Right here, “I went back to basics”! smiles Thomas Acosta, one eye on the cooking of his red mullet wriggling in a frying pan. Barely out of the nets of the fishermen of Niel, a small fishing port anchored to the peninsula of Giens, the rock fish will be delicately mounted in millefeuille and sublimated by a bewitching whipped cream with black garlic. They will delight this afternoon the greedy who were impatiently waiting for the reopening of La Jeannette.
Particularity of this Arbanaise table which has the wind in its sails: a cuisine made exclusively from handpicked local products, with no less than forty regional producers and artisans. And a menu that changes all the time according to arrivals.
So the routine is over for the young chef from Toulon trained at the Lycée hôtelier Anne-Sophie Pic and trained in the basics of gastronomy at Pierre Gagnière, in London. At the piano since the opening of La Jeannette, he is enthusiastically attacking his third season.
Housed in the old post office, on the heights of the village, with its pleasant terrace overlooking the park, the brand focuses on short circuits. And it was quickly emulated, with Southern, Mediterranean and creative cuisine. “A mixture of my Reunionese origins, black and Spanish feet, with spices. My great pleasure here is that the menu can change from midday to evening thanks to the contributions of local producers: swordfish weighing two hundred kilos, shiitake, cotimenberts of Cotignac… “ enthuses the chef.
That morning, after the arrival of fishing, it is the Hyérois Patrick Mouial who comes to deliver an ingredient of choice: his organic black garlic made in Hyères – old recipe stolen from Asians (read below) –, accompanied by a range of products produced at the Comptoir de Cadichon, which will also find a place on the shelves of the delicatessen of La Jeannette.
A passionate team
This old recipe makes it possible to obtain soft caramelized pods whose flavor is as disconcerting as it is addictive. Patrick Mouial subtly combines them with local products: honey, salt, olive oil…
” A good chef and good products, both work! “,rejoice Leslie Carratala and Marc Montguillot, who opened the restaurant of their dreams in 2020. “Not a gastro, we especially wanted conviviality and authenticity”, they underline. They were also keen to put in place a real environmental policy: no paper towels, no plastic, recycling cigarette butts…
Marc worked for sixteen years at Prado Plage, a reference address on the Hyères coast. Leslie, who was a tourist guide, had already rubbed shoulders with local producers through his gourmet walks. “We are passionate, we have consumed like this for years, we like good things!”
A warm, festive and responsible table, to learn about the rich gourmet geography of Var.
Black garlic, this condiment with a wide aromatic palette, is also a “food” which contains, among other things, powerful antioxidants. Its flavor is so exceptional and complex that the Japanese who love it call it umami, “the fifth flavor”, which literally translates to “delicious taste”.
This Asian technique, which transforms the taste of garlic by increasing its virtues, is said to be four millennia old. Because black garlic is not a particular species, but a white garlic cooked for days at low temperature or candied in seawater. This slow caramelization in a humid environment produces the Maillard reaction: a set of chemical reactions between sugars and proteins which modifies the coloring and aromas. The cloves become black as ebony, soft and sweet, and their flavor has nothing to do with that of classic garlic.
Balsamic and slightly sweet with notes of prunes, liquorice, truffles, porcini mushrooms… and a subtle acidity on the finish, black garlic replaces salt like sugar, and goes perfectly with a multitude of dishes: meats white and red, fish, salads, vegetables, fruits, cheeses…
Organic and local production
This delicacy, still little known in our latitudes, changed the life of Patrick Mouial, first interested in its medical properties before discovering its full culinary potential. Today, under the sign The counter of Cadichonthe Hyérois sells organic black garlic grown in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and processed by hand in his lab.
He has developed a remarkable range based on local local products: fleur de sel with black garlic caviar, macerate with organic olive oil from the Sauvebonne valley, in Hyères, and a delicious honey with caviar from black garlic, in collaboration with Hyérois beekeeper Sylvain Mestre.
“Professional photographer for thirty years, I was not predestined to make black garlic” laughs this globetrotter who has worked for fashion and advertising, and whose images are exhibited in Nice. “I came back to Hyères where I have my roots, I wanted to rediscover my values, but a small gift was waiting for me on the evening of December 24, 2020…” A heart attack which forced him to undergo heavy treatment. Four bags of medication to take for life… Looking for something natural to reduce the medicinal part, I came across Japanese black garlic.” A revelation that led him to develop his own process. “Thirty days in smart incubators. One of the secrets is to vary the temperature between 35 and 115 degrees every 25 hours. Afterwards, there is a drying time which naturally removes some of the humidity. “
Its limited production has attracted a clientele that extends as far as… Japan.“With cheese, it’s a killer! But also in vinaigrette with leeks, with strawberries, raspberries… It’s perfect with sea bream, red mullet, prawns, a small Giens sea bass…”A revolution for barbecues.
The Jeanette. 1, rue du Maquis Vallier, in Hyères. Such. 06.15.97.00.23.
Le Comptoir de Cadichon – Organic black garlic from Provence.