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Mar 27, 2009 01:52 PM

Best French regional cookbook? aka, What to do with my 2000 Chateauneuf?

So I'm trying to build a dinner around a few bottles of 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape that I recently won at a wine auction (Domaine Font de Michelle, if that helps). Question is, what to serve? I'm right at the beginning of learning French cuisine -- comfortable in the kitchen, but most of my home cooking experience has been Japanese, Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean/Mideast, so this is fairly new territory for me. I'm making my way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art, etc., but thought it might make sense (and be fun!) to get a regional cookbook for this particular project. Suggestions?

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  1. I don’t think you’ll find cookbooks limited to Vaucluse, but there are plenty of books on Provencal cooking. Just offhand, there’s “Patricia Wells at Home in Provence" and the classic ”French Provincial Cooking” by Elizabeth David.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JoanN

      Thanks, Joan! I'll be sure to check those out...

    2. I'd strongly suggest the late Mireille Johnston's The Cuisine of the Sun, which covers both the Riviera and backcountry Provence. It's available on amazon, and begins with the classic opening sentence, "I was born in a tall apricot-colored house with green shutters overlooking the sea..." The book design, by Milton Glaser, also captures our fascination with Provencal motifs. A good CdP, maybe preceded by a cold Cassis blanc, works well with her aromatic daubes, pastas, stews, and roasts. Sante.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bob96

        Excellent suggestion! Marvelous book with great information about the ingredients and dishes of Nice and Provence as well as suggested menus and how to plan them. And no less an authority than M.F.K. Fisher called it "One of the best regional cookbooks I know about . . . a delight."

        1. re: JoanN

          Thank you Bob and Joan! The Johnston sounds pretty much perfect, and Amazon has it for all of $6 ....

      2. How about Anne Willan's Country Cooking of France, or Paul Bocuse's Bocuse in your Kitchen? I don't think of Chateauneuf du Pape as going well with Provencal food. Too big.