Éric Sapet, the Michelin-starred chef of La Petite Maison in the heart of the Lubéron region of southern France, has revisited the Provençal Christmas dinner for Michelin. For his ‘big supper’ in this region renowned for the 13 Desserts of Provence, Éric will serve only three dishes, but they add up to a real holiday feast featuring the fabulous flavours of the south. And all at an extremely reasonable €30 per guest!
Éric Sapet, an epicurean chef
In cuisine, the love of good food is an expression of curiosity and therefore of intelligence. For the illustrious French gastronome Brillat-Savarin, ‘gourmandise is an act of judgement’. Éric Sapet’s journey clearly expresses this epicurean intelligence which translates as a willingness to try all of the experiences and flavours the world has to offer.
After spending eleven years perfecting the classics in the finest Parisian restaurants, such as La Tour d’Argent
and Jacques Cagna
, Éric Sapet hung his toque in the kitchens of La Cardinale,
a Relais et Châteaux establishment in the Ardèche where he created a style all his own with an accent on fusion rather than on diversity. Here the classic hare à la royale is presented alongside dishes of Moroccan or Indonesian inspiration.
He later moved back to Provence, a region dear to his heart, where he spent eight years running the kitchens of Le Mas des Herbes Blanches
and was awarded a star in the Michelin guide. In 2005 he joined the Moulin de Lourmarin
and in 2006 the Maison Gouin
, where he stayed until 2007, the year Sapet took the leap and bought La Petite Maison,
a restaurant nestling in the heart of an archetypal French village called Cucuron
La Petite Maison in postcard-pretty Provence
His village inn gives onto one of Provence’s prettiest squares, embellished by a large pool surrounded by centuries-old plane trees. You half expect the figures of Provençal literature to appear from around the corner - the well-digger and his daughter; the miller and his donkey... Nestled in 13C ramparts, the medieval village is appealingly authentic - so much so, in fact, that French director Jean-Paul Rappeneau filmed The Horseman on the Roof here. Guests of Sapet’s inviting, pastel-toned establishment may dine on the shaded terrace or in one of two dining rooms sporting a warm Provençal decor of white-washed walls, 17C tapestries, old wood and the subtle art of the simple wicker chair. True luxury.
Market-fresh cuisine = holiday cuisine
In Cucuron, the market is held on Place de l’Étang, the square where La Petite Maison is situated. In this jovial, good-humoured market typical of Provence, Éric Sapet’s booming laugh punctuates the banter of local producers. All year round, our chef offers delicious and unaffected seasonal cuisine with two menus that change every few days and a well-rounded wine list. Prices are reasonable.
For the holidays during these trying times, Sapet has come up with a Christmas Eve dinner for € 30/£ 28 per person (plus wine). The menu features Hokkaido squash soup & gourmet mushrooms on toast; breast of farm-raised chicken stuffed with truffled risotto & foie gras and an apple, quince and gingerbread charlotte.
A very merry epicurean Christmas to all!
The recipes in detail:
La Petite Maison de Cucuron
Place de l’Etang
Tel: (33) 04 90 68 21 99
AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT…