During the week I popped along to La Maison de la Region Languedoc-Roussillon de Londres on Cavendish Square – one of several offices in capital cities around the world that are dedicated to the food and drink of this particular part of southern France. Why was I here? To learn about something special that’s happening on 31 August, when the South Bank will be transformed into a little part of France for the Sud De France Joi De Vivre festival.
Sometimes overlooked due to the dominant position of other French wine-growing regions (Aquitaine and Champagne-Ardenne being the major culprits, given that they produce the ever-popular Bordeaux and Champagne varieties) Languedoc-Roussillon is actually home to France’s most productive and diverse vineyards. Over thirty six appellations come from the region across the whole range of styles – in fact eighteen percent of their output is rose, and this is where you’ll also find some of France’s finest dessert wines being made. Major grape varieties include Merlot, Chardonnay and Cinsaut (which is used in about a third of rose wines).
Bringing this fantastic experience to the South Bank, the Sud De France Joi De Vivre Festival will feature all kinds of gallic treats. As well as the wines and food they’re setting up a temporary beach (which will include a sandcastle competition – think Versailles if you want to win!) and a petanque pitch. There will also be talks on wine pairings, food preparation and travel advice for people who want to experience this less familiar part of France. In the evening, you can sway to the sounds of DJ Gilles Peterson while you’re sipping on your Costieres de Nimes or Cotes du Roussillon…
If you fancy a little bit of southern France in your life at the end of next month, head along to the South Bank from noon on Sunday 31 August.