What could be better than lunch in Uzès? Louise takes us to the home of Annie, former physics teach turned goat farmer and cheese maker, for a lovely luncheon. A unique opportunity to learn about the terroir and our local food culture.
One of the reasons that I love spending time in Uzès, is the opportunity to eat local food sold by the producer. One such producer is Annie, a goat farmer from a little village just outside Uzès. On Wednesdays and Saturdays you can find her tiny stall on the Uzès market. This is where she sells her fresh and aged goats cheese. The freshest cheeses will have been made at dawn that morning and decorated with fresh flowers and herbs for added colour and flavour.
Annie is passionate about plants, their healing properties and is and advocate for the pleasure gained from eating well. When her son was born, Annie wanted him to have the happy outdoor life that she had experienced as a child so she gave up her career to return to the family farm and has lived there ever since. As well as running the farm and selling at the market, Annie will cook lunch for you at her home, by arrangement. My family spent the afternoon on the farm enjoying a delicious meal under the shade of a huge mulberry tree. Every item on our plate had been grown and reared by Annie.
On arrival we were handed glasses of a delicious cocktail made from a local vigneron’s wine and Annie’s apricot liqueur. As we sat in the sunshine, admiring the potager, Annie walked round collecting herbs and dozens of tiny red, yellow and orange tomatoes to go with our home-cured pork loin. As we ate, Annie talked to us about the plants in her garden, their medicinal uses and nutritional benefits. It later transpired that Annie had recently qualified as a naturopath. We learned about edible flowers and the importance of harvesting them early in the morning whilst still covered in dew.
Our main course was roast shoulder of goat served with spiced squash and a grain that resembled giant couscous or pearl barley. Annie told us that it was an ancient grain, a precursor to modern wheat that had tremendous nutritional properties. I now know that this was, in fact, spelt (which I had previously only come across as a flour) and which a number of local organic farmers have started to grow. Spelt flour is naturally low in gluten and pain d’épeautre can be found in a number of Uzès bakeries.
Our next course was, naturally, Annie’s famous cheese. We sampled three different version of young (day old) goats cheese – rolled in peppercorns, garnished with thin slivers of shallot and decorated with marigolds.
Our dessert was a goat’s cheese faisselle (a type of fromage frais), made at 11 that morning, served with a redcurrant and blackberry coulis.
Annie told us that she would not be offering coffee, preferring instead that we try her tisane made from flowers and herbs gathered and dried each morning. The aroma was delicious but it will take a lot to wean me off coffee! The cost of this lunch? Well, to quote the MasterCard advert, it was priceless. Eating salad so fresh that it was still warm from the sun, tasting the herbal pastures in the goats meat and learning so much about the gifts of nature from our charming and generous hostess was the stuff of which memories are made.
Booking your lunch
The best way to reserve lunch with Annie is to approach her at the market directly as she can be hard to reach by phone. She can organize lunch if you are a group and will discuss the menu with you ahead of time.
For other memorable luncheons in Uzès, join one a fabulous Week in Uzès and enjoy a culinary and cultural experience designed by French chefs with home cooks in mind.