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Arrazat's Aubergines: Inside a Languedoc Kitchen [Paperback]

Patrick Moon
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 May 2005
How, exactly, does a young restaurateur set up in business, and what happens when deliveries are late and there are thirty unexpected customers to feed? Returning to his challenging home in the Languedoc, Patrick Moon could easily fill the days, protecting infant vines from marauding wild boar and hiding baby truffle oaks from unscrupulous neighbours. The local campsite cafe is, however, now an ambitious new restaurant. The determination of its talented young chef to achieve perfection on a shoestring is intriguing, and Patrick soon finds himself behind the swing doors, sharing in the triumphs, disasters and sheer hard work of life in a serious kitchen. A wider exploration of the region's finest produce for the table distracts him further. From season to season, Patrick's quest uncovers the secrets of olive oil and salt production, the mysteries of Ricard and the Roquefort caves, the miracle of the sparkling Perrier spring. From mighty household names to eccentric peasant smallholdings, his expeditions encompass an extraordinary cast of characters and a rich vein of humour. But always there are the melons and olives and aubergines demanding attention at home.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (12 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861977069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861977069
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 692,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

PATRICK MOON abandoned a successful career as a City solicitor in his mid-forties, convinced that 'there ought to be time in life to achieve more than one thing' He went on to write three books. The third of these, 'What else is there for a boy like me?', deals with the time he spent in India immediately after leaving the law and charts both his own attempt to reinvent himself, starting again from zero, and his parallel attempt to help a young, under-privileged Indian reinvent his life.
Patrick's first two books, now re-published by popular demand, reflect the large part of his life which is currently lived in the Languedoc region of southern France, where he found a 'third career' growing vines and olive trees. 'Virgile's Vineyard - A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country' deals with a year spent work-shadowing a young, rising-star winemaker, as well as seeking out the other key players in the Languedoc's recent winemaking revolution. 'Arrazat's Aubergines - Inside a Languedoc Kitchen' covers a different year that Patrick spent working alongside an ambitious young chef, whilst also exploring many of the fascinating food products associated with this gourmet's paradise.

Product Description


'cleverly combines the slog of Hell's Kitchen with all the familiar, friendly elements of foreign fantasy' -- The Times, May 21, 2005

About the Author

Patrick Moon, a former London lawyer, now spends every possible moment in his Languedoc home. Paul Levy described his first book, Virgile's Vineyard - about the region's wine-makers - as 'humane, funny and quirky'.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
'Do you feel as bad as you look?' asked Manu, pausing briefly at the top of my drive to let his heart slow down after the sprint across the bridge from his neighbouring cottage. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book 31 Aug 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Patrick Moon's first book, Virgile's Vineyard, about his efforts to learn about winemaking in the Languedoc after being left a property by his uncle.
This book takes the (true) story a stage further, as Patrick returns to the Languedoc to explore the region further and use his winemaking contacts as an in to some of the region's top restaurants.
On the way, he finds out more about indigenous food production, such as the wonderfully-named Pascal Poot and his Conservatoire des Tomates high in the hills.
If you love France, food and wine, this is a glorious soap opera about life in a beautiful part of the country. I'm amazed it and its predecessor haven't been snapped up for a TV series yet.
I've read both books during holidays in France and loved being able to go out the next day and find wines and cheeses, etc, that had been mentioned in the text.
Bon Appetit!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Following on from Virgile's Vineyard, Patrick is back in the Languedoc but on a more permanent basis and it is the food that piques his interest this time. Many of the people we met in book one are back, enriching and hindering Patrick’s life, but also encouraging his love of food. Neighbour Manu and his wife persuade him to dig a large potager and fill it with their favourite vegetables. Winemaker Virgile takes him to lunch at Laurent Arrazat’s new restaurant where he finds himself invited to follow behind the scenes and learn about food from a master chef. As well as trying his best to keep up and help out during busy services, Patrick also makes many other foodie visits during the year to meet cheese makers, snail farmers, honey producers, salt masters, oyster farmers and more. This book often made me hungry and despite the privilege of learning what goes on in a French restaurant kitchen it was the visits to the local producers I enjoyed the most and it has made me more determined to get out and explore my local producers.

The antics of his neighbours, as in book one, regularly made me chuckle and having read these two books back to back I’m going to miss the daily goings on of Manu and Patrick.

This book has recently been updated and re-released and would be ideal for those who love life in France memoirs, plus those with an interest in French wine and the food of the Languedoc. But be warned, it will make you hungry and want to visit the area.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind The Scenes of Languedoc Cuisine 9 Nov 2013
If you enjoyed "Virgile's Vineyard", you'll enjoy this sequel too. Virgile isn't the primary focus this time, but it does show you something of how his life moves on. It also features some of the other quirky characters in "Virgile's Vineyard", including Patrick's neighbour, Manu, plus some new and equally entertaining additions. On Patrick's return to the Languedoc, he quickly discovers that Laurent Arrazat, an ambitious young chef, has opened a new restaurant in what used to be the local camp site cafe. Laurent agrees to let him in behind the scenes to find out more about what it takes to run a small but serious restaurant, much as Virgile allowed him to experience what it took to make great wine in the first book. He soon gets involved in the painstaking chores of food preparation and the stressful pressures of a busy service, learning the hard way that running the restaurant is far from easy, especially when there's a new motorway being built just in front of it! At home, he tends his 40 vines, which Virgile has looked after for him in his absence, he continues to wrestle light-heartedly with the vagaries of Manu, and he battles with the ever-sprawling vegetation on his land. Interspersed with all this, he travels around the Languedoc visiting the kitchens of various other restaurants, some of them top notch, whilst also finding out first-hand about the production of many of the gastronomic specialities of the region, including olive oil, Camargue salt and Roquefort cheese, not to mention oyster farming and the miraculous Perrier spring. All very interesting and informative, written with familiar wit and in Patrick's very readable style.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Narritive of a Year in France with Food 17 Oct 2005
By John Matlock - Published on
A narrative of a year spent inside the kitchen of an ambitious young chef in the Languedoc region of France. This is not a cookbook, it is a story of one man's dream as he follows a year of working in the kitchen, visiting suppliers, investigation that region of France (on the Med, not too far from the Spanish border). It's a story of love. Mr. Moon has clearly discovered where he wants to be and has been able to arrange his life so that he can be there.

He reports that all of these stories are true, well, if not exactly true, they are inspired by real experience. It's a fun book
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Compared to the first book.. 15 Aug 2008
By Luvtostitch - Published on
I'm afraid this book's best attribute was that it put me to sleep quickly every night. My husband and I have reread Patrick Moon's first book Virgile's Vineyard at least 3 times each and so I was hoping for more humour than this one provided - actually, I don't think I chuckled once. It is very interesting to learn all about the workings of a restaurant, about Perrier and Roquefort cheese but this felt more like a reference book than a biography. Perhaps it's because I am comparing it to the first book. I would have liked more talk about the people and their inter-relationships.
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