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Southern France
Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Les petites épeautres

Not too long ago, we were watching a program and the subject was les petites épeautres, a grain grown in the Provence region.  They’re a little like wheat, and are thought to be one of the oldest cultivated cereals.  Les petites épeautres, are considered to be a rustic and relatively easy crop to grow, but fell out of culinary fashion when wheat became more widely available.  Not surprisingly, I had never heard of them before.
            We were able to find them in an organic grocery store, and apparently, they’re making a comeback.  Les petites épeautres now graces the menu of many popular chefs who proudly introduce this provincial grain to a clientele who have never stepped outside their urban dwelling to rave reviews.  Les petites épeautres are used in breads, soups, and cooked as a risotto.
When cooked properly, les petites épeautres have a subtle nutty and creamy taste.  The outside casing of the grain is broken, but still intact, giving it a slight, but agreeable texture.  Like other cereals, les petites épeautres need to be cooked in boiling water for about an hour before preparing them for a dish – something I wish I knew the first time I made them because I terribly undercooked them and found on my plate a bland product that crunched like half cooked rice.
            Their production is small in comparison to other grains, and I’m not sure if they can be found throughout France, let alone in the US.  (Let me know if you do!)  But, if ever in the region, or spotted on a menu, they are clearly worth trying. 

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