I’m always on the lookout for interesting spots in the Alpilles and I’ve recently found a new one! Les Gourmandises de To is an Epicerie Gourmande in the countryside between Saint Remy de Provence and Les Baux de Provence. I visited a couple days ago after the market in Saint Remy, which was crazy busy. Instead of having a coffee and a biscuit in town, this is a more picturesque option.
A Peachy Farmhouse
I had first heard about Les Gourmandises de To when I heard a delicious rumour of quality peaches being sold by the tray load. Originally, the family that lives in this farmhouse (Mas in Provençal) were producers of apples. They have lived here for generations. Now, they produce high-quality peaches and have been doing so for the last seventy years. Locals know that during the month of July and August this is the place to come for excellent peaches and nectarines.
Seasonal Clafoutis, Jams and Biscuits
As you can see, peaches are not the only thing on offer at this Mas. Valerie and her daughter-in-law have decided to create a laid-back farm shop/café where you can eat freshly-baked clafoutis and biscuits using seasonal local fruit.
I have to say that this raspberry clafoutis was absolutely delicious. If you’ve never tried clafoutis then you should! It’s a very simple flan made traditionally with cherries. However, it works with all kinds of fruits. See my clafoutis recipe here. The drink above is a “sirop”, again very French. This is where you add a little sirop to a tall glass of water for flavouring. Think of a Shirley temple (grenadine syrup). The one above is a thyme sirop. I know that may sound odd but it was very refreshing! Valerie collects the wild thyme herself in the Alpilles. The mountains are just 50 metres from the property. She also makes rosemary and lavender sirop.
Everything in the little farm shop is made on site, with love, and a passion for local ingredients.
Valerie’s biscuits are rich in good ingredients. Aka, they don’t skimp on the butter! They’re similar to shortbread to me. It was such a pleasure to see her working in the kitchen and adding ingredients from large mason jars that line the counters.
As I’m sure you know, in France and especially in Provence we eat seasonally and are very proud to do so. If you grow up here you’re taught when each fruit, vegetables, and even meats are at their best at certain times of the year. This can even be on a week to week basis. Different varieties of each fruit is also common knowledge. You can read how naive we were when we first moved to France here: Picking Cherries.
All to say, when something is in season, you have to gorge on the deliciousness so much that you get sick of it! Consequentially, you don’t mind waiting until next year to have it again. Tonight, I’m going to be baking some of these with vanilla seeds and local honey. Yum!
The “Dentelles de Pommes” (slices of apple that you see in the large mason jar) are a common snack here. These are sliced incredibly thin and are crunchy. They’re delicious.
All the labels are charmingly hand-written by Valerie.
Other items on the menu are yoghurt or fromage blanc with homemade fruit compote. Fruits juices, coffee or tea and a selection of biscuits. Oh, and you can buy jars of confit apples, which are basically slowly cooked apples in caramel. I’m drooling…sorry. It’s like a Tarte Tatin without the pastry. Great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Les Gourmandises de To is located behind St Remy, just before you enter the Vallon d’Enfer heading towards Les Baux de Provence. This road is a beautiful drive.
Petite route des Baux
Quartier Mas des Véran
13210 Saint Rémy de Provence
04 90 94 03 31
Open all year round, hours:
From Monday to Saturday,
9:30 – 12:00
14:30 – 19:00
Closed on Sundays.
(also on Mondays during the winter season).