The Var is a land of plenty where asparagus, strawberries, olives, grapes and tomatoes flourish. Our chef has built up a network of small producers, all of whom are passionate about the region and respectful of the land. A land that extends along the coast with the fisherman from the neighbouring harbours who deliver their catch daily to the hotel.
La Table des Lutins: not just organic
La Table des Lutins, located in Crillon-Le Brave in the heart of Provence, supplies us with beautiful, health-giving fruit nectars. “I’m not just jumping on the organic bandwagon,” says owner Manuel Larraux. “Mine is more of an ethical stance, and I want to create an exceptional finished product.”
And so he does, following a series of fundamental principles. He uses local fruit, grown organically and in many cases biodynamically, which means picking, processing and bottling them in accordance with the lunar calendar. Many of these naturally nourishing drinks include wild herbs: Williams pear and thyme, apricot and rosemary, yellow peach and lavender, black cherry and savory. This summer, Manuel hopes to begin making a blueberry and heather nectar again after the drought of 2016 halted production.
Gérard Baussy, master miller
The village of Spéracèdes, near Grasse, is worth a detour for its church, fountain, panoramas – and its oil mill. Gérard Baussy took over his father’s business pressing and processing olives from the surrounding fields for consumption in some of the Côte d’Azur’s finest restaurants. Les Roches Rouges serves his pitted olives in brine, and small brown unpitted Niçoises, with evening drinks, while chef José Bailly seasons summer salads with Gérard’s fruity olive oil.
Olivier Bardoux: a passion for the fruits of the sea
As a winner and runner-up in multiple French and European spearfishing championships, Olivier knows the sea like no one else. He also practices sustainable hook-and-line fishing between Cannes and St Tropez, delivering fish direct to the pontoon at Les Roches Rouges. “There’s no other hotel like this in the world,” he says. “I’m proud to offer guests the finest in freshly caught seasonal Mediterranean seafood, like sea bream, John Dory, swordfish, lobster and sea urchin.”
When Olivier moors at the hotel, he’s either delivering the catch of the day to the restaurant or taking on customers. He offers early-morning handline fishing trips, and also excursions to Cap du Dramont, near the foothills of the Estérel. An outing on his boat, the LéaLisa, is an escape that offers a different perspective on life at Les Roches Rouges.
Patrick Maugueret and his Hyérois asparagus
Patrick Maugeret has been growing, green, white and purple asparagus in the former bed of the Gapeau river, in the heart of the Hyéroise plain, since 2004. It flourishes in the sandy, pebbly alluvial soil and mild climate. He supplies the sweet purple variety to the restaurant at Les Roches Rouges all season long.
Beekeeper Jean-Philippe Mandard and his twelve varieties of honey
When Jean-Phillippe was a boy he wanted to be a shepherd, but the bus driver who took him to school every morning told him about the beehives he looked after. And so his vocation as a beekeeper was born. His parents gave him three hives when he was sixteen, and then he befriended a neighbour who also kept bees, and made it his career.
Thirty-three years later, Jean-Philippe runs his own honey business in Draguignan. His twelve varieties include a very Mediterranean lavender honey which has won a red label and a gold medal, and others made with chestnut, rosemary, thyme and fir. In summer he relocates the hives between the Alps and the Rhône valley, and in winter he brings them back to the area between Saint-Raphaël and Saint-Tropez.
Catherine Fleury, a refined taste
Catherine Fleury has nothing to hide … Indeed, she is completely transparent about the conditions in which she farms her livestock in Chateaudouble, in the inland region of the Var. Her animals feed on mountain hay, alfalfa and barley, and she’s more than happy to welcome customers who turn up unannounced to watch the milking of the goats, sheep and cows. With her five employees, this milk is turned into fresh goat’s and sheep’s cheese, cream, cheeses made from the three different milks, soft ash-covered cheeses, and complex hard cheeses that she matures in her cellar and sells to the best restaurants in the region. Chef José Bailly offers a selection of her cheeses and yoghurts on the menus at the restaurants of Les Roches Rouges.
Dean Shury: the art of the cocktail
After working as a mixologist at London’s high-end Chilton Firehouse hotel and restaurant, Dean Shury moved to Barcelona and acquired a taste for Mediterranean flavours. “Here at Les Roches Rouges, I’m working with classic elixirs inspired by the French Riviera,” he says. “They’re simple, elegant, and deeply rooted in the Côte d’Azur.” His list includes pastis, vermouth, and rinquinquin peach liqueur, all locally made.
Dean has also collaborated with the Distillerie de Provence and the Brasserie de l’Estérel to make his own orange and peach wines. When you arrive, you’ll be welcomed with another of his creations in the lobby: a light, refreshing Les Rouges Rouges cocktail.
Marie Touyon and Jérôme Fillet, nourishing the earth
Treated only with mandarin oil and smoked compost, the seasonal vegetables cultivated by Marie Touyon and Jérôme Fillet are ripened under the Mediterranean sun, deep in the Var countryside. 5000 square metres of zebra tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, radishes, courgettes, broad beans, sorrel, chard, strawberries and raspberries are cultivated with love by these two former gardeners. The couple returned to live at Marie’s family home, where they grow vegetables that are “healthy for both the body and the soil”. The vegetables that they deliver to the hotel are cultivated without using a tractor or motorised tiller, but only a broadfork, a simple hand tool that turns over the topsoil - a means of respecting the land as well as coaxing the best quality produce from it.
Riviera Beer: cool and refreshing
As craft breweries become increasingly widespread in France and around the world, the trend largely bypassed the Côte d’Azur and its more wine-oriented culture. But last year saw the debut of Riviera Beer, made in San Raphael by three young converts to brewing. They offer a blonde, a blanche and a brune, all light with only a hint of bitterness and notes of honey and citrus, tailored to the hot climate. All three are available in the bars at Les Roches Rouges.