Published: 28/01/2014
ISBN: 9781783062713
eISBN: 9781783067893
Format: Paperback/eBook

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About the Author

Patrick Moon was born in Cornwall in 1953. He studied History and French at Oxford University and then went on to qualify as a solicitor. He worked for nearly twenty years as a lawyer in a large Londo... read more

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Arrazat's Aubergines
Inside a Languedoc Kitchen
by Patrick Moon

In the sequel to Virgile’s Vineyard, Patrick Moon explores the world of
Languedoc food and cuisine.

Returning to his challenging home in southern France, Patrick could easily fill the days protecting infant vines from marauding wild boar and hiding baby truffle oaks from unscrupulous neighbours. However, the local campsite café has just been transformed into an ambitious new restaurant and he is intrigued by the talented young chef’s determination to achieve perfection on a shoestring.

Patrick soon finds himself pitching in, sleeves rolled up, to spend a year 'backstage' and share the triumphs, disasters and sheer hard work in a small but serious French restaurant kitchen. But will the VIP diners guess that he has never made mayonnaise before? Or that he put the wrong sauce on the starter?

Not content with all this, Patrick also embarks on a wider exploration of the Languedoc’s finest produce for the table, from mighty household names to eccentric peasant smallholdings. Throughout the seasons, his quest uncovers the secrets of olive oil and salt production, the mysteries of Ricard and the Roquefort caves, and the miracle of the sparkling Perrier spring. He even finds time to visit some of the region’s top chefs for more 'behind the scenes' discoveries.

But there are always the vines and olives, not to mention aubergines, demanding attention at home…

First published in 2005, Arrazat’s Aubergines, Patrick’s second book, is a great stand-alone read for any Francophile, food-lover or armchair chef, deploying a colourful cast of entertaining characters and a rich vein of humour to deliver a wealth of fascinating information. For fans of its predecessor, Virgile’s Vineyard, it also continues the story of many favourite figures, including Virgile himself.

Praise for Arrazat's Aubergines

"The perfect food-based sequel to his wine book" – Restaurant Magazine

"Enough erudition and warmth to make it as rewarding as one of the sensational local Roqueforts... Moon finds himself immersed in the back-breaking but romantic business of Languedoc cuisine, and leads us on a mouth-watering odyssey through snails, crayfish, foie gras – and aubergines. The humour is gentle but this is a thoughtful – and by no means misty-eyed – paean to the people and food of the region." – Daily Mail

"The buffet of colourful characters and food adventures will please Francophiles, foodies and anyone who wants to experience la vie rustique—without the hassles of actually living it." – Publishers Weekly

"His drive, affection and enthusiasm for his subject matter shine through" – In-House Lawyer

"Cleverly combines the slog of Hell's Kitchen with all the familiar, friendly elements of foreign fantasy." – The Times

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Selina will also be interviewing me about Arrazat's Aubergines at the same time on 4 December

Selina McKenzie will be interviewing me about Virgile's Vineyard live on Talk Radio Europe at 13.40 UK time on 27 November

Together with Virgile Joly, I shall be signing copies of ‘Virgile’s Vineyard’ at a launch party for the new edition of the book to be held at the Maison de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon in London on 30 October. The event is hosted by Naked Wines, who have purchased 10,000 copies of the book for their customers! -
(By invitation from Naked Wines only)

Adrienne Fryer, who painted the cover images for both 'Virgile's Vineyard'and 'Arrazat's Aubergines', will be promoting all my books at the exhibition of her paintings which she is holding from 19th to 23rd October at The Old Chapel, Fore Street, Chagford, Devon.

Languedoc Living

The French Village Diaries, 24 March

Cayocosta72 Bookblog, 31 January

If you enjoyed "Virgile's Vineyard", you'll enjoy this sequel too. Virgile isn't the primary focus this time, but it does show you something of how his life moves on. It also features some of the other quirky characters in "Virgile's Vineyard", including Patrick's neighbour, Manu, plus some new and equally entertaining additions. On Patrick's return to the Languedoc, he quickly discovers that Laurent Arrazat, an ambitious young chef, has opened a new restaurant in what used to be the local camp site cafe. Laurent agrees to let him in behind the scenes to find out more about what it takes to run a small but serious restaurant, much as Virgile allowed him to experience what it took to make great wine in the first book. He soon gets involved in the painstaking chores of food preparation and the stressful pressures of a busy service, learning the hard way that running the restaurant is far from easy, especially when there's a new motorway being built just in front of it! At home, he tends his 40 vines, which Virgile has looked after for him in his absence, he continues to wrestle light-heartedly with the vagaries of Manu, and he battles with the ever-sprawling vegetation on his land. Interspersed with all this, he travels around the Languedoc visiting the kitchens of various other restaurants, some of them top notch, whilst also finding out first-hand about the production of many of the gastronomic specialities of the region, including olive oil, Camargue salt and Roquefort cheese, not to mention oyster farming and the miraculous Perrier spring. All very interesting and informative, written with familiar wit and in Patrick's very readable style.

by Julie Boulton


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