It is not just about the cycling...we love Food!
As you know our tours are not just about the cycling, we believe in great food and wine to reward all the cycling we do. Every year we research restaurants both from the office and on the ground, looking for both great reviews and word of mouth feedback, and if our choice of restaurants always receives particular appreciation in your feedback. Mind you anyone who has had one of our picnics knows it is not always the restaurant serving the best meal of the day. ( The guides made me put that in!)
Each year restaurants wait with bated breath to see if their restaurants are granted a coveted Michelin star, or an extra toque in the Guide Gault Millau ( this is the chef's accolade, because it focusses purely on the food and not the décor!) With Covid 19 pretty much wiping out most business opportunities it was with surprise that we read that stars were still to be awarded. A feat that perhaps even harder to achieve last year due to the amount of time the restaurants were required to be closed. Being creative in these times we know has been key for the survival of many businesses and restaurants were no exception. France, being well known for its gastronomy and love for long social lunches and even longer dinners had to decide; would the French people appreciate the efforts to offer a takeaway or, without the convivial ambience of the restaurant would the kitchens close?
Luckily for food lovers, French gourmets rallied round. Michelin starred restaurants in many cases adapted menus to ensure the deliverance of the takeaway did not comprise their standard and in many cases cut prices on these offerings. Enterprising individuals realized quickly that this was a real opportunity with Foodtruck and Pop Up offerings of quality food. Of note was the two time Michelin starred chef Alexandre Mazzia who sold over 200 Michelin star quality meals each day from a food truck in Marseille for 30€ and was awarded his 3rd star. If you fly into Marseille at the beginning of your French Cycling Holiday, book in advance to reserve a table at his restaurant eponymously named AM par Alexandre Mazzia.
And, closer to French Cycling home, it is with great pleasure that we annonce the restaurant at one of our long-time hotels, the Chateau de Mazan has received its first Michelin Star.⭐️ We have been staying many years at the former home of the Marquis de Sade on the last evening on our Provence Luberon Tour eating and sleeping in this beautiful Chateau - what better way to celebrate riding the spectacular Gorges de la Nesque or conquering Mont Ventoux? While sadly for 2020 we were unable to run any of our tours as many of you could not travel to us, we therefore missed out on eating the creations of this new chef, but we look forward to eating there in 2021.
The head of restaurant review for the Michelin guide did assure the public that the same rigour used in previous years by their inspectors was used in 2020. Inspectors worked double time and forwent their summer holidays in order to eat and drink in as many French restaurants that were open between the Spring and Autumn lockdown, judging as many meals as the previous years…Hmmm if this statement was supposed to make us feel for the clearly overworked inspectors, it has fallen flat on this particular writer!