Aïoli fêtes are amongst the most popular food festivals in the South of France, and you’re unlikely to find a more traditional, lively and classic Provençal experience.
We were extremely lucky to pick up the last two remaining tickets to the Aïoli Provençal held on Sunday at the Fête du Centre Ancien in Draguignan.
The traditional recipe for aioli in Provence is just garlic, salt, your best olive oil, and loads and loads of garlic! More recent is the addition of egg yolks.
For the Aïoli Provençal dinner or luncheon the garlicky aioli is served with fish or chicken, fresh vegetables like carrots, beetroot, beans, a couple of boiled eggs and new potatoes, and that’s just the first course.
Second course is always fromage (cheese),and we were served fresh goats cheese and a camembert with fresh baguette.
Dessert was next, a slice with a layer of sponge, fresh apple and topped with the creamiest chocolate mousse I have ever tasted, delicious.
Coffee is last, and of course your glass of Rosé is never empty throughout the long meal, our’s lasted over 3.5 hours.
Long tables are set out, and you just choose where you would like to sit. We were lucky to enjoy the Aïoli dinner with Delphine and Chris, and Renaud and Helene
Delphine lives in Draguignan, and is as a trainer for Thalgo cosmetics, (she has beautiful skin by the way). She has worked all over the world training estheticians on the use of Thalgo products, and was delighted to speak English with us to brush up on her skills.
Chris, an engineer works in Paris during the week with the very important position of helping to supply clean drinking water to the city. He returns to Delphine and the Var on the weekends. He is a keen cyclist, so this area is perfect with all it’s steep hills and surrounding mountains.
Renaud and Helene retired to the Var from the Loire area, and both are very talented artists.
The Fête Ancien was held over three days, and had many other events like, a Petanque tournament, fun run, music, markets and Folklorique groups of dancers and another with men that stood and fired muskets into the air.