We’re excited to announce that Le Sud de France: The Food & Cooking of the Languedoc, published by Prospect Books and distributed in North America by the David Brown Book Company has won Food Book of the Year in the Fortnum & Mason Food & Drink Awards 2013.
The annual awards recognize excellence in writing, publishing and broadcasting on food and drink. Hosted by Claudia Winkleman, the awards were made in 10 categories and saw industry legends together with some of the finest emerging talent in the UK media win awards.
The book has also won the Andre Simon Memorial Fund Book of the Year 2013 and was the winner in two English categories of the Gourmand International Cookbook Awards in Paris, 2013.
Languedoc-Roussillion (not forgetting the Midi-Pyrénées and Aquitaine) are the regions of France most settled by English expatriate colonists. Caroline Conran has spent much time there since the early 1970s and her collection of recipes reflects years of travel, conversation, cooking, eating and drinking. She has shared her knowledge with English readers in a previous book, Under the Sun: Caroline Conran’s French Country Cooking, but here she concentrates upon this single region of Languedoc which curls up from the Spanish border, along the Mediterranean coast as far as the Rhône valley.
This is not polite France, this is ‘in your face’ France; it’s history buried amidst the Crusades and Cathars, its towns and cities – Nimes, Toulouse, Carcassonne, Narbonne, Perpignan, Montpellier, Beziers – making up a fiercely independent region. Its people are passionate about rugby, about hunting and foraging, with a cuisine of their own, more Southern, simpler, more earthy, and less influenced by the Michelin style of cooking than the rest of France. There will be information on the particular specialities of the pays, such as chestnuts, sweet onions, Bouzigues mussels and oysters (shellfish reared in the Bassin de Thau), salt cod, poufres (baby octopus), charcuterie, salades sauvages (salads of wild plants), the rose coloured garlic of Lautrec, wild asparagus and local mushrooms. There will be descriptions of places where oysters, truffles, chestnuts or calçots – a giant spring onion, eaten roasted on a fire of vine-prunings – are the obsession of everyone in the community.
Caroline Conran is a writer with a quiver of successful books in her armoury. From Poor Cook to the Conran Cookbook, to her groundbreaking translations of Michel Guérard and other French chefs.
You can read more details about the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards here