bistecca alla fiorentina.”

Quality Local Produce Using top-quality produce from the local area is key to Ludovico. “Our olive oil has been carefully chosen and selected from a Tuscan mill, cold cuts are from a nearby farm and pecorino cheese is from Pienza, a small town that lies a few miles from Montepulciano.” The wines, too, are Tuscan. “Our house wine is produced in the small town of Castellina in Chianti, oak-matured for six months at a temperature of 14 degrees Celsius, resulting in a perfectly-balanced wine with fruity undertones. It goes particularly well with our dishes. It’s exceptionally drinkable,” he proudly states.

Meat and wine aside, both establishments also offer plenty of other Tuscan favourites. Pasta is made by hand, with a strong favourite being ‘pici’, pasta similar to spaghetti, served with sausage and black cabbage. The sausage is browned in a pan with red wine and then mixed together with the black cabbage to create a particularly tasty sauce. “Our pecorino flan served with a courgette and caramelised pear sauce is excellent, too. Delicate and balanced, it makes for the perfect antipasto,” suggests Ludovico. “Another favourite is our beef fillet cooked in Chianti wine sauce. The fillet is cooked together with the sauce, which infuses the meat with flavour.”

Il Nutino and Le Cappelle Medicee are two of the very few places in Florence where hungry punters can still be served food at midnight. “As a general rule, in Italy it is difficult to find food outside of the standard meal times. We stand out as our kitchen is open until late. Florence has scores of international visitors – we need to cater to them,” explains Ludovico. And so he does, with an excellent choice of Tuscan specialities and bubbling wood-fired pizzas served right in the heart of town. IL NUTINO: Facebook: ilnutino LE CAPPELLE MEDICEE: Facebook: cappellemedicee

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Awakening sleeping beauty That quirky extra ‘o’ in Co(o)rniche is the sound that pops out of your mouth as you walk out onto the hotel’s terrace and take in the views across the Bay of Arcachon and the highest sand dune in Europe, the Dune du Pilat.

as the food. The chefs use their regional know-how to put together menus reflecting the changing seasons, which, of course, focus on the best the ocean has to offer.



ou never get the same view twice, even in a single day. The endless stretches of sand and ever-changing light make sure of that. French designer Philippe Starck, who has a house of his own just across the bay, undertook the renovation. It was a meeting of minds, and hearts, between Starck and owners William and Sophie Téchoueyres. He describes their work together as “Simply awakening Sleeping Beauty.” Starck’s aim was to balance architecture with nature, treating the surroundings with the utmost respect. La Co(o)rniche he says is “The most impressive place, the most beautiful, the most poetic, the most surreal, of the strongest forces of nature; it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.” The hotel takes a while to wake up in the morning, which is as it should be. It’s

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guests-only until noon, so you get to feel you’re the only ones in the world enjoying it. The main house has 11 rooms, including a suite, all opening out onto the Atlantic from private terraces. There are a further 18 beach huts inspired by the local oystercatchers’ haul.

La Co(o)rniche has been a French holiday destination since ‘La Belle Epoque’. The good times are still very much here, however, as you enjoy a sundowner on the terrace that offers 360 degrees of pure pleasure. You might have been lured here by the view, but it’s La Co(o)rniche that makes you want to stay.

Every corner of the property has a sprinkling of the Starck design magic. The restaurant surroundings are as refined and sensuous Facebook: lacoorniche Instagram: @lacoorniche

Discover Southern Europe  |  Special Places To Stay

A sister on the sand dune Just like at a fireworks display, where there’s an ‘oh!’ there will inevitably be an ‘ah!’, and this is the case here also. The Ha(a)ïtza – which means ‘the rock’ in Basque – is located just 500 metres from its sister La Co(o)rniche, and together, they create a village feel for guests who can wander between the two at their leisure. TEXT: KATIE TURNER  |  PHOTOS: HA(A)ÏTZA


uring the 20th century, the hotel was a playground of the great and the good, from fashion designer Jeanne Lanvin, the Rothschild and Michelin families, to French singer Charles Trenet and actor Yves Montand. “It doesn’t have that sickly ‘olde worlde’ sort of charm: it’s chic and cosmopolitan, artistic even,” says legendary designer Philippe Starck, who was invited to breathe new life into the building, just as he has done at La Co(o)rniche. While from the outside, the 38-room Ha(a)ïtza blends perfectly with the seaside and the pine forest, inside, there’s an eclectic mix of styles, from African adventures in the main space, to minimalist walkways recalling art galleries in New York, via a riot of colour in the Brazil-inspired bar. At the hotel’s Michelin-starred ‘Skiff Club’, chef Stéphane Carrade wows with short

menus showcasing the best of regional and seasonal produce. He’s a local boy using local ingredients, so seafood naturally makes an appearance, but the menu changes depending on Carrade’s vision and what’s fresh that day. If patisserie is your thing, you have world champion ‘cannelé’-maker Antony Prunet at your service in the Tea Room. Cannelés are

an iconic, French, vanilla and rum-flavoured pastry, first made in nearby Bordeaux: but his repertoire features all the French classics. Ha(a)ïtza Cafe, across the road, offers a relaxed family atmosphere. The menu changes daily and features the classic French ‘menu’ for those who’ve worked up an appetite, with a long walk along the dunes, a bike-ride through the pines or a workout in the hotel gym. Feeling just a little less energetic? You could stay close to home and enjoy a dip in the heated pool which is open year-round thanks to a magnificent retractable roof. In summer, double loungers invite you to while away the hours after a trip to the on-site spa or soak up the sun with a good book. The Ha(a)ïtza, with its village feel, can be anything you want it to be – hotel, high-end restaurant, brasserie, bar, tea room or spa. You never need to leave, and you’ll probably never want to. Facebook: Haaitza Instagram: @haaitza Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  37

Discover Southern Europe  |  French Wines

Golf and gourmet cuisine amidst the olive groves of La Mancha “A great hotel is not just about having a beautiful interior,” says manager of Hotel La Caminera, Juan José Martinez, “it’s about creating unique experiences, about your location and being in touch with the landscape around you.” TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: LA CAMINERA


hat makes La Caminera special for me,” he continues, “is our connection with our surroundings. The fact that we’re not just a luxury hotel which could be anywhere in the world. Everything we do here, from the food in the restaurant to the custom-made olive-oil products in our spa is closely connected to the countryside around us here in La Mancha.” The countryside Martinez is referring to in La Mancha, about two hours’ drive south of Madrid, is the windmill-filled flatlands which inspired Cervantes and his famous creation: Don Quijote. It’s also home to the renowned Manchego cheese. Set amidst nearly two and a half thousand acres of olive groves and rolling countryside with not just one but two golf courses, the 38  |  Issue 4  |  May 2019

emphasis throughout the hotel is very much on letting the surrounding countryside take centre stage, and there are commanding views throughout the hotel. The 61 expansive bedrooms are light, airy and elegant with vast picture windows. Décor is a luxurious but comfortably elegant take on country style: a mix of traditional beamed ceilings and stone flooring tiles with

contemporary, neutral-toned bedding and soft furnishings. Other pampering touches include L’Occitane toiletries in the spacious bathrooms and Nespresso machines in every room. Reflecting the hotel’s ethos, La Caminera’s spa – Elaiwa Spa by L’Occitane – uses not just products from luxury French natural beauty brand L’Occitane, but also a range specifically created for the hotel using the organic olive oil from the hotel’s estate. The spa even has its own ‘olive-oil spa sommelier’ to help guests choose the best treatment depending on guests’ skin type and whether they’re in the mood for a relaxing facial or an invigorating body massage. The spa also features a vast heated pool complete with swan-neck water jets, bubble beds and a water cannon, and guests can take part in the ‘Elaiwa circuit’ – a specially designed 90 minute circuit ‘for invigorating the body, stimulating the circulatory system, cleansing the skin and relaxation’.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Special Places To Stay

The circuit includes six different types of showers in a range of temperatures, a foot bath, an ice fountain, Jacuzzi, an aromatherapy steam bath as well as a relaxation area with thermal stone loungers. The pool, spas and Jacuzzi also contain saltwater, renowned for its ability to help with the elimination of toxins, improve respiratory and circulatory issues and relieve muscle and rheumatic pain.

Fine Dining Similarly in keeping with the hotel’s eco-friendly approach, La Caminera’s finedining restaurant, Retama by Javier Aranda, focuses on using local ingredients and is very much a foodie destination in itself. Chef Javier Aranda was the youngest ever chef to win a Michelin star for two of his previous restaurants La Cabra and Gaytán

and he is now considered an ‘ambassador for Spanish produce’. Aranda champions ‘responsible cuisine’, keeping carbon footprint low and creating signature dishes which mix the textures and flavours of local ingredients and traditional regional dishes with his own, contemporary flair. The restaurant also prides itself on an exceptional wine cellar with an extensive, 19page wine list comprising superb wines and spirits not just from the La Mancha region and across Spain but from all over the world. For something more informal, there’s also the El Prado Lounge Restaurant, overlooking the golf course with a variety of tapas, salads, sandwiches and light meals.

But it’s not just about food, wine and pampering: “We want our guests to relax and enjoy the scenery around them,’ says Martinez. With this in mind, there is a reading room, or for more active entertainment, there are paddle tennis courts and the aforementioned golf courses: one 18-hole, par-72 course and an 18-hole pitch and putt course bordered by olive groves. Inside the hotel, there is likewise a fully equipped fitness room, complete with treadmills, weights, machines and cross trainers as well as a personal training programme. The hotel also arranges a wide array of ‘experiences’, from countryside walks, breathtaking sunsets, bird watching and cycle trails with individually prepared picnics to horse-riding and canoeing. Other options include a visit to an internationally awarded local cheesemaker. A favourite with both couples seeking a romantic getaway and business guests looking to hold team building sessions away from the chaos and stress of city life, many guests return to the hotel again and again. ‘Our guests often comment on the peace, tranquillity and magnificent views,’ says Martinez. “A lot of our guests come here for gastronomic tourism or just because they want to enjoy extraordinary food and relaxation in beautiful surroundings’. Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  39


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Discover Southern Europe  |  Cover Feature

Art & Instagram

Spanish artist Coco Dávez For an artist not quite yet out of her 20s, Spanish artist and Instagram star Coco Dávez is doing pretty well. Named in Forbes Magazine’s ’30 Under 30’ list of names to watch out for in Art and Culture, she has already worked with global brands including Chanel, Prada, Puma and Bombay Sapphire, has had a book of her work published in Spanish with the English version due out soon, and is about to hold her first UK show at London’s prestigious Maddox Gallery. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: COCO DÁVEZ


he series of works which have made her name, and are about to be exhibited, is entitled Faceless – a boldly colourful series of Pop Art-inspired paintings of leading figures from the worlds of art, music and popular culture. However, each figure is painted without their facial features – leaving them recognisable only from their clothes, hair and silhouette. We see Picasso wearing his trademark Breton striped shirt, David Bowie in his Aladdin Sane incarnation and Grace Jones – complete with razor-sharp, geometric hair, as well as many others, including Kurt Cobain, Victoria Beckham and Steve Jobs and fictional characters such as Mad Men’s Don Draper, Tintin and Popeye.

Full of vibrant, sunny oranges, yellows, reds and blues, the paintings reflect the influence of the French Fauve painters – Matisse, Dérain and Dufy as well as Andy Warhol, with his iconic celebrity screenprint portraits. The style has a pop-art aesthetic but they are also highly graphic and indeed commercial, reflecting Dávez’s background as an illustrator. So how did a 29-year-old artist from Madrid, without any formal art training, reach this point? The answer lies with Instagram. Dávez currently has over 140,000 followers on Instagram and the social media phenomenon has been the making of her career, almost from the start. “95 per cent of my career and connections have come about through Instagram,” explains Dávez, whose real name is in fact Valeria Palmeiro (The name Coco was based on her favourite character from the children’s TV show Sesame Street, whilst the surname, Dávez, was inspired by a friend.) Dávez was born and raised in Madrid and took drawing classes as a child and teenIssue 4  |  May 2019  |  41

Discover Southern Europe  |  Cover Feature

ager. Her father was a keen art enthusiast and one of her formative moments came when he took her to see Picasso’s vast Guernica at the age of nine, and the staggeringly powerful painting left an indelible impression. However, she eventually gave up drawing classes and art to pursue a career in photography. In contrast to the situations typical of the 19th and 20th century, when aspiring young artists often needed to go against their parents’ wishes to pursue a career as an artist – art being considered a bohemian and déclassé pastime and therefore unsuitable as a profession for respectable ladies or gentlemen – Dávez’s scenario was the reverse. Her sales and marketing executive mother and businessman father actively encouraged her to pursue her art, so giving up painting and drawing was her stand against them. “It was an act of rebellion against my parents,” she explains. “I wasn’t getting on with them that well at the time and so I wanted to look for another outlet for my creativity.” She was already interested in the world of fashion and photography and, in 2010, at 42  |  Issue 4  |  May 2019

the age of 21, she came to London for nine months, to work as a photographer’s assistant. Whilst there, she started posting images on Instagram. Initially she used the social media site to post personal photos, like most people, but she quickly realised that it was in fact what she describes as “a 24-hour shop window in which I could show my work to the world”. Once back in Madrid, the drawings she had begun posting on the site came to the attention of Rodrigo Sánchez – art director of Spanish national newspaper El Mundo, who offered her work as an illustrator for the paper’s weekend colour supplement. For the relatively inexperienced Dávez, it seemed a staggering suggestion and so surprised was she by the offer, that her initial reaction was to say ‘no’ and tell him she wasn’t qualified for the job. Sánchez, however, persuaded her, and she began working for the paper regularly whilst continuing to paint and post more of her own work on Instagram. She was soon being contacted by major brands and started working as an illustrator on campaigns such as the launch of Chanel’s

‘Gabriel’ perfume, a perfume launch for Prada and a series of lipsticks for Dior. It was during this period that she also chanced upon the idea for the Faceless project. “One afternoon, I was playing around with colours and painting and I did a portrait of Patti Smith in acrylics,” she explains. “The result was very bad and I didn’t like it at all, so I painted out her face and it was at that moment that I realised the picture was still recognisable as Patti Smith. I thought ‘Wow – how interesting!’. Some people’s images are so deeply etched in our memory that you can still recognise them even without their faces.” “I liked that idea very much,” she continues, “so I started doing more of them and putting them on Instagram. I wasn’t sure if people would like them or not, but very quickly it became clear that it was a success.” The rest, as they say, is history. She was soon featured in GQ magazine, Spanish Vogue and the aforementioned Forbes article, whilst a major Spanish publisher – Editorial Planeta – approached her to cre-

Discover Southern Europe  |  Cover Feature

Top left: David Bowie. Top right: Elvis. Bottom left: Victoria Beckham. Bottom right: Frida Kahlo.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Cover Feature

ate a book of the Faceless works. A contact from London’s Maddox Gallery followed and in May, Dávez’s London show will be held at one of the gallery’s four London locations, in Westbourne Grove. This is no mean feat for an artist so young. The Maddox Gallery is a powerful force in the art world (as well as four London locations, Maddox also has galleries in Gstaad, Switzerland and Los Angeles) and its chairman is James Nicholls – a well-known investment art specialist with powerful celebrity connections. (You may also have come across him presenting TV documentaries such as The Queen’s Paintings and in his role as an art expert on British Airways’ inflight programming). In a telling sign of our times, through social media and its global audience, Dávez has Left: Picasso. Right: Don Draper.

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managed to bypass the traditional art school route into the notoriously difficult-to-navigate art world. The same has happened frequently over recent years in the music industry, with musicians who would previously have had to spend years gigging in small, sweaty clubs to gain the attention of record labels, now doing so through the likes of YouTube, Bandcamp and Spotify. Dávez herself is clearly driven, and she cites a quote from Walt Disney which has informed her approach to her life and career: “Ask yourself if what you’re doing today will take you where you want to be tomorrow", suggested Disney. Dávez tells me: “I try to remember that every day. If I look back, I can see that every stage I’ve been through has been valuable and worthwhile in some way. I was always very clear that I wanted to go in this direction (towards art, illustration and art

direction) and every step I’ve taken has been heading towards that.” “I’m growing and learning,” she continues, “but I’m still moving forward all the time. I started out working on my own: now I’ve got a team who work with me and a much larger studio space than I had before. I’ve also got foreign clients, so I see it as a natural evolution.” ‘“I want to be known as an artist,” she concludes, “not just in Spain, but abroad too.” She is clearly well on her way. Coco Davez’s Faceless show is at the Maddox Gallery, 112 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5RU from 10 to 31 May. The Faceless book is published in English by Ludwig Editores on 10 May.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Cover Feature

Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  45


France’s top fine-dining restaurants When it comes to the world of contemporary fine dining, celebrity chefs from the likes of Denmark and Spain may have won international acclaim over recent years, but there’s no question that France is where it all began, and where it continues to flourish. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL

The Dinard coast. Photo: L'Oeil de Paco

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France's Top Fine-Dining Restaurants


he French have a history of exceptional cooking and a passion for savouring the delights of good food in a way that is deeply entrenched in the national culture and way of life. Similarly, they have long enjoyed a reputation for being experts in the field. In the years when British restaurant food was still considered a nogo area, French cuisine epitomised class, sophistication and a feast for the senses. So how did French cuisine become the benchmark of quality? The answer lies back in the 18th century, when, following the French Revolution, the households of the aristocracy were dismantled and many of the country’s top chefs suddenly found themselves unemployed. Eager to source new ways to earn a living, many began opening their own establishments– soon named ‘restaurants’ – after the restorative ‘bouillons’ and stock-based soups served at taverns and inns for wea-

ry travellers. These chefs, however, rather than serving food at communal tables, as was the norm at inns, served customers at specially reserved private tables, treating their customers to quality table linens, crockery and cutlery in a style that remains little changed to this day. The fashion for quality dining soon boomed and, by 1814, 15 years after the Revolution had ended, there were some three thousand restaurants recorded in Paris alone, compared to less than fifty before the Revolution. With the 19th century rise of the railways and the growth of tourism and grand hotels, the need for quality restaurants likewise grew. This era saw the emergence of the chef considered by many to be the founder of fine dining – and indeed French cuisine as we know it today, Auguste Escoffier. Escoffier was already a renowned French chef when property developer César Ritz

Photo: Restaurant L'Impertinen

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France's Top Fine-Dining Restaurants

invited him to set up the restaurant at his newly opened Grand Hotel in Monte Carlo. Escoffier subsequently worked with Ritz at both the Savoy Hotel in London and, later on, setting up the kitchens at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Other luxury hotels soon appeared throughout Europe, and French cuisine became synonymous with smart dining. Fast forward a century or so, and in 2019, France still leads the way when it comes to restaurants with at least one Michelin star – the internationally recognised hallmark of top quality fine dining. Last year, the Michelin Guide included more than 600 restaurants across France with at least one star, and nearly 30 with three stars. The Michelin star system of classification for fine dining is, of course, a French invention itself, and France remains a top foodie destination with more outstanding restaurants across the length and breadth of the country than any other in the world. Over the coming pages, we’ll discover some of them: travelling from Dinard and Brittany on France’s northern coast to Biarritz on the Atlantic and the Côte d’Azur in the south. Bon appetit! Biarritz seafront and Hotel du Palais. Photo: Emmy Martens

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Hake cooked at 63 degrees with truflle and onions at Le Fanal. Photo: Le Fanal

The Brittany coast Photo: Alexandre Lamoureux

Discover Southern Europe  |  France's Top Fine-Dining Restaurants

Sublime food in a stylish setting The medieval village of Mougins is a food-lover’s paradise, set on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean on one side and the foothills of the Alps on the other. Just a 20-minute drive from the airport in Nice, it hosts a festival every summer bringing more than 100 Michelin-starred chefs to its medieval streets.

the space intimate – a place at which guests feel totally at home when dining. Outside, the terrace has unbeatable views onto the Bay of Cannes: the perfect place to take in the beauty of the Côte d’Azur.



ne local chef shines brightly among them: Nicolas Decherchi, who heads the kitchen at Paloma. He’s been working in Michelin-starred kitchens since the age of 16, alongside many of the greats of French gastronomy, including Georges Blanc, Philippe Labbé and Eric Frechon. But chef Decherchi’s dream was always to go it alone. He quickly rose up through the ranks and Paloma is the pinnacle of that effort: within just seven months of the restaurant opening, he was awarded his first Michelin star. The accolade reflects his refined and elegant menus which change according to the quality and availability of seasonal produce. So is there one dish in particular which reflects Paloma’s cooking? Perhaps the mouthwatering Brittany lobster marinière on a bed of linguine, with a delicate foam inviting the diner to dive right in.

Chef Decherchi uses traditional cooking methods as his springboard, but he’s at the cutting-edge of his craft when it comes to combining flavours and his stylish plating. He’s also exporting his inventive cuisine, and Paloma’s sister restaurant is now open in Prague. Facebook: PalomaMougins Address: Restaurant Paloma, 47 avenue du Moulin de la Croix, 06250 Mougins Tel: +33 (0)4 92 28 10 73 Email:

For those with more of a sweet-tooth, pastry chef Anthony Le Gouez’s soufflé is the go-to dessert with the filling changing through the seasons. This summer it will combine passion fruit and hazelnut. Paloma was a family villa in Mougins before being taken over and completely renovated to house the restaurant. The interior is modern, yet warm with a muted, Baroqueinspired colour scheme and crystal chandeliers. This pared-down aesthetic comes with just 35 tables. The idea was to make

Paloma’s Michelin-starred chef Nicolas Decherchi.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France's Top Fine-Dining Restaurants

Dining at the Michelin-starred Le Pourquoi Pas restaurant in Brittany is a true seafaring voyage of tastes, textures, and influences

A meal on the high seas? Why not? Its very name – which translates as ‘Why not?’ – may invite guests to expect a panoply of possibilities, but Le Pourquoi Pas restaurant in Dinard, France, is, in fact deceptively clear in its approach.

sonal as the menu, and especially seeks to highlight the dishes’ textures and flavours, as well as provide a viticultural tour of the local terroir.



ight on the Breton cliffs, around an hour’s drive north of Rennes, the 28-cover, cosy corner of the five-star Castelbrac hotel overlooks Prieuré Bay and St. Malo, and is named in reference to French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot, who sailed oceans far and wide in his ship, the Pourquoi-pas?.

kitchen seeks to champion high-quality local ingredients, taking care to source only the region’s best. Seasonal dishes might include in-shell scallops with cauliflower semolina; wild yellow pollock ‘a la plancha’ (grilled), with rhubarb and razor clams; or young mackerel in crab broth with curry herbs.

Locally-born chef Julien Hennote describes his philosophy with just one word: “simplicity”, and the ever-present proximity of the sea is evident throughout. Not only do the large, domed windows – and impressive summertime terrace – give every guest the perfect view, but the exquisitely-prepared food on their plate puts seafood front and centre, too. “What interests me most is the taste,” Hennote says. “[But] we practically have our feet in the water, so we focus on seafood.”

The style is international, modern and pareddown, focusing on a few choice ingredients and methods that are chosen for texture as much as for taste. But the menu goes beyond seafood and fish, and is careful to use standout products from the land too. Indeed, one of the chef’s signature dishes uses a particular kind of free-range veal, dubbed ‘Bretanin’, which is raised on whole milk, and sold by one of the region’s “best butchers”, Hennote says.

As a Michelin-starred restaurant – Le Pourquoi Pas won the accolade just this year – the

As with any gastronomic restaurant, wine is also paramount. The wine list is just as sea-

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There is more than a hint of the seafaring explorer here and the wine list blurb explains that everything must “start with a story, emotion, new flavours, and discovery”. Discovering Le Pourquoi Pas is akin to voyaging the ocean without ever having to leave your table – and any discerning and hungry seadog or landlubber need look no further. Facebook: RestaurantLePourquoiPas Twitter: @Castelbrac Instagram: @Castelbrac and @Restaurant_lepourquoipas

Discover Southern Europe  |  France's Top Fine-Dining Restaurants

Restaurant Le Fanal is perched on a stretch of Northern Catalonian coastline, and shines a colourful spotlight on this creative, Southern French cuisine.

The lantern leading the way to Catalonia Apart from its unusual location – atop a rocky stretch of the Northern Catalan coast in France – Restaurant Le Fanal may at first glance appear similar to many other high-end gastronomic ventures. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: LE FANAL


et near the sea, in the village of Banyulssur-Mer – just over 40 minutes’ drive north of Perpignan, and barely 25 minutes from the Spanish border – it takes inspiration from its surroundings, unsurprisingly focusing on fish and vegetables from its abundant terroir; while also prioritising simplicity, quality, and taste.

“My cooking is like travelling through time,” explains Borrell. “It’s about discovering the rich products of our terroirs, between the mountains and the sea.” A joint project between Borrell and his wife Marie-France, the restaurant has a colourful, stylish-yet-comfortable, 40-seat dining room, looking out over an expansive, 50-seat terrace.

Indeed, Le Fanal is unmistakably highend – it won a Michelin star as far back as 2001 – and its chef, Perpignan-born Pascal Borrell, trained in some of the most impressive restaurants in France, including the three Michelin-starred Paris stalwarts Ledoyen, and Arpège.

Bright, fresh and creative dishes buck what one might think of as the usual gastronomic trend, and Borrell’s love of bold Catalan flavours shines through on every dish: indeed, the food was described by the 2017 Michelin Guide as “creative, refined and characterful”.

And yet, while the term ‘gastronomic restaurant’ might bring to mind images of formal dining rooms and occasionally tired techniques, it is the passion of the chef that really sets Le Fanal apart; infusing light, colour, and a sense of heritage throughout.

Specialising in the freshest-possible fish and seafood, signature plates might include ceviche of langoustine, slow-cooked longline hake, or a classic local Bouillabaisse. There is also the ever-changing ‘back from the market menu’ – a daily surprise for just 35 euros – depending on the selection that day. Plates leave the kitchen with flair: the presentation style is bright, clean, and above all, colourful – cooking that tells its own story with ease. “My aim is to stir up culinary emotions,” concludes Borrell. ‘Le Fanal’ translates to ‘the lantern’ in English – and this place truly lives up to its name as a haven of Catalan colour, creativity, and light. Facebook: Restaurant.Gastronomique Chef Pascal Borrell.

Recipes are home-grown, too; as Borrell says: “It’s about revisiting family recipes, with the best, seasonal products.” The chef approaches his food like a conductor approaches music: taking a wide range of local ingredients, and adding personal, imaginative touches in pitch-perfect notes. Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  51

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Switch off in Southern France Between the walled town of Carcassonne in Southern France’s Languedoc region and buzzy Montpellier heading north on the coast, lies a mellow wine resort with a difference. It aims to transform smartphone zombies into civilised creatures who can converse, dawdle, dream and drink in a timeless village in the vineyards. Switch off, tune in to nature and tuck in to Michelin-starred cuisine at quirky Chateau & Village Castigno - Wine Hotel & Resort. TEXT: LISA GERARD-SHARP  |  PHOTOS: CHATEAU & VILLAGE CASTIGNO - WINE HOTEL & RESORT


witch off and listen to the birds,” is Julie Malves’ advice for newcomers to this serene stone village. As the manager of a hamlet reborn as a wine resort, Malves surveys a harmonious collection of higgledypiggledy properties: “Chateau Castigno represents rural luxury, meaning remarkable experiences and real connections rather than internet connections.” It’s a return to a simpler age of unmanufactured entertainment. Think recharging batteries, roll-top baths and retro scooters rather than tedious television and virtual reality. The peace is palpable.

Dream in dusky pink Surrounded by centuries-old vineyards, this village is designed in a wine-themed palette of dusky pinks, mauves and burgundies. 52  |  Issue 4  |  May 2019

The boutique wine resort sits close to the Languedoc’s Canal du Midi but within easy reach of the Mediterranean coast at Sete. Castigno feels off the beaten track yet is close enough for canal cruises or visits to Cathar castles. As Malves explains, it’s almost an accidental resort: “The Flemish owners fell in love with both the region and Photo: Wine Hotel & Resort & Verne

the estate and planned to keep it for their friends - but then couldn’t resist dreaming big and opening it up to guests.” Visitors are met by a collection of stone houses clustered around a quaint square. The properties may be ancient but the concept is fresh, celebrating a communal approach to living. The estate is a hybrid, less a hotel than an organic wine resort with an equally organic approach to everything else. Funky beamed bedroom suites are tucked into former stables while whimsical hideaways are concealed in converted grape-pickers’ cottages. The mood is boutique retreat meets farmhouse, with swish bathrooms and eclectic artwork but also recycled doors and vineyard views. As Malves says, “We’re special in that we’re not a traditional hotel – with all the rooms dotted around the village square, it really feels like a timeless village.”

Fine-dining in the vineyards The organic approach to living continues in the resort’s three restaurants, with locallysourced cooking and a refusal to follow the rules for form’s sake. The Michelin-starred La

Discover Southern Europe  |  France's Top Fine-Dining Restaurants

our own produce – apart from the herb garden, the chefs have their own kitchen garden, with herbs also going into our detox juices served by the pool.” La Petite Table is the bistro and grill, with comfort food marked up on slate boards, and breakfast also served here on the village square. Fish and vegetable grills are washed down with fruity or full-bodied estate wines, and accompanied by live music during the July music festival. Adding a touch of exoticism is the Thai restaurant, with its courtyard hung by red lanterns matched by an array of spicy soups, lemon-scented stir-fries or slow-cooked curries.

Wine therapy?

Photo: Wine Hotel & Resort & Alexia Roux

Table Castigno features two Belgian brothers in the kitchen. Co-chefs Pieter et Ruben De Maesschalck follow their whims rather than a fixed menu: “Going to a restaurant without knowing what you’re going to eat is part of the experience we wish to offer,” adds chef Pieter. Enhanced by wine-pairings, this is seasonal farm-to-fork food, ranging from scallops and lagoon seafood to suckling pig or truffles. As Malves says, “We serve a lot of Photo: Wine Hotel & Resort & Alexia Roux

Ultimately there’s no escaping the wine. The owners began with the 86-acre wine estate and the chateau before taking over the village itself. “It’s all organic and about small quantities but great quality,” explains Malves. “Given that we have different terroir, we produce a wide range of wines, with all the grapes harvested by hand.”

wine safari or end a wine-grower’s hike with a gourmet feast in the vines. Other options include a Vespa vineyards ride or simply enjoying a glass of Grace des Anges rosé poolside. Romantics can go for a horse-drawn carriage ride or a sunrise stroll with a breathing coach. Keen swimmers meanwhile have a wide choice of local lakes and rivers, whilst at nearby Sete on the coast, there are visits to an oyster farm in the Thau lagoon. Still, it might be hard to tear yourself away from dinner or an Ayurvedic massage in the spa. “It’s wonderful to think that this magical chateau estate came about because of the owners’ love of sharing,” enthuses Malves. “Some call it a digital detox but we call it the art of living.” Facebook: castigno Instagram: @castignochateauvillage

The winery itself is a sculptural, bottleshaped, bark-covered building. “I designed this project like a kid building a little beach hut out of branches and driftwood,” says architect, Lionel Jadot. Apart from indulging in tastings, you can sample a wine-making experience, take a

Photo: Wine Hotel & Resort & Alexia Roux

Photo: Wine Hotel & Resort & Patrick Tourneboeuf

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A match made in foodie heaven Husband and wife team Anthony and Fumiko Maubert make working in the pressured environment of their Michelin-starred kitchen look easy. “We are totally complementary in every way,” says Anthony. “Our approaches are different. I’m very French, my signature style is wood-fired cooking. Fumiko brings the Japanese twist, very little fat, umami and a lightness that we don’t usually have in France.” They met working in a Michelin-starred kitchen. Now they run one of their own – Assa – in Blois in the Loire Valley. The couple were awarded their star in 2015, just a year after opening. Fumiko didn’t plan to stay in France: she was a nutritionist in Japan and came over to perfect her French cooking, so she could go back and provide balanced gourmet meals for high-end clients. “She’s taught me so much,” says Anthony. “She’s pushed me to be more creative and I’ve finessed my style thanks to her.” Cooking is in Anthony’s blood and his wood-fired dishes were inspired by watching his grandfather in the kitchen. “He was a butcher and taught me everything I know,” says Anthony. “He was also very close to na-

ture, and did a lot of walking in the woods close to where he lived.” On those walks, his grandfather would not only collect firewood to burn, but also take cuttings from trees and replant as he went. “He was always putting something back,” Anthony recalls. That idea of regeneration is very much part of the Maubert’s philosophy: “I want traceability for my ingredients, I want to know their history, and I want to respect them,” Anthony continues. Assa, which in Japanese means ‘morning’, chimes with the spirit of their kitchen. “We create our menus on the day, with whatever produce our suppliers tell us is at its best. I love this element of surprise,” explains Anthony, all the while giving directions to the busy kitchen preparing for service.

A restaurant daring to be different “We looked up the definition of ‘impertinent’, and it means: ‘someone who dares’,” explains Sarah Feldmann, co-owner and sommelier of the gastronomic restaurant l’Impertinent, in the Saint-Charles neighbourhood of Biarritz, France. The phrase ‘he who dares, wins’ comes to mind, and rightly so: Sarah and her husband, head chef Fabian – who worked for over two decades in high-end European kitchens – opened the 30-cover site in 2012, and won a Michelin star just ten months later. Creativity is at its heart: Sarah is also a sculptor, and everything – from decor to plates – is carefully considered to celebrate inspiration. “We have our own style,” explains Sarah. “We deliberately chose simple crockery so that the different colours and textures really show up.” Influences are global, since the couple also loves to travel. “Our plates might be inspired by traditional French cooking as much by Asia,” explains Sarah, adding that the signature dish is a super-original gingerbread ice cream with coriander crème anglaise and coconut. 54  |  Issue 4  |  May 2019

“At a restaurant like this, people don’t want to eat like they’re at home,” she says. “They want to be surprised.” And yet, the cuisine never strays too far from its roots. Dishes are always made using fresh, organic and local Pays Basque ingredients, allowing flavours to shine through. “‘Organic’ is fashionable now,” says Sarah. “But we have always done that. In a gastronomic restaurant, people want quality.” But ‘gastronomic’ doesn’t equal stuffiness here, quite the opposite: the site’s relaxed style attracts a wide clientele, including many modern, young customers. “It’s casual,” says Sarah. “We take care of our guests, but we don’t do fancy. We don't have a château, but we give 100 per cent passion. It’s authentic, not pompous.” For a restaurant whose very name evokes wit, it is this approach that helps make


The Maubert’s team is drawn from all four corners of the globe, which is what makes the restaurant so dynamic. “Cooking and family are intertwined and the team here at Assa are family to me. We have so much to learn from each other,” says Anthony. “We love taking risks in the kitchen, that’s what it’s all about. That’s the sweet spot.” Facebook: ASSA

Anthony and Fumiko Maubert at work in the kitchen.


L’impertinent a truly modern, colourful, and yes, totally daring, proposition. Facebook: L.Impertinent.Restaurant

Discover Southern Europe  |  France's Top Fine-Dining Restaurants

Summer Favourites on the Côte d’Azur Every morning, a trusted fisherman supplies executive chef Bruno Tenailleau of Le Magellan, with fresh catch, providing him with the freshest of ingredients for his customers.

are also used creatively and feature in desserts such as fennel tart with carrot coulis and Madagascan vanilla ice-cream.


The beach lounge is a major draw, with its cushioned seating and soothing jazz and soul sounds creating a stylish, laidback vibe. “Each year, our experienced barmen create new and exciting cocktails using refreshing ingredients such as ginger and raspberries to make the perfect summer drink,” explains restaurant manager Laurent Combacal. Live music further adds to the atmosphere on Friday evenings and on Sunday lunchtimes, creating a relaxed, classy ambiance.


he focus at Le Magellan, a breezy restaurant on the French Riviera, just half an hour’s drive south of Cannes, is serving freshly prepared contemporary cuisine using local ingredients. “Fish and seafood comes right from the Mediterranean Sea, citrus fruits are from nearby Menton, olive oil is from a local mill in Provence, while our greens are from a local supplier who cares deeply about organic produce,” explains executive chef Bruno Tenailleau. Located in a former soap factory, Le Magellan has an enviable seafront location, with a private stretch of beach lined with sunbeds and sandy-coloured parasols that is the perfect spot at which to wind down and relax on a hot summer’s day. The restaurant offers valet service in summer, while private boats and water taxis dock at the nearby marina of Théoule-sur-Mer, which lies a short walk away. “Our cuisine is exceptionally light and refreshing, making it ideal for the warmer months of

the year. Our sauces are strictly homemade, complementing the dishes without hiding the flavours of the ingredients. On the contrary, the sauces we create aim to bring out the natural flavours and aromas of each ingredient used. We only use olive oil in our dishes – there are no dollops of cream here,” continues Bruno Tenailleau. On the menu, you’ll find roasted jumbo shrimps served with a zesty lemon thyme and smoked yoghurt sauce, while fish stew is accompanied by a refreshing orange fennel sauce. Simple cooking techniques such as grilling and roasting are used to enhance and intensify the flavours of the dishes (think grilled spiny lobster and roasted monkfish with chorizo). There’s no shortage of creativity either: you’ll find lemon-, raspberry- and muscat-flavoured oysters too. But the menu isn’t all about fish and seafood. There’s beef tenderloin with rosemary and garlic and, bien sûr, duck foie gras, served with citrus fruits that add a welcoming kick. Vegetables

Grilled fish and a refreshing cocktail – how better a warm summer’s day by the beach?

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Top-rated French cuisine and understated French chic Location, location, location. A stone’s throw from the sea in Brittany, Villa Tri Men has glorious views in all directions, and natural light pouring into spacious, pared-down rooms. If four-star luxury and understated French chic were not enough, there’s also a Michelin-starred restaurant under the same roof.

Brittany coast growing up so it’s very much a homecoming,” she says, “The geography is so distinctive and this villa is full of character and warmth.”


The Villa is only half of the story, however. In the restaurant - Les Trois Rochers - chef Frédéric Claquin and his team were awarded a Michelin star in 2016.


t’s more than a hotel, it’s also been a beautiful family home, and thanks to the work of local craftsmen, we’ve brought it back to life,” says general manager Anne Le Morvan.

a real connection with our guests, whether they’re staying for a couple of weeks or just passing through: and many of them come back year after year.”

The hotel and restaurant were completely renovated in 2017 and Le Morvan oversaw what was very much a labour of love, setting the bar high. “We have a relaxed vibe,” says Le Morvan, “but we also want

Le Morvan’s career had taken her around the world, working in five-star hotels from London and Paris to Tahiti and Morocco, but she had her heart set on returning to this corner of France. “I lived on the

The menu, as you might expect, is focused on seafood. Claquin works closely with local fishermen and growers of Brittany’s finest produce. “He really brings out the richest flavours and his dishes often have an Asian twist,” says Le Morvan. “The seaside setting really adds to the experience.” So why the name Les Trois Rochers (The Three Rocks)? “Some say it’s a nod to the three men who built the villa, hence the Breton name ‘Tri Men’,” Le Morvan ventures. “Others say it’s a reference to the three heart-shaped rocks visible from the restaurant’s terrace. We can have fun guessing but somehow I think it’ll remain a mystery for a very long time,” she smiles.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France's Top Fine-Dining Restaurants

From humble B&B to the height of luxury A 14th-century fairytale castle on the banks of the Dordogne River, the Château de la Treyne oozes history. It’s been a home to knights and noblemen since medieval times, as well as to the Louvre Museum’s Egyptian collection during the Second World War.

grounds stretch across nearly 300 acres and there’s something for everyone, from formal gardens to a forest, plus a heated infinity pool and tennis courts.


Stephanie runs the château day-to-day, heading a team of 35 staff catering to visitors’ every need. “I describe what we offer guests as the ‘A to Z’ of service. Nothing is too much trouble,” she says. “I want guests to really feel at ease here.”


ittle wonder, then, that current owners, Stephanie and Philippe Gombert, wanted to add their own chapter to the story. “20 years ago, my mother-in-law was running the château as a B&B and we used to come down at weekends to help her out,” says Stephanie.

identity and in keeping with the historic surroundings. The hotel restaurant also now holds a Michelin star. It’s run by chef Stéphane Andrieux, who has worked with the couple since the beginning and uses locally-sourced produce and organic vegetables grown on site.

The husband and wife team now run the château as a prestigious Relais & Châteaux hotel with its own Michelin-starred chef. “We wanted to give these wonderful old stones a new lease of life,” Stephanie continues enthusiastically. “The place was getting a bit run down, but we had grand plans! It’s an absolute passion project.” Despite having no experience of the hotel trade, Stephanie and Philippe quit corporate life in Paris and never looked back.

“He’s exceptional,” explains Stephanie. “He’s only ever worked in Michelin-starred kitchens and after coming to the château he got his star in a matter of months.” The château’s

The Château de la Treyne now has 17 sumptuous bedrooms each with a unique

The secret to the Château de la Treyne’s success? Stephanie is absolutely clear: “You can only make something like this work if you have a wonderful team moving forward together, with the same vision, passion and drive.”

Left: The Château de la Treyne is run by husband and wife team Stephanie and Philippe Gombert.

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Discover Southern Europe  |  France's Top Fine-Dining Restaurants

The restaurant at the end of the rainbow Many restaurants claim to be inspired by the natural world, but at the Michelinstarred Le Jasmin in the Lot-et-Garonne, France, head chef Xavier Lesueur barely has to peek outside the window to see dazzling creativity. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: HOTEL LE STELSIA

Le Jasmin is located within the 31-bedroom Le Château Hôtel Le Stelsia, a 700-yearold castle, whose walls are literally painted in all the colours of the rainbow. No, your eyes do not deceive you: in his design, hotel co-founder and architect Jacques Bru made liberal use of purple, blue, green and pink paint, intending to infuse the place with fairytale magic. Guests are invited to see the 23-hectare site – five minutes’ drive from Villeneuve -sur-Lot – as a sumptuous playground, with co-founder Philippe Ginestet aiming to “simplify luxury hospitality” and “redefine architecture”. But it’s not only fun and games; in 2018, the hotel’s 20-seat gastronomic restaurant won a prestigious Michelin star, retaining the accolade in 2019 even as it changed chefs.

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The site brings a distinctly sophisticated air, with white tablecloths and Champagne-gold decor indicating a chic oasis within. And it is here that the natural world really does make an appearance: guests can choose from an ever-changing ‘terroir’ menu, which might include local foie gras de canard, farmyard veal, or lamb from the nearby Pyrenees. Fittingly, for a hotel built on childlike wonder, the dessert menu is just as fabulous, in-

cluding creations in fruit and grand cru chocolate from high-end patissier Florian Declerq. A popular option is the ‘Menu Découverte’, where guests can sit back with no idea of what they will receive (allergies notwithstanding) leaving the chefs free to present whatever they can imagine. As Laure Barjou, marketing manager, says: “Lesueur and Declerq are real artists.” It’s a fitting description for chefs who work within such brightly-coloured walls, where creativity is served not only in the decor, but also on Le Jasmin’s perfectly-appointed plates.

+33 3 8532 08 27 120 route des Poccards (Entrance via Rue de la Brasse)


Learning Spanish the family way The Spanish spoken in the historic town of Salamanca is considered by many the purest and most correct in Spain – the equivalent of British RP (received pronunciation). The city is consequently widely considered one of the best places to learn the Spanish language. TEXT: MATTHEW HIRTES  |  PHOTOS: UNAMUNO


panish Courses Unamuno was originally started in Salamanca back in 1987 by Irene Miguel Escobar’s parents, and she now works closely with her father in the running of the school. “My mother was a great Hispanophile,” recalls Escobar. “She had a deep love of our language and read Hispanic Philology at university.” It’s a description Irene hopes her own children will use about her as she remains committed to teaching Spanish using all the five senses. Sultry Salamanca, deep in the heart of traditional Spain’s Castile and Léon, is home to Spain’s oldest university, founded in 1134. The city consequently has strong links to the university wherever you look, with streets full of bookshops, and is very much geared towards student life. Spanish Courses Unamuno takes the third part of its name from celebrated poet,

philosopher and playwright Miguel de Unamuno, who also served as the University of Salamanca’s rector. With a staff of ten including five teachers and, in high season, up to eleven teachers, it’s ideal for group learning. Irene Miguel Escobar highlights “the communicative interaction” as the main benefit of learning Spanish as part of a group. “It’s

an immersive experience and you’re less frightened of making mistakes, as everybody’s at the same level.” Spanish Courses Unamuno also organises trips in and around the city-centre, such as exploring the ‘Ruta de Tapas’ (tapas route), so students can get a real insight into the Spanish way of life. Irene is also a champion of learning Spanish online. “This is a great way of both complementing and reinforcing what you’ve learnt as part of the group,” she explains. “You save on time and travel. Also, you can develop Spanish language skills at your own pace.” With an established reputation as one of the country’s leading residential Spanish schools, Spanish Courses Unamuno is located in an iconic building a mere ten minute walk from Salamanca’s emblematic main square – one of the places Miguel Escobar insists you shouldn’t leave the city without visiting. “Our splendid Plaza Mayor is a must see,” she says, “along with our cathedrals (yes, we have more than one).” Facebook: Spanish Courses Unamuno Instagram: @spanishcoursesunamunosalamanca Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  59

Discover Southern Europe  |  Spain’s Best Language Schools

A new approach to language teaching In the heart of the Spanish capital, Spaneasy is a school with a difference, offering a new approach to learning. “We have chosen not to use a traditional method of teaching. Rather, we focus on communication and practical tasks, often holding classes while exploring the city, so students can really put into practice what they have learned,” explains founder Araceli Marqués.

With an enviable location on Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, Spaneasy offers a welcoming, homely environment where students feel right at home. “We try to help our students as much as possible. As well as teaching them Spanish, we mentor and guide them, helping them organise everything they could possibly need during their stay, from accommodation

to transport. We can even help them open a bank account. We support them closely from day one,” says Araceli. As a result of the friendly and caring atmosphere, students inevitably develop good relationships with the teachers and staff. “We spend hours carrying out different activities together – cooking classes, cinema workshops and walking tours, so our students are immersed in an all-Spanish environment,” she adds. Classes are small, with only six to ten students. “Small classes allow for plenty of student-teacher interaction. Teachers can address the students’ individual strengths and weaknesses, giving each person more attention as well as focussing on individual interests.”


Founded in June 2016, Spaneasy is a relatively young company. “One of our major achievements is that we have received plenty of positive feedback since opening. We are accredited by the Instituto Cervantes as a centre for teaching Spanish as a foreign language, a recognition of the high level of teaching and overall quality our school provides.” Facebook / Linked In: spaneasy Instagram / Twitter: @spaneasy Email:


Invest in your very own corner of the French Riviera Situated on the glittering shores of the Côte d'Azur in the south of France, this exciting property development agency has already made quite the impression with a series of fantastic homes dotted along the coast. Tamarins Groupe is committed to providing idyllic properties in the glamorous yet traditional Mediterranean region; operating in some of its most sought-after areas. TEXT: KATE HARVEY  |  PHOTOS: TAMARINS DEVELOPPEMENT


ringing dreams to reality for buyers, Tamarins knows exactly what makes clients tick. Their recent development, the Parc Croisette residence in Sainte-Maxime is the very essence of contemporary elegance. This small town is the charming sister of Saint-Tropez; sitting snugly between Provençal villages and Mediterranean fishing boats, it offers both tranquillity and access to the liveliest locations along the Riviera. “We’re delighted to announce that we are offering two fabulous Croisette penthouses; both within walking distance of sandy beaches and the Saint Maxime Marina,” says Christophe Battistone, in-house promoter for Tamarins. Designed with their surroundings in mind, each apartment opens up to its own large, sun-drenched terrace: “We have one penthouse of 137 square metres with an impressive 185 square metre terrace, and another of 137 square metres with a 103 square metre terrace to match.”

Tamarins collaborate with the most cuttingedge architects in the region and beyond. Jean-Pascal Clément, the brains behind Parc Croisette, is known for his contemporary portside developments that harmoniously blend with the natural beauty of this shimmering coastline. The two penthouses are enveloped by Mediterranean cacti, pine, and palm trees “in a natural park of 3,500 square metres,” Christophe explains. Residents enjoy total tranquillity in every direction – whether it’s looking out towards the sea, over to the nearby hills, or within their home.

out,” explains Christophe. The properties also exceed security requirements with armoured doors while ensuring high levels of heat and sound insulation. This family-run company guides clients throughout the process, from start to finish, making their investment not only worthwhile but as smooth as possible. “We provide bilingual English/French services and foster long-lasting relationships with our clients particularly if they’re relocating from abroad. We encourage an atmosphere of trust and comfort,” says Christophe, “and guarantee quality assurance in some of the most privileged locations in the south of France.” Facebook: TamarinsDeveloppement Contact Christophe Battistone: 00 336 48 141815 Email:

Their current selection includes top destinations such as Antibes, Nice, Cannes amongst others. “We handpick the finest natural materials such as stone, glass, and aluminium, and all properties have been finished to the highest standards, with stateof-the-art fittings. Residents will enjoy air conditioning, rolling electronic blinds, sliding bay windows, and double glazing throughIssue 4  |  May 2019  |  61

Discover Southern Europe  |  Business

At the heart of the F1 action in Monaco One of the oldest and most glamorous sporting events in the world, the Monaco F1 Grand Prix, is a thrilling spectacle to watch, with cars roaring their way around the circuit at top speed. “We offer some of the very best vantage points to watch the race,” explains owner of Incentive Concept Laurence Cellario, “with a variety of packages designed to fully immerse our clients in the spirit of the competition as the drama unfolds.”

Founded in 2000 as a sport travel incentive and destination management company, Incentive Concept provides exclusive packages to watch the Monaco Grand Prix, transforming some of the city’s most impressive locations into exclusive hospitality locations. The former home of the Singer family, Monaco’s Dance Academy is located just above St Devote corner, offering exceptional views of the circuit from its gardens and two terraces. “We completely transform the

venue into a private club, complete with F1 simulator and wellness centre with osteopathy, reflexology, make-up artists and even a nail salon,” explains Laurence. A live band provides entertainment during the ‘off’ races, while catering services and the open bar ensure Champagne keeps on flowing until the competition is well over. “The yachts offered as part of our hospitality packages are managed directly by various key F1 people. Packages include Sunday prerace Q&A sessions with an F1 celebrity and trackside location to watch the races from three decks,” continues Laurence. Those looking for a more relaxed and understated experience can opt to watch the race from one of the terraces, including at the Caravelles Building, which offers one of the city’s


very best views of the circuit. Alternatively, the Pit Suite at the Belvedere, located at the centre of the pit lane, has a 360-degree view of the track and offers access to the pit walk where clients can see the drivers’ garages. “Every package offers our clients the chance to fully immerse themselves in the world of Formula 1, ensuring they are close to the heart of the action so they can enjoy this glamorous sporting spectacle to the fullest.” Facebook: Incentive-Concept Twitter: @incentiveconcep Linked In: company/incentive-concept Instagram: @incentive_concept_


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 Girona Flower Festival. Photo:

Iberian Mask Festival, Portugal. Photo:


Iberian Mask Festival, Lisbon First week of May Portugal and Spain may form twin parts of the Iberian peninsula, but both countries are often keen to emphasise their separate identities. Once a year, however, the Portuguese capital throws regional differences aside in this brilliantly colourful festival where crowds fill the streets in brightly coloured, patterned masks. From the folksy looking to the outand-out Pagan, there are masks of all kinds and for several days, Lisbon parties with street processions, traditional folk dancing displays, free outdoor concerts and general merriment of all kinds.

Roman Games, Nimes 3, 4 and 5 May For three days in early May, 500 actors from France, Italy, Germany and Croatia descend on Nimes’ Roman amphitheatre – the best preserved in the world, to take part in the ‘Great Roman Games’. One of Europe’s largest historical re-enactment events, the games recreates this impressive spectacle as it would have been 2,000 years ago, complete with Roman legionnaires, chariot racing and gladiator fights. This year’s games will also feature an archaeologically accurate Roman camp. Actors will live in legionnaire tents for five days and visitors Issue 4  |  May 2019  |  63

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Giudecca Art District Venice. Photo: Giudecca Art District

can chat to historians and archaeologists dressed in Roman attire for workshops and demonstrations.

Venice’s new Art District opens in Guidecca From 11 May May sees the launch of Venice’s first permanent art district on the formerly industrial island of Giudecca. Close to the home of the world-famous Venice Biennale – a major date on the international art calendar – the new district has recently become one of the city’s most cutting-edge art districts featuring state of the art hotels, art-inspired restaurants and industrial chic throughout. The newly launched district will feature 11 galleries and three national pavilions for 2019, from Estonia, Iceland Nigeria. Also opening will be a new contemporary art space, Giudecca Art District Gallery and Garden, featuring work by no less than 60 artists from 30 countries. Keep your eyes peeled for celebrity Giudecca residents Elton John and Miuccia Prada. 64  |  Issue 4  |  May 2019

Giro d’Italia – Tour of Italy 11 May – 2 June Along with the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia is one of the key dates on the international cycling calendar, watched by millions around the world. This year, the Giro starts in Bologna. Photo: Giro d’Italia.

Cannes Film Festival 14 – 25 May The Cannes Film Festival is one of the major dates on the international film calendar with A-list stars attending from around the world. Most of the festival is off-limits to the public but there are free open air screenings at the Cinéma de la Plage so you can enjoy

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Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Photographers at Cannes film festival. Photo: Cyril Duchêne FDC

a film and get a taste of the glamour and glitz at the same time.

Festa dei Ceri – Race of the candles, Gubbio, Umbria 15 May They know how to celebrate a fiesta in Italy and the Festa dei Ceri is one of the oldest and Ferrara, Italy. Photo:

66  |  Issue 4  |  May 2019

most colourful events in Umbria, dating back to the 12th century. Every year, on 15 May, three vast wooden poles, representing candles, are carried through the streets (it takes ten men to carry each one) in a race to the city’s basilica. The procession starts early in the morning to the sound of beating drums, and the streets are decorated with flags and banners with the symbols of the saints.

Temps de Flors Flower Festival, Girona 11 – 19 May Many cities in Europe have flower festivals, but Girona’s is more like a flower festival and an art festival rolled into one. Flower displays by artists take the form of installations filling churches, shops, public buildings and even entire streets, especially throughout the city’s historic medieval old town.

Jerez Horse Fair 11 – 18 May The Andalucian town of Jerez is best known for two things – sherry and horses. The annual Jerez Horse Fair has been going since the 13th century and is now one of the biggest horse events of its kind with international show jumping competitions, dressage, horse rallies and exhibitions. Marquees fill the González de Hontoria park with food and drink stands and children’s activities whilst locals dance Sevillanas into the small hours, and a firework display rounds it all off.

Fiesta de San Isidro, Madrid 15 May One of Madrid’s major festivals, the Fiesta de San Isidro sees Madrileños and Madrileñas take to the streets for free open air concerts, street parades and partying. Locals dress up in traditional costumes to the strains of the chotis – Madrid’s traditional dance. Look out for traditional doughnuts including ‘rosquillas’ – aniseed doughnuts; ‘tontas’ – ‘the stupid ones’ without icing; or ‘listas’ – ‘the clever ones’ with lemon icing. There are also children’s activities throughout the city.

Bombas Gens Centre d´Art

A Different Gaze: Japanese Photography and The Art of Provocation

22.02.2019 02.02.2020

TITLE: The Gaze of Things. Japanese Photography in the Context of Provoke ARTISTS: Nobuyoshi Araki, Kōji Enokura, Takashi Hamaguchi, Hiroshi Hamaya, Daidō Moriyama, Tamiko Nishimura, Akira Satō, Yutaka Takanashi, Kikuji Kawada and Shōmei Tōmatsu, among others CURATORS: Nuria Enguita and Vicent Todolí

© Jabali Studio

Between 1957 and 1972, a radical transformation in the language of photography took place in Japan, led by a group of photographers who had made their names in the post-war era. These changes happened alongside the major socio-economic and cultural changes of the time, and were informed by the strong feelings held by many towards the legacy of the American occupation.

Upcoming: Nicolás Ortigosa. Works 2002–2018

This exhibition shows a selection of works from the Per Amor a l’Art Collection - the most important private collection of Japanese photography of this era outside Japan.

16.05.2019 13.10.2019 At Bombas Gens Centre d’Art, Nicolás Ortigosa (Logroño, 1983) presents work produced between 2002 and 2018, spanning sixteen years of his career. Nicolás Ortigosa. Divine Comedy. Inferno, 2009. Per Amor a l’Art Collection © Nicolás Ortigosa

Shōmei Tōmatsu. The Trip, 1959. Per Amor a l’Art Collection. © Shōmei Tōmatsu - INTERFACE Avenida Burjassot, 54 València, Spain Bombas Gens Centre d´Art is promoted by Fundació Per Amor a l´Art






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