‘This is the ideal book for anyone yearning for a taste of France this winter.’
- The Connexion, February 2022
Menu from the Midi explores French gastronomy from the farmer’s field to the dining room table. Concentrating on the south of France, the book is structured as a menu carefully compiled to give the reader a balanced diet of gastronomy, history, legend and local colour. Uniquely, it adds into this mix a celebration of the dedicated and passionate people who produce some of the finest raw ingredients and foodstuffs you are ever likely to taste.
Appreciating good food and wine needs the right ambiance, the right company and plenty of time. Sit back, relax and savour the oldest sparkling wine in the world, le Rolls-Royce of olives, pink garlic soup, meats of the black Gascon pig, the legendary cassoulet, cheese from the caves of Roquefort, and learn how the Midi’s ornate pigeon towers ensured a constant supply of roast pigeon.
No wonder the father of food journalism and gastronomic guides, Grimod de La Reynière, had this to say 200 years ago: ‘In good towns of the Midi, a great dinner is an affair of state. One speaks of it three months beforehand and digesting it lasts six weeks.’
Menu from the Midi is primarily aimed at the growing army of food lovers who truly care and sometimes worry about the origin of their food and how it is produced. It will also appeal to those with an affection for the country that created so many aspects of modern gastronomy.
How Menu from the Midi was born
"I began this project with a question: what would be the perfect recipe for a book about gastronomy? Perhaps the first step would be to structure it like a gastronomic menu, starting with a lengthy aperitif and closing with a digestif. Compile this menu using ingredients and dishes whose stories will offer the reader a balanced diet of gastronomy, history, legend and local colour. Next, select the country that has made the greatest contribution to gastronomy as we know it today (France), and zoom in on one of its most attractive regions (the Midi). Add into the mix a series of interviews with those who are often overlooked but are at the origin of any gastronomic experience: the dedicated and passionate people who strive to produce exceptional raw ingredients and foodstuffs. Lastly, ask a few chefs and home cooks to contribute their traditional recipes."
Where is the Midi?
Although the Midi can claim to have distinctive cultural, gastronomic and linguistic roots, administratively it does not exist.
The closest it has come to officialdom was in the name of a region, but Midi-Pyrénées disappeared after a 2016 merger with Languedoc-Roussillon.
The new region is called Occitanie, and today it holds centre stage in the Midi in terms of physical size and geographic position.
Introducing our Menu from the Midi...
...starting with the aperitif
...starting with the aperitif
Cheese, Dessert and Digestif
A Visual Feast
This ten-minute video is an audiovisual companion to the book Menu from the Midi.
Everyone can savour these glorious gastronomic images from the south of France, but to appreciate them fully, you need to read the book!
Donkey Aperitif: A Threat to National Security?
Enjoy a drink with friends and a couple of donkeys, and discover why the government in 1940 banned or restricted the sale and consumption of aperitif drinks throughout Vichy France.