Match of the week | Pastis and olives

Match of the week

Pastis and olives

Yesterday we arrived in Arles for the Recontres Arles, a massive annual photographic exhibition that takes over the entire town. Our youngest son Flyn is showing some of his work at a restaurant called Le Corazon so we’re here for the next 10 days or so.

To get into the mood we picked up a bottle of my favourite pastis Henri Bardouin on the ferry on the way over. (Or favourite until now. I note the wine shop opposite has 3 brands I haven’t tried which all look interesting.)

Pastis, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it is an anise-flavoured liqueur that is particularly popular in Provence. It’s one of those acquired tastes like olives and espresso coffee that it generally takes time to learn to love. It’s pretty strong (the Henri Bardouin is 45%) so you drink it well diluted - about 1 part pastis to 5-6 parts cool water. Ice is frowned upon by purists as it stops the pastis taking on its characteristically milky, cloudy colour when diluted.

I like the Henri Bardouin one because it apparently contains over 40 different herbs and spices which makes it more complex and less licoricey than cheaper commercial brands. Its slight bitterness also makes it a great match with olives or olive-based pastes like tapenade spread on crunchy little toasts or bruschettini.

Image © stockcreations -

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