In the sequel to Virgile's Vineyard, Patrick Moon explores the world of Languedoc food and cuisine.
Returning to his challenging home in southern France, Patrick could easily fill the days protecting infant vines from marauding wild boar and hiding baby truffle oaks from unscrupulous neighbours. However, the local campsite cafe has just been transformed into an ambitious new restaurant and he is intrigued by the talented young chef's determination to achieve perfection on a shoestring.
Patrick soon finds himself pitching in, sleeves rolled up, to spend a year `backstage' and share the triumphs, disasters and sheer hard work in a small but serious French restaurant kitchen. But will the VIP diners guess that he has never made mayonnaise before? Or that he put the wrong sauce on the starter?
Not content with all this, Patrick also embarks on a wider exploration of the Languedoc's finest produce for the table, from mighty household names to eccentric peasant smallholdings. Throughout the seasons, his quest uncovers the secrets of olive oil and salt production, the mysteries of Ricard and the Roquefort caves, and the miracle of the sparkling Perrier spring. He even finds time to visit some of the region's top chefs for more `behind the scenes' discoveries.
But there are always the vines and olives, not to mention aubergines, demanding attention at home...
First published in 2005, Arrazat's Aubergines, Patrick's second book, is a great stand-alone read for any Francophile, food-lover or armchair chef, deploying a colourful cast of entertaining characters and a rich vein of humour to deliver a wealth of fascinating information. For fans of its predecessor, Virgile's Vineyard, it also continues the story of many favourite figures, including Virgile himself.
Patrick Moon was born in Cornwall in 1953. He studied History and French at Oxford University and went on to qualify as a solicitor. Aged 44, he resigned his partnership at a large London practice because he felt that `there ought to be time in life to achieve more than one thing'. Patrick went on to write books, produce paintings, and make wine and grow olive trees at his ever-demanding property in France.