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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