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Monday 8 October 2012

Autumn in the South of France - Orange Vineyards, Céret Cherries & Truffle Markets

The seasons are changing in the Languedoc and although we are reluctant to say goodbye to the glorious summer sun and long balmy evenings there is another delightful season approaching. Autumns in the South of France are dramatic. 

The vineyards that cover the rolling landscape turn to varying shades of vivid orange. Its a season of bright skies, fresh air and some tasty gastronomic delights...

With Halloween on the horizon, and Toussaint (All Saints day) to follow, the kids will soon be filling up on sugary treats. More exciting than boiled sweets and foil-wrapped chocolate are the sweet and natural treats that the Languedoc has to offer.

Cherries from Céret -The region around Céret in the Pyrénées-Orientales is a major fruit producer, well know for its cherries. It is a Local tradition that the first harvest of cherries be sent to the President of France. Céret hosts a cherry festival each year with such oddities as cherry beer and a cherry stone spitting competition. A delicious treat for an Autumn evening would be a Cherry clafoutis, a delicious, baked French dessert made with a thick flan-like batter.

Quinces - or in French 'Coings' These fruits flourish in the warm Mediterranean climate and are just coming in to season. They are a fruit not dissimilar to a pear can often have hard flesh and tough skin. They have a wonderful sweet flavour and are best made into jellies and compotes!

Chestnuts - the Fêtes du Marron or Fêtes du Châtaignes take place throughout the Languedoc. These sweet and nutty treats are eaten roasted, made into chestnut paste, delicious cakes or even fudge! Orlagues, in the Herault,  has a Fête du Marron and Vin Nouveau in October.

And it's not just the sugary delicacies that are worth tasting but the savoury produce too...Autumn and Winter see the return of the mushroom picking season so Ceps and Truffles will be abundant throughout the markets. Uzès, in the Gard department, is famous for its Truffle Markets! 

www.discover-uzes.com Mushroom pickers who go in search of the fragrant and highly sought after Cep can take their mushrooms into the pharmacy for checking to make sure that they are edible.The grape harvest of late summer means that it is nearly time for the 'Vin Primeur', the first wine of the new harvest.

In Provence the First Côtes du Rhône festival takes place in Avignon on the third Thursday of November.

Equally tasty - and the perfect locations for delving into the local delicacies - are South France Villas delightful holiday rentals. We have a handful of properties that are new on our site 

Les Combes HE082A is a beautiful, renovated old wine cave with stunning hillside view, close to the market town of Saint-Chinian - where you can buy fabulous local produce.

La Grange HE083A

La Grange  is an large, elegant Provençal farmhouse with stylish but traditional furnishings in the beautiful town of Roquebrun.

Villa St Jean VR010A is in between Fréjus and Cannes and has stunning views over the Esterel valley.

Autumnal Vineyards and the Carcassonne Cité