Some of my gastronomic finds, cafés, restaurants, shops and people who have made an impression on me and who I find inspirational. Some from France, some from Estonia and all connected to food in one way or another. For a little insight and hoping my findings may inspire you as well, I asked them a couple of questions. So without further ado - introducing some of my favourites.
Le Clos de Laure
I discovered Le Clos de Laure a couple of years ago when I had the opportunity to create some recipes for them. Not only did I end up finding some new preserved favourites, like their incredibly fragrant lavender confit, but I also found that they are the epitome of a small artisanal French family run company. Located in the South of France they make everything by hand using wonderful local high quality produce. Vibrant seasonal and regional fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers are treated with love and attention and preserved in jars as jams, marmalades, spreads, and syrups. I asked Jérôme, the son of the creaters of Le Clos de Laure, a couple of questions and here is what he had to say...
Where did the idea for Le Clos de Laure come from?
Le Clos de Laure was created in 2001 by my parents. Coming from gastronomic background, they decided to found their own company to give culinary life to the soil of their ancestors and thus continue to enrich these culinary traditions which they carry in their hearts. We are fortunate to have a beautiful rural land where everything grows thanks to a favorable climate. The culinary inspirations are therefore endless!
What would you like people to know about Le Clos de Laure?
We are passionate about good food and beautiful products. We make all our products by hand with fruits and vegetables from local producers within 100 km radius. Each recipe is created so that all the natural flavors and colors can be preserved and all the ingredients work together in balance.
If you could choose only one product, which one would it be?
Confit of rose petals from Grasse. It is a wonderful product that we work on every year in May during the centifolia rose harvest. It is an old rose variety used by perfumers, which therefore has an extraordinary, sweet, fresh, persistent fragrance. Cooked in a copper cauldron and turned by hand, we make it into confit or a syrup. It is a 100% natural product with great elegance in flavour and a silky texture rendered by the many petals that we add to it. It can be eaten on a panna cotta, to flavor homemade shortbread, raspberry tiramisu or to accompany goat cheese.
Le Clos de Laure is located in Nice in the South of France. To learn more about them, have a look at their website here.
I have loved using herbs in cooking, baking and home remedies for a long time. So when I discovered there was an herbalist shop around the corner from me, I had to know everything about them. That's how I met Myriam, the creator and herbalist of Herbonata. I asked her about her love for herbs and creating her own herb shop and this is what she had to say...
Why do you love herbs? - It's fascinating to observe nature and take a closer look at our surroundings. I have always been passionate about herbs, their flavour and fragrance and especially their benefits to our wellbeing.
Where did the idea for Herbonata come from? - The ultimate goal was to democratize the use of medicinal plants. I used to work in an old herbalist shop in Paris and I noticed that most of the clientele were people who were already familiar with herbs, mostly older generation and rarely young people. So I wanted to create a place that would provide the same kind of quality and advise of a traditional herbalist shop but would appeal to younger generation as well. More luminous, added natural cosmetics and similar products that would appeal to a younger customer.
If you could choose only one herb, which one would it be? - A very difficult question... Nettle for its wide range of properties. And also because it's very easy to find in nature and not expensive to buy. So it's something we always have at home. I also like Nigella a lot. Already because it's a beautiful flower but it also has many different benefits for immune system, skin, allergies etc. And also because Nigella seeds taste like Tagada strawberry candies!
What would you like people to know about Herbonata? - Herbonata offers high quality herbs with the majority being certified organic herbs, which today is rare to find in herbalist shops. And for those who do not like the taste of herbal teas but who would still like to reap the benefits, we have developed herb concentrates.
Herbonata is located just outside of Paris, in my lovely hometown of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. To learn more about the power of herbs and about Herbonata, have a look at their website here.