The famous nougat of Montelimar France

Written by on June 21, 2017 in Desserts, Gastronomy, Rhône Alpes

A sticky encounter in Montélimar

Montélimar. It’s a name that just rolls off the tongue with a rhythm of its own and it happens to be home to a sweet little secret. You’ll find the town about half an hour south of Valence in the Drôme, part of the Rhônes Alpes region, well on the way to the south.

The home, if not the birthplace of nougat

Nougat has been around for thousands of years but it arrived in Montélimar in the 19th century. With typical French flair, the locals took the original ingredients and created something uniquely French by adding eggs, their famous almonds and local honey. The result is a nougat that bears no resemblance to the mass produced, overly sweet product that many of us have tried over the years. Montélimar nougat is rich in favour and soft. Although of course it’s still sweet, it doesn’t hit you with a 3 day sugar rush or leave you desperate for water. In fact, I was told, it is the best nougat in the world and even Lady Diana, Princess of Wales partook.

The rise to success

Until the advent of fast trains and autoroutes, Montélimar was strategically placed on the main route from north to south. Endorsed by the French President of the day, Emile Loubet, from the late 19th century onwards, nougat sales soared. Touting to passing (and often queuing) traffic, meant a captive audience and the industry was in boom.

All great things come to an end and the nougat industry was hit hard by the arrival of the fast-flowing A7 motorway (“autoroute du soleil”) which skirts the town. However, you can still find the last remaining nougat factories, like Nougat Arnaud Soubeyran, in the outskirts of Montélimar.

Evolve to survive

Arnaud Soubeyran are a 3rd generation nougat producer who had the good luck of stumbling upon some original nougat recipes from the 1950s and adapting them. Today they’re a prestigious and bustling establishment. They’re proud of their Mediterranean almonds which I’m told have fuller flavour than Californian almonds, their floral honey and local fruit and have created an interesting tour of their factory. They still make their nougat by hand and you can watch the production process before indulging yourself in the dozens of different varieties in their shop or spending time in their restaurant.

For more information about Drôme visitwww.ladrometourisme.com;
For a nugget of nougat visit: www.nougatsoubeyran.com
Transport: Valence has a TGV station and it’s possible to get trains from the UK, Paris or elsewhere in Europe (there’s also international car hire right next to the station). From the TGV station there are regular connecting trains. For details see: voyages-sncf.com

Although valence has an airport, most flights are to Lyon or Grenoble.

Related Articles

Diner en Blanc in Paris 2018 in pictures

Friendship, gastronomy, elegance, magic: Diner en Blanc Paris is the chic-est annual gathering the world has ever seen. It is the pique-nique of pique-niques. A giant sea of laughing faces and popping champagne corks. A magical night: Le Dîner en Blanc celebrated 30 years in 2018 On June 3rd 2018 the world’s biggest organized pop-up picnic, the exclusive Dîner en […]

Continue Reading

What to see and do in Grenoble Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes

On the one hand, Grenoble is cosmopolitan and vibrant, with a modern twist and a long association with being the gateway to the Alpes and winter sports. On the other, it’s historic, traditional and refined with a rich cultural heritage and a strong affiliation with the arts. The great joy is that you can dip […]

Continue Reading

Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval, Haute Savoie, France | A hidden gem

In spring and summer in Samoens in the French Alps, the snow melts, the whole valley turns green and the meadows come to life.  Although, we all love the winter season, the spring and summer months mean it’s time to get out the walking boots, bikes, climbing gear, rafts and relish the warm weather. Sixt-Fer-a-Cheval […]

Continue Reading

Discover Vienne, Isere, Auvergne-Rhone Alpes

The small city of Vienne in the Isère department of the Auvergne Rhône Alpes sits on the banks of the River Rhône. It has a delightful mix of rich heritage and history, and fabulous wines as well as sublime culinary delights. It’s a city of Gauls, Romans and Christians along with a sprinkling of fine […]

Continue Reading

The magnificent Jazz in Vienne festival

There’s no denying that the French love a festival, their many and diverse street celebrations always seem to bring out the soul and essence of a city. And surprisingly, the sleepy and historic city of Vienne in the Isère department of the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region in the south east of France, is no exception. […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top