Virgile's Vineyard

Arrazat's Aubergines: Inside a Languedoc Kitchen

Patrick Moon, Author . Profile $19.95 (282p) ISBN 978-1-86197-706-9

Moon's sabbatical of country living and tutelage under a winemaker in Languedoc, a region of southern France, was the subject of his first book, Virgile's Vineyard . That year left him wanting more; he subsequently left his London legal career and moved permanently to Languedoc, where he found himself apprenticing again—this time to Laurent Arrazat, a renowned chef and new restaurateur. This book initially promises to divulge the inner workings of a first-class restaurant in the French countryside, where the emphasis is on the use of local ingredients, as well as on the curious juxtaposition of tradition and innovation. Alas, Moon spends a marginal amount of time in Laurent's kitchen; readers learn much more about Moon's progress in restoring his home, cultivating his land and discovering local foods. The latter subject provides the most fodder, and Moon spends many a day trip discovering histories of Languedoc foodstuffs: Labiel fish, Perrier water, Roquefort cheese and fleur de sel salt. Moon's comic insight into his rural neighbors' quirks buoys what might otherwise be a dry study of regional foods. The buffet of colorful characters and food adventures will please Francophiles, foodies and anyone who wants to experience la vie rustique —without the hassles of actually living it. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/05/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
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Hardcover - 300 pages - 978-1-78306-271-3
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