Meeting your future family-in-law is a big step, and can be a little bit impressive. And when your father-in-law is a brilliant military General it can become slightly stressfull. I will always remember the day we met. My husband didn't find any better idea than introducing me during the open house of the military test centre my father-in-law was managing by this time. I was meeting him but I was also meeting the big boss....
In reality, he's a very approachable man and we always have a lot of fun with him.
This summer we had the chance to spend some time with him in its absolutely beautiful home, in the Toulousian countryside. Those days were synonymous of slow living; enjoying sun, nature and long outside dinners in the garden, eating lovely local products and drinking good "rosé" wine. Very welcoming, and loving simple convivial moments, my father-in-law loves to prepare great appetizers. And I'm very happy to share with you his tapenade recipe! Speciality from the South of France, this olive dip is a big classic and takes only 5 minutes to make.
Your house is typical from the region, when was it built ?
This house dates back to the Revolution period, so it was built around 1870. It's made of pink bricks, which is typical from the region (that's why Toulouse is called the "pink city"). It was by the time the landowner's property, which is the reason why we called it in French a "maison de maître".
During your career you lived in several different cities . What is so special about Toulouse ?
To me, Toulouse is representing the art of French living: conviviality with friends, good food and good wine, and the gentlemen spirit of Rugby (very important sport in Toulouse). I also enjoy its perfect localisation, close from the sea and the mountains, and the proximity with very authentical departments such as Gers, Tarn and Ariège. And I also feel this city is very interesting because of its great mix between tradition, with its 2 000 years of History, and modernity with its well-know aeronautic and space industry and advanced medical research.
Is there any typical meal or dessert to absolutely try in Toulouse ?
It's hard to understand why a city cultivating the art of the table such as Toulouse, doesn't have any traditional recipe except from the Cassoulet. And the worst is that two other cities are proclaiming they are the creators of this recipe: Castelnaudary and Carcassonne. This familial and traditional meal is made of beans, sausages and duck.
What are the places to see for those visiting the city?
They are few places you really can't miss:
- The Capitole square and the famous salle des Illustres, inside the current city hall, inspired from Farnese Gallery in Rome
- The Saint Sernin Basilica which is a masterpiece from the Roman Art, and the Jacobins Church with its famous palm tree
- Beautiful strolls around old streets like Croix-Baragnon and Perchepinte where you can discover some typical houses, Saint Georges square and the Garonne banks
- And as a military man I couldn't not recommend to have a look to the impressive Niel Palais which is an Historical army monument from the XIXth
My father-in-law's good tips in Toulouse:
En Marge : a one star restaurant (deserving two!) outside of Toulouse.
L'aparté : No star for the moment but for sure the next restaurant to have one in Toulouse!
Chez Emile and Aux Saveurs des Paradoux: Two nice restaurants if you want to stay inside the city.
Which recipe are you sharing with us ?
The Tapenade recipe. We always have some for appetizers, you just need few products and a blender to do it.
Market check list:
- 250 gr of black olives
- 5 garlic cloves
- 4 anchovies
- 2 tablespoons of capers
Put everything in the blender and mix until you have a mashed consistency. I don't use olive oil contrary to many recipe you can find, and it doesn't make any difference (it's even better!). In the South we use a lot garlic and anchovies. If you are not used to strong flavours, you can start with only 2 garlic cloves and 2 anchovies to test.
We serve the tapenade with some bread but you can propose crackers.