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Marseillan, France and Vermouth

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I’m back in the South of France on a new book project and stopped in Marseillan, France, exploring some of the Languedoc’s pretty small villages. The Tuesday morning market was in full swing. Booths of vendors hawk everything from belts to flowers to fresh seafood, clothes-on-the-rack, olive, spices, and baked goods stretched throughout the village streets, meandering around corners, and filling the plaza. It couldn’t have been a more perfect Mediterranean morning.

Lunch was fresh seafood, sitting across a narrow canal from the Nouilly Prat factory, just up from the sparkling sea. Nouilly Prat is the purveyor of fine vermouth, and Marseillan is the only place on earth where it is made. Since the 1850’s the quaff has been produced in the seaside village using white grapes grown in the area, a secret concoction of herbs, and the elements, as oak barrels containing the brew are left in the sun, wind, and temperature fluctuations for nine months as part of the aging process.

Nouilly Prat is open to visitors from March through November for a small fee. Stop by the factory for a tour and complimentary tastes, enjoy a lovely lunch nearby, then head to the beach!

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