Provençal Colorado of Rustrel, Luberon, France

In the end of September 2014, my friends and I decided to go away for the weekend and enjoy our beautiful extended region, known worldwide under the name of Provence. The region is actually subdivided in several areas, one of which is called Luberon, where we went. It’s about a three hours drive from Nice, direction North-West away from the sea. We visited several small towns and villages such as Gordes and Isle-sur-Sorgue, as you can read here by clicking this link.

P1070772The main interesting sites are located in Roussillon and Rustrel. They are two of the four sites worldwide (all located in France) that produce natural ocres, these colored sands coming from very unique combinations of sand (quartz), clay and mineral pigments (actually only 3 different ferric hydroxydes that give either a red or brown or yellow colour). The original label of Ocre can only be given to this mixture coming from this specific area. The very last company that produces ocres is located in the small town of Apt, just minutes away from the sites. Ocre is still very much appreciated because it’s not a toxic material, and it lasts longer than regular paint or other mixtures with semi-solid materials when used in decoration and stonework.

P1070766Today, some companies have reproduced synthetic ocre sands, but they can’t be named ocre. The tricky thing is that now, in French language, ocre has become the name of a color close to mustard yellow, and unless one knows a bit about the ocre sand origin, it can create an unfortunate confusion. Also, even on the site of Rustrel, not all the sands are ocres, some of them are just colored natural earth, which is to say how rare it became to actually find real ocre nowadays ! The site of Rustrel, because of its obvious colors and chimneys-like architecture, is officially called the Provençal Colorado, although colors and architecture really are the only things they actually have in common.

Check out more pictures here !

Although it is very tempting to think of cooking a dish from Provence, as a French curious traveler I’m more tempted to try and cook a dish from… Colorado !

I’ve never been there before though, so it’s all gonna be about imagination and research ! After a quick search, it seems that if people are not too much into a green chile beef sort of dish, one of the other very popular dishes of Colorado is grilled lamb rack with herbs, and polenta. Has anyone got any good recipe to share? On my side, I’ve tried at home the Colorado style Hot-Dog, and it was delicious!

Before you go, did you know my first cookbook got published? It’s called Cookbook #1: A French Girl’s Cooking Adventures in Her Kitchen, and it’s available online, you’re just a click away, RIGHT HERE!

Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2015 All Rights Reserved.


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