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Time-honoured products revisited

When one talks about the Corbières and Minervois regions, one quite naturally thinks of the wine. But that is not the only quality product which will stimulate your taste buds!
The Corbières and Minervois countryside is extremely generous. The garrigues are a fantastic playground for the goats and sheep, not to mention for the busy bees that enjoy the Mediterranean flowers’ nectar with the greatest of delights.

In the Miellerie des Clauses, all the bees’ secrets will unravel in front of your eyes during an informative, playful and tasteful visit. The garrigue honey you’ll taste is to be served with fresh goat or sheep cheese. During the summer, if you feel like it, you might want to accompany the Albas shepherds on the hillsides for breakfast amidst the herd. Why don’t you pay a visit to our local producers so you can see them at work and learn about their love for their animals and their products.

Es un ciprès cambat que travèrsa la plana,
Un pibol que ven lepar lo ventolet laugièr,
Es un cloquièr movent sus de teulats de lana,
E d’alba a la fin del jorn
Per el es totjorn
L’ora del bergièr
Dins las sentors de la frigola e del mentastre,
Lo pastre, lo pastre.
Son capèl es rostit, sa ropa pendoleja,
De luènh sembla un pal vestit, tant es sec coma un òs.
Lo vièlh faron fa petar l’uèlh, quilha l’aurèlha,
Per gardar son escabòt d’un malparat fatal.
E quand, a negrenuèit, sa jornada s’acaba,
Que tomba sus l’apalhat per un sòm salutós,
Li anetz pas contar (lo fariá venir cabra)
Que per s’endormir son de
Gents qu’an besonh de
Comptar los motons,Seriá fotut de vos revirar un emplastre
Lo pastre, lo pastre.
Lo pastre, cançon de La Sauze

It is a cypress tree which stands in the plain, a poplar tree the light wind grazes, it is a church tower moving over woollen rooftops and, from dawn till dusk, it will always be the shepherd’s hour amid the scent of thyme and wild mint. His hat is scorched, his coat is sagging, from afar, he looks like a clothed stake, for he is as dry as a bone. The old dog keeps watch, pricks up his ears while guarding the flock from all possible misfortune. When the black night falls, his day comes to a close. When he falls down on his bed for a refreshing sleep, don’t go telling him to count sheep to fall asleep, for you’ll drive him round the bend. He might slap you in the face, the shepherd might.

Wherever the vine stock grows, the olive tree is not far off. As for the grapes, there are several flagship varieties: lucques, olivières, etc. Other varieties are quite rare, like the violette de Montpellier. Learn all about olive growing and oil-producing at the Moulin de la Restanque, a family estate where the soul of this age-old fruit, once sung by Leon Còrdas, will be laid bare for you:

Olius al vent
Olius al vent
cantar de l’ama
anar del temps
Felhum d’argent
qu’al jorn ardent
plega sa rama,
frut ametlenc
patz e vivent
per l’an que ven.
Olius al vent
destin de l’ama
cantar del temps
Leon Còrdas

Olive trees in the wind, a song of the soul, while time goes by. Silver leaves bending under the heat of the day, an almond-shaped fruit, peace and food for the year to come. Olive trees in the wind, the destiny of the soul, a song of time …

If it is bread that you are looking for, a visit to Cucugnan might be interesting.
Lo molin a pas conegut la malasòrt d’aquel de Mèstre Cornilha. Al contrari, sas alas viran tornar mai.
Part of a programme to bring back to life ancient mills, the Maîtres de mon Moulin guarantee you entirely locally-made bread and pastry: ancient types of organic cereals grown nearby, stone-ground, to produce a flour which is certified 100% Corbières. You will find bread, biscuits/cookies, pasta, cakes, etc. Those who are interested may register for a miller-led training course.