Julia at her estate in Provence
I have had the great pleasure to meet Julia Child on three occasions. The first was a cooking class during the 1980’s. My second rendezvous was at a charity benefit of American Institute of Wine and Food. The last time I met Julia was her 90th birthday celebration at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. Thus, when I had the opportunity to rent her home in Provence, I jumped on it in a flash! That opportunity was four years ago when 2017 seemed forever away. Now, I'm actually here.
We arrived today to begin a special week’s homage to Julia. There are 10 of us who have come to pay tribute, all serious foodies and Julia groupies. All women, each carefully chosen for Wine-Knows’ inaugural tribute to Julia. Each one of us is armed with our favorite Julia recipes to prepare during this seven day feast in honor of Julia.
We have divided ourselves into pairs, five cooking teams of two femmes. We will visit several different outdoor markets to procure our products. As Julia wrote her ground-breaking two-volume books, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, for the American housewife who shopped in supermarkets, we’ll also visit the area’s largest supermarket to buy our many kilos of butter and liters of cream.
Some teams picked their Julia recipes over a year in advance. Julia’s bouillabaisse was one of the first things chosen. Slow-roasted veal shanks in red wine was also snapped up much in advance. One team is deciding on the fly (based on weather) between Julia’s cassoulet with duck confit (for colder temperatures), or her classic coq au vin (if the weather is warmer). Another pair are gourmands but don’t fancy cooking complicated recipes---they have chosen salade Nicoise, a simple but gorgeous salad of grilled ahi tuna, tomatoes, green beans, eggs, olives, and potatoes. Still another two-some will cook Julia’s thinly-sliced veal cooked in a butter and wine sauce.
Julia’s bouillabaisse with a white wine from Grand Devers
Each couplet is responsible for one dinner, with a backup team assigned to help with prep, serving, and cleanup. Wines are also part of the pair’s responsibility. Considering the above foods, plans are underway for some to serve Champagne, while others are eyeing Provence’s Grenache or Syrah. Still others are looking at wines from Southern France’s most illustrious district, Chateauneuf-du-Pape. There’s word on the street that one of the pairs will be concocting a special Julia cocktail, with ingredients beginning with the letters “J,” “U,” “L,” and “I.” The last ingredient in the drink is “A” for Aperol.
This trip will be repeated twice in 2018, and both weeks have sold out. Another trip has just been added for June 2019. Are you a Julia fan? If so, this is a trip of a lifetime to be able to spend a week on the estate in which she wrote her famous cookbooks. For more information, check it out: