At Chateau de Saint Martin, the Christmas Eve Gros Souper ended the year’s festive events that mark the seasons of the Cru Classé de Provence vineyard.
Chateau de Saint Martin‘s ownerAdeline de Barry, wishing to mark the rhythm of seasons with festive events at the Château, has been offering for 13 years gourmets and wine lovers to enjoy the Provençal tradition of the Christmas Gros Souper with 7 courses, 7 wines and 13 desserts. The traditional Provençal Gros Souper, on Saturday December 12, 2015, brought together at the Château in Taradeau many guests who came to discover or rediscover the endearing and tasty facets of Provençal tradition.
After the tasting of the Château’s Crus Classés in the beautiful underground cellar from the 15th century, Adeline de Barry welcomed her guests in the eighteenth century Salle des Calèches (La Calade) for the Gros Souper served with wines from the Château.
A Château with deep Provencal roots
Anchored in Provence, rich with 2200 years of history, the Chateau de Saint Martin remained close to its roots and is reviving the culinary traditions of Provencal Christmas Eve. Besides, the Château and the family De Rohan Chabot (name of Comtesse de Gasquet‘s father and Madame de Barry’s grandfather) is prominently featured in the Book of Great Families of Wines of France by painter Serge Chekhov, presented and autographed by the author during the tasting cocktail in the beautiful underground cellar.
The original setting of the castle, dating from the eighteenth century, invites guests to experience the magic of the Provencal Christmas culminating with the Great Supper, in a cheerful and festive atmosphere. This typical Provençal meal is taken on Christmas Eve before the Midnight Mass. After enjoying the seven “lean dishes” of fish and vegetables, the Thirteen Desserts are put on the table to be eaten after returning from the midnight mass, with the essential “cooked wine”.
A Gros Souper with lean dishes
The Gros Souper consists of 7 “lean” – without meat – dishes in memory of the 7 seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary. The Great Supper evokes a large meal, but large by the number of dishes, their abundance responding to the idea that they are an omen of wealth for the future. This meal, participating in the magic of Christmas Eve, is full of symbols: 3 (3 tablecloths, 3 candles…) represents the Trinity, the 7 dishes represent the seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary beside the Cross, the 13 desserts evoke – of course – the Christ and the 12 apostles.
According to tradition, the vegetables must be present during the meal: chard, celery, parsnip or artichoke. Some starters and a vegetable soup precede a fish dish, all washed down with different wines.
The Thirteen Desserts
Traditionally, the 13 desserts consist of the Pompe à Huile (oil pump) – or Gibassier -, along with nougat – black and white: white evokes purity and good and black impure and evil – the quince paste, fruit in abundance: apples, pears, grapes, melons, oranges and dried fruits with the four beggars: figs, walnuts, almonds, currants.
Gros Souper by Jean-Louis Rizzo
Each year, a prestigious Chef interprets the Gros Souper of the Provençal Christmas, composing dishes in harmony with the character and elegance of the wines of Chateau de Saint Martin, served during the meal. This year, Jean-Louis Rizzo, an InterContinental Carlton Cannes alumnus, gave his version of the traditional Provencal dinner. The chef is a member of the International Toques Blanches, an association of professionals of Restoration and Hostelry advocating quality and respect for culinary tradition and the transmission of knowledge.
Event menu around the carefully selected estate’s wines:
Cuvée Eternelle Favorite 2014, presented by Adeline de Barry, owner of Chateau Saint Martin.
Provencal Ravioli and Pumpkin velouté
Cuvée Grande Réserve Rouge 2014, presented by Pascal Sendrey, Maître de Chai.
Cod Brandade and Omelette cake
Cuvée Grande Réserve Rouge 2013, presented by Gisèle Marguin, President of Alps Marseille Provence Sommeliers.
Sea Bream fillet with Anise and Vegetables: Parsnip Chips, Artichoke Tempura and Zucchini Fritters
Grand Reserve White 2015 presented by Brigitte Leloup, Vice-President of the Sommeliers of Europe Association.
Goat and Sheep Cheese.
Grande Réserve Blanc 2015.
Among the 13 desserts: mandarins, apples, grapes, pears, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, dried figs, nougat black & white nougat, “pompe à huile”, quince paste, chard pie (revisited by Jean-Louis Rizzo).
Cuvée Comtesse Rouge 2012 and traditional cooked wine, presented by Bruno Lemoing, historical Ambassador of Cuvée Comtesse de Saint Martin and owner of the cellar of the Cariatides (Fréjus) and the Cave of Treille (Saint Raphaël).
Provençal music and Coupo Santo
Throughout the evening, Nid’Oc, Nid’ailleurs, a troupe of singers, regulars of Provencal music “baletti“, took the guests on a musical journey through the lavender, scrubland and vineyards on melodies of the galoubet, the accordion, the violin and other folk instruments on the rhythm of the tambourine.
The Great Supper ended with the Provençal anthem Coupo Santo – the holy overflowing cup of conviviality – sung in chorus by the guests to commune together around the values of Provence, by drinking the “pure wine from our vine” and celebrating “Poetry, this ambrosia that turns man into God.”
About the Chateau de Saint Martin
Located in the heart of the Var in Taradeau, the Chateau de Saint Martin is run by women from the same family since 1740. The vineyard produces refined and elegant red, pink and white wine, that are renowned Cru Classé de Provence with aristocratic names like the Cuvée Comtesse Vieilles Vignes or Cuvée Eternelle Favorite.
Vine growing on this land dates back to the Roman period and the Lerins Monks established a vineyard priory from the tenth to the eighteenth century, building there a gorgeous underground cellar in the 15th century, the treasure of Chateau de Saint Martin.
Surrounded by a wonderful park with 200 different plant species, the Chateau offers 5 authentically furnished guest rooms and, thanks to its exceptional architectural and cultural heritage, hosts many events: weddings, private receptions, seminars, incentives, tours groups, film shootings…
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