Monday, March 22, 2010

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations - Provence

Tonight’s all new episode of No Reservations finds Tony visiting Provence, a region of southeastern France on the Mediterranean. Provence's simplistic lifestyle and approach to food is one of its most captivating and salient qualities. While there, Tony becomes enamored with its culture and cuisine, which stresses using fresh and superior ingredients like wine, cheese, bread and beautiful cuts of meat.

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on the Travel Channel
Anthony’s first adventure while in Provence is to learn how to make aioli, a sauce made of garlic and olive oil. As simple as it sounds, this sauce takes time and care for the perfect consistency and taste. In fact, the woman preparing it refused to do so outside because the wind might have affected the outcome. She uses a mortar and pestle, while Tony snaps green beans next to her. This sauce is traditionally served on vegetables and fish, which is exactly what Tony and his friends have for lunch.

Next, it's an early rise for drinks at Bar du Marche. The local men have made this an early Sunday morning tradition with wine, cheese, and sausages. Tony chats with his tablemates about their opinions on Provence food versus other areas of France. Tony then gets a family history lesson from his friend Anne and sits down for a snacks and drinks. The drink of choice in this region is Ricard wine (ice cubes and all). According to Anne, the popularity of this drink is due to how refreshing it is and the fact that it helps with digestion.

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations - Provence - Tony on a tour of the Domaine de Val Joanis winery with owner Jean Chancel
After that, Tony tries his hand at a game called Pétanque, which is similar to Bocce. The game originated in Provence and the locals consider it a serious competition. Tony gets his you-know-what handed to him within just a few minutes! Bourdain then takes a tour the Domaine de Val Joanis winery. Interestingly, the soil is really rocky and unforgiving. The locals believe that the soil forces the grape vines to work harder and penetrate deeper, which provides a unique taste to the wine. Last but not least, Tony meets back up with his friend Anne at her dessert shop Au Petit Duc to try Calisson, a classic almond dessert. Anne ends up putting Tony to work in her kitchen to see just how good his dessert skills really are. I hope Tony brought his A game!

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations airs Monday nights at 10/9c on the Travel Channel.
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