SOIL AND GASTRONOMY / THE ROAD OF SAVOURS


The traditional nougat of an atypical

Of a person Isolated in a group of 50 pilgrims, Hérvé Contaux accepts all the visits in make craft of Montélimar. A tireless activist of the cause of the nougat, he crosseshours to be explained one requirements. It is that an inferior competition, been born in indefinite places, would work him gladly on nougat... Now, the 'Chaudron d'Or', Contaux's factory, answers only manners, perfectly codified, of Montélimar... Honey of lavender, egg whites, spotless pistachio nuts, honorable almonds...

That hurries up. That agglutinates in inquisitive circle around the 'Chaudron d'Or'. Here are for example walkers who agree a break nougat before the paths of the Provençal Drôme. The curiosity of the guests seems suspended as the 'thread' on the spoon of honey of lavender. And each to ask about the health of the nougat. Hervé Contaux answers indefatigably " It is simple, he explains, the black nougat lacks egg whites... The hard nougat requires five hours of cooking... " he handles all the useful information to confine an identity. To establish the identification sheet of Montélimar's nougat. A way skillful to detect forgeries, nougat of fair tinkered with the groundnut, coloring and full of tricks little ragoûtants... Montélimar's nougat is not protected, indeed , with an AOC or a IGP (geographic Indication protected according to the European legislation. A demand is current, however). It happens what is more the false nougat uses craftiness of syntax. Attention, it is not because a nougat is made to Montélimar that it can claim itself of Montélimar...

Apparently, however, Montélimar's nougat answers a definition more precise than a recipe of hotchpotch or it of that, in the XIX-th century, one called the Harlequin. There is a code of manners. Well and truly. But if it(he) is mentioned Montélimar's nougat from 1701, code exists, he, only since 1968. he was dusted in 97 because of the natural vanilla which had been omitted at first. Now, it was time to come there, the vanilla was urgent. Today, everybody demands it, of Coca-cola to the producers of wines who reinvent it by means of fûts new. Not amazing, as you call back it. Hervé Contaux, the vanilla is one ' exhausteur of taste '...

So, the success of the Golden cauldron, Hervé Contaux's factory, likes a precise definition of Montélimar's nougat. Some vanilla bourbon come from L'I1e of Reunion, and no synthetic vanilla, almonds of Provence, the pistachio nuts of Sicily, not of Californian, the honey of lavender of the Drôme and the unleavened bread so that the candy does not stick on the mould. And then, considerable one know-how. The know-how which is worth to Hervé Contaux always more of curious about applicants in the hive bourdonnante telephones. Which is worth him also the favour of the Guide of the Backpacker. Favour, it is the case to say it because word, according to distant one etymology, would indicate the honey.

In the Golden cauldron, know-how is worth sound resting of pistachio nuts of Sicily. To roll the nougat as a rolled-out pastry of dough, Contaux uses a rolling pin which weighs the trinket of 35 kilos, Leaves to lift something, the guest can prefer two or three nougat loose... One is not sure that there is artisan's model of the nougat. Anyway, Hervé Contaux is an atypical one material. This former student of Political sciences and the Law Faculty resumed here is he a years a factory which existed, as for her, since 1949. Without the Cauldron slept a little and without Contaux, tonic word, inexhaustible volubility, was pinched well to put hand you the Cauldron to the adequate temperature. For a little, he would sing you the merits of the nougat on an operatic aria. Of the beautiful Contaux, if one wants...

One can study with him variations on the nougat. More protean than one would imagine it especially when it is hard. Chocolate, milk chocolate and in the orange, nougat enamelled with candied fruits as in an imprint painted by some ' operatic abstract '. Very aesthetic. By looking well , you will even find some nougat perfumed in the raspberry but there, openly, you can leave in the wrapping paper.... On the other hand, one recommends you the black nougat of the Golden cauldron, the unexpected sharpness...

It is not enough for you? Or. One still proposes you some dough to nougat which one spreads as easily as Nutella expensive to Nanni Moretti. This said dough ' of the mother Françoise ' was finalized with a MOF of cake shop for Chabert and Guillot. Unless you prefer to intercept, before the departure Across the Atlantic, some nougat in the syrup of maple appropriate to satisfy the dilection of the Canadians, you would have sworn it....

In other words that Contaux did not stop receiving the phone calls which announce him guests' charter flights. Anything of amazing. Do not trust the size, Montélimar's nougat remains a monument.

Jean-François WERNER