BEFORE going on a trip, most people will buy a travel guide telling them everything they should know about the country, the places to visit, the hotels to stay and the restaurants eat at depending on their budget.
As the date of departure approaches, the pages fill with marks and notes by unmissable places and recommendations from friends, all in expectation of creating the ultimate unforgettable adventure.
Once on site, the travel guide becomes a precious bible, following you everywhere you go…unless you are the one following it!
But what if the ultimate travel guide wasn’t the one that you find on the travel shelves of a bookstore. What if you found your own personal Fodor’s in a cookbook? A cookbook that would make such a lasting impression that you’d have your tickets booked by page 12.
The first feeling I got when opening ‘Cuisinier Gascon’ was that the book and especially the recipes weren’t very well presented. It was too messy for my eyes and the too many different fonts and the pictures didn’t really match those of a classic cookbook. Not good for a start, so I closed it.
And then, I opened it again and thought: ‘It isn’t a cookbook, it’s a travel guide. A culinary travel guide of Gascony honouring the best Gascon and French traditional foods with beautiful pictures of what Gascony feels like.’
A picture of a man eating an oyster on the beach, a picture of a white boat under a perfect blue sky, pictures of nature, the countryside, rivers, the ocean… Cuisinier Gascon is an ode to the products and ingredients that makes the region, the terroir, so unique with such a rich culinary history.
As the ultimate Gascony culinary travel guide, the book features creative recipes about traditional foie gras and pig trotters but also highlights its hidden treasures, including Lillet Blanc, Piment d’Espelette, Perigord Truffle.
The Camembert with Spiced Tarte Tatin Apples was the perfect recipe to treat my English guests to a French spin on a popular combination of ingredients in both France and the UK.
Camembert with Spiced Tarte Tatin Apples – Serves 4
3 Golden Delicious or Ganny Smith apples
100g golden caster sugar or light soft brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cloves or 5 whole cloves
120g slightly salted butter, in cubes
1 whole camembert
Core the apples, then slice each into eight pieces. You can peel the apples first if you like, but leaving the skins gives them more character and colour.
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
Heat a large shallow-based pan with heatproof handles and when hot sprinkle in the sugar in an even layer with 2 tablespoons of water.
Leave the pan undisturbed and watch the sugar dissolve into a caramel, adjusting the temperature down if it starts to burn. Resist the temptation to stir until it is a pale caramel, then remove from the heat. Ad the clove, then the butter in cubes, stirring until well mixed in.
Scatter in the apple slices, stirring to coat them in the buttery caramel, then place the pan in the preheated oven. Roast for 15-20 min until the apples have softened, basting once or twice with the pan juices. Remove from the heat and discard the whole cloves, if using. Cool until warm.
Serve the cheese in wedges with the apples alongside.
Published by Absolut Press