Match of the week | Couscous royale and 2011 Chateau Romanin Les Baux de Provence

Match of the week

Couscous royale and 2011 Chateau Romanin Les Baux de Provence

Last week we returned to one of our much-loved haunts, Arles, and ate our way round some of our favourite restaurants (the ones that weren’t closed as a number mysteriously seemed to be at what you’d think was still peak holiday season).

One of them is a Moroccan restaurant called L’Entrevue which is now part of a sprawling multi-media centre which includes the bookshop Actes Sud, a cinema, and - rather improbably - a hammam. Instead of ordering our own dishes we decided to share a selection of starters and a couscous royale which was just as well. It was absolutely HUGE.

It includes all the meats - chicken, lamb, meatballs and merguez as well as a bowl of broth and harissa on the side to adjust the heat. We like it moderately hot - a double challenge.

Whereas I might have gone for a local Costières de Nîmes rosé with a lighter couscous with a meat feast like this it had to be a red - a deliciously mellow example from a biodynamic producer called Chateau Romanin in nearby Les Baux de Provence.

It’s a typically Provencal blend of syrah, grenache, cabernet sauvignon and mourvèdre but with 4 years of bottle age, enough maturity to soften any tannins. I can’t find it on sale in the UK but other southern French reds of a similar vintage would work too - as would Moroccan reds, which tend to be made from the same grapes.

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