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The King Cake, a Provençal tradition

Provence is attached to its Christian roots and puts traditions in the spotlight. Thus, it is not surprising that we celebrate Epiphany. Originally, Epiphany symbolizes the arrival of the Three Kings to Jesus’ birthplace. The Three Kings were called Gaspard, Melchior, and Balthazar. They were guided by a star: the star of Bethlehem. According to the legend, Balthazar followed this star to the Baux-de-Provence! The Lords of the Baux, who pretended to be Balthazar’s descendants, thus added a 16-pointed silver star to their emblems in reference to the star of Bethlehem. “Au hasard Balthazar!” was their motto. Nowadays in Provence, we eat a King Cake for Epiphany! It is a delicious round brioche tasting orange blossom and decorated with candied fruits that represent the precious stones offered by the Three Kings. Today, our Chef presents you his secret recipe and gives you little tips to make your cake even tastier! INGREDIENTS Leaven8g of baking powder – Tips from the Chef: use fresh baking powder (reminder: 25g of fresh baking powder = 7g of dehydrated baking powder) 20g of Gruau flour 60g of warm water (about 40°C)Dough200g of Gruau flour 50g of white sugar – Tips: white sugar helps baking powder to ferment. 50g of melted butter – Tips: prefer raw butter or raw cream butter; it is very rich in taste! 2 beaten eggs – Tips: use organic or free-range eggs if possible. 12ml of orange blossom water – Tips: orange blossom water comes from the distillation of bitter of orange flowers, it will give a delicate flavour. 1 tbsp of honey – Tips: use local honey! a zest of untreated orange a zest of untreated lemon 1/2 tsp of fine salt – Tips: it is essential! It adds great flavour, improve the batter elasticity, and gives a bright colour to the cake.Topping10ml of milk to brown the cake 2 tbsp of orange jam 1 tbsp of honeyDecorating the cake At Benvengudo, we buy all our candied fruits at Lilamand in Saint Rémy de Provence. The know-how of this wonderful confectionary has been passed down for five generations – this place is full of history!40g of granulated sugar – Tips: You can easily buy it in department stores A few candied-fruit peels Some candied fruits 1 lucky charm – Tips: it is better to use a ceramic charmDIRECTIONSStir baking powder, flour, and water to make the leaven; let it stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Then, stir all the dough’s ingredients, incorporate the leaven, and stir until the dough becomes homogeneous – Tips: this step is essential to raise your dough. Pour the batter into a greased crown-shaped pan with a hole in the middle, add the lucky charm and cover the dough. Let it stand in the fridge for one night, it must double in size. Preheat the oven at 160°C. Bake at the centre of the oven for 13 minutes, then remove it from the mould, turn the cake over, and brush it with milk. Bake in the centre of the oven for another 20 minutes. Leave it cool slowly. Stir orange jam and honey and baste the mixture on the cake, this will help your decorations to stand. Decorate the cake with grain sugar and candied fruits – Tips: Be creative!And now, you just have to savour it. Enjoy! © C. Feraud-ADT04

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Christmas in Provence: The Thirteen Desserts tradition

An ancient tradition … The thirteen desserts tradition is a very ancient ritual widely spread all around Provence. It is about the sharing of thirteen desserts and sweets on Christmas Eve. This tradition is associated with many symbols. The number thirteen refers to the number of guests present at the Last Supper: Jesus Christ and his 12 Apostles. While the type and composition of desserts may differ, their number and meaning remain the same. … that has remained intact through the ages Thus, there are four types of dried fruits and nuts, two different nougats, some dates, some fresh fruits, and a traditional cake called “pompe à huile”. The dried fruits and nuts represent the four mendicant religious orders. Walnuts or hazelnuts stand for the Augustine, dried figs refer to the Franciscan, raisins correspond to the Dominican, and almonds symbolise the Carmelites. Each category of fruits has the same colour as the robe of the different religious orders. Then, there is the traditional cake called “pompe à huile”, always placed in the middle of the table. It is made of fine flour, orange blossom water, brown sugar and olive oil. According to custom, it must not be sliced with a knife but it should be broken just like Jesus did with the bread. Remember, your family will be ruined in the following year if you slice the cake! You will also find two different types of nougat on the table: one is white and the other one is black. The white one is made of hazelnuts, pine nuts, and pistachio nuts, and symbolises the Good. On the contrary, the dark nougat represents the Evil and is flavoured with honey and almonds. Dates refer to the Christ as they also come from Orient. Finally, the last components of the thirteen desserts are fresh fruits: oranges, grapes, clementines, watermelon, and winter apples and pears. If you are still hungry after that, you can add quince jam and even some traditional Calissons from Aix-en-Provence!   If you want to discover this tradition, come at Benvengudo hotel for the Christmas Eve dinner and enjoy these much-vaunted thirteen desserts! Christmas in Provence

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Off-season highlights of Provence

Christmas holidays are just around the corner and we, at Benvengudo hotel, have gathered ideas for you. We have selected the must-see exhibitions and attractions in the Baux-de-Provence and nearby areas, to visit during your stay with us.   The “Carrières de Lumières” exhibition (Quarries of Lights), temple of immersive art This exhibition shows works of art projected on 7000m² of limestone walls to the rhythm of Luca Longobardi’s music. This year, Bosch, Brueghel, and Acimboldo, three great painters of the XVIth century, are put into the spotlight. Come and discover their masterpieces and secrets they unveil during a breathtaking light and sound show. Don’t wait too long, the exhibition ends on the 7th of January 2018! “Noëls Insolites” – not just a simple Christmas Market, but a real festival! Only one-hour drive from Baux-de-Provence, the small city of Carpentras will take you away from the beaten tracks to discover an incredible festival “Noëls Insolites”. Taking place from 16th to the 31st of December 2017, this biggest street event in Southern France gathers more than 250 artists and technicians to offer you over 150 various performances. In addition to these shows, you can also discover city’s traditional Christmas market, nativity figurine salon and skating activities, all available until the 7th of January 2018. Phot’Aix 2017 – photography festival, both local and international Pass by Aix-en-Province (situated 1-hour drive from Baux-de-Provence) to visit Phot’Aix 2017 and its two photography exhibitions. Taking place until the 30th of December 2017 in the city streets, they bring together 5 French and 5 Chinese artists to promote the art of contemporary photo. Take also the chance to explore Aix-en-Province’s Christmas market – one of the biggest in Provence region.   Come and enjoy our Christmas and New Year’s Eve offers to spend a few days at Benvengudo and discover the events and activities around! https://benvengudo.com/en/offers.html   Photo : © Culturespaces / Erick Venturelli

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New Year’s Eve in Provence

On December 31st, we propose you a menu of New Year’s Eve in the colors of Provence.   La croquette de ris de veau et morilles au foie gras Légèreté de châtaignes Sauce suprême à la truffe NOIX DE COQUILLES SAINT JACQUES, TRUFFES NOIRES En pithiviers Herbes folles et sabayon au Champagne LE HOMARD BLEU DE NOS CÔTES En deux services… Premier service, raviole des coudes au gingembre et citron Combava, bouillon thaï Deuxième service, queue en tronçons, snackée et flambée au Cognac VSOP Pince en croustillant de Kadaïf, marinée au piment d’Espelette et citron vert Pousses d’épinard tombées, jeunes légumes craquants, jus crémeux de carapaces LE FILET DE BOEUF Façon Rossini Fricassée de cèpes et girolles, légumes glacés Vrai jus de cuisson au Madère Le Brillat Savarin affiné, crème de truffe noire Fraicheur d’un sorbet garrigues ponctuée à la Farigoule CHOCOLAT NOIR, CITRON, VERVEINE Crémeux Comme une mousse En sorbet Menu of 31 December 2017, 125 euros per person   The gipsy group Adelante will accompany you in music. Once the dinner is over, let’s get the party started! We are arranging a festive night especially for you to successfully end 2017 and fabulously start 2018!   To book please go to our restaurant page or call +33 4 90 54 32 54 or send an email to reservations@benvengudo.com

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Christmas in Provence

On December 24th, we offer a Christmas menu in the colors of Provence and the traditional thirteen desserts served by the fireplace. End your evening by visiting the traditional midnight Mass at the Saint-Vincent church in Les Baux de Provence.   MENU L’huitre en gelée d’eau de mer Citron caviar et poivre Timmut Ecume citron LE FOIE DE GRAS DE CANARD AU NATUREL Cuit au torchon Chutney de fruits exotiques, chips de pain d’épice Brioche tiède à la fleur de sel de Camargue LA SOLE DE NOS CÔTES En farce fine de truffes noires, viennoise à l’encre de seiche Mousseline de topinambours, les légumes oubliés confits Le fumet en sauce à la truffe LA POULARDE DE BRESSE Le suprême contisé à la truffe Les cuisses confites aux fruits du mendiant en croquette Crème de marrons, salsifis et poireaux crayons snackésSauce Albufera Les fromages affinés de Josiane Deal, MOF PISTACHE & ANANAS Moelleux, fondant et rôti Crème légère vanillée au vieux rhum Sorbet ananas Menu of 24 December 2017, 95 euros per person   To book please go to our restaurant page or call +33 4 90 54 32 54 or send an email to reservations@benvengudo.com

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Les Olivades in Les Baux de Provence on November 4th, 2017

In a festive atmosphere, the Benvengudo team invites you to discover the traditional Olivades! An afternoon punctuated with highlights, picking olives on the estate, visit of an olive mill, tasting of olive oils and wines from the valley of Baux de Provence … Our chef Thomas Voisin invites you to discover beautiful flavors during a dinner served in our restaurant. The Arlesian group Gipsy Adelante will accompany us in music. Join us for this special day, which is conducive to exchanges and the discovery of the crafts and the terroir of Provence.   Program Beginning of the Olivades at 3 pm. Rendez-vous with the owners in front of the hotel’s olive grove. 15:00 – 16:30 Picking olives 17:00 – 18:00 Delivery of the harvest at the Moulin Castelas in Les Baux de Provence. Explanation of the extraction process. 18:15 Return to the hotel. 19: 30 Tasting of the olive oils proposed by M. Hugues and discovery of the wines of the Domaine Mas de la Dame in the presence of the wine-growers Mrs. Missoffe and Poniatowski. 20:00 Gastronomic dinner of the Olivades. Music by the Arlesian group Gipsy Adelante.   Menu at 75 € Cromesquis de ris de veau aux morilles et foie gras Mousseline de salsifis à l’huile d’olive de la vallée des Baux Vrai jus de cuisson Le homard de nos côtes snacké au piment d’Espelette, tombée de blettes et de pousses d’épinards Bouillon crémeux des carcasses au Yuzu, herbes follesLa selle d’agneau rôtie en viennoise d’olives Croquette d’épaule confite aux olives noires et herbes fraiches Légumes d’Antan glacés au jusLes ultimes figues de Provence rôties au miel de lavande Croquant chocolat blanc Biscuit et glace à l’huile d’olive du Domaine   To book please go to our restaurant page or call +33 4 90 54 32 54 or send an email to reservations@benvengudo.com  

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Special wine tasting evening on 12th of October 2017

Thursday 12th October 2017 Passionate about the world of wine, Frédérick Boulanger is the famous owner of the wine cellar of Maussane les Alpilles. Come and meet him during our wine and food pairing evening. During a wine tasting, he will share his knowledge and experience around the dinner of our Chef Thomas Voisin … and enjoy our Happy Benven’hour from 6 pm to 7.30 pm.   To book please go to our restaurant page or call +33 4 90 54 32 54.

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