“Stick that in you’re Martini Mr. Bond and you’ll be a happy, if not slightly wobbly, agent indeed.”
I don’t like oysters. And it was all you can eat. All you can eat oysters. To my extraordinary delight there was a seafood menu and I went straight for the giant prawns. Because I don’t eat fish. I know; it’s a disgrace… and I still smoke. Whatever.
The prawns are brilliant. I’m sitting with what’s basically family and they’ve swallowed their share in their time (oysters; keep up). Filthy. They adore this place and I can see why. They rave about the oysters and my prawns were incredible. La Ferme Marine in Marseillan is a place to go. Even if you only like prawns. Awesome giant prawns looking out, past Corsica, at The Mediterranean Sea.
We head further into town and, a wander around the harbour front later, we arrive at a pretty impressive institution. It is the maker of France’s most infamous vermouth. It is Noilly Prat.
Vermouth is a fortified wine that is typified by the different botanicals that it’s flavoured with. Noilly Prat has made what can only be described as a fairly good version since 1813.
Our tour takes straight into the impressive cellar filled with huge oak casts inside. This aint new oak. These are filled with wine and then extra alcohol (In the form, usually, of uber strength wine) and botanicals and spices are added. Then fermentation takes place, with the mixture stirred every so often, before bottling.
We step into the courtyard holding much smaller barriques: this is what counts. The Noilly Prat operation is housed right by the sea and seawater continuously splashes all over the outside drums filled with the vermouth.
Through a museum carefully filled with Noilly Prat’s historical machinery and out we emerge into a café courtyard leading into a demonstration bar. We taste all four varietals made here. We taste them without mixer and they’re all superb. Stick that in you’re Martini Mr. Bond and you’ll be a happy, if not slightly wobbly, agent indeed.
It’s not wine but it’s made from it and I’m sold… if not on the oysters.