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

The Aiguille du Midi Chamonix

The Aiguille du Midi is a 3842m mountain peak in the Mont Blanc Massif and if you want to get up close and personal to Mont Blanc and have a glimpse of the heavens, this is the place. To get there you have to get the cable car from Chamonix which will mean about a […]

Continue Reading

French and Parfait – how to cook perfect French style!

Cecile Delarue is a cook, journalist, blogger and author and blogger at ‘French and Parfait’ where she takes as a fun and tongue in cheek look at French cuisine and life. Cecile says “French women are just the best. That’s how we’re born. Parfaites!  We don’t get fat, we never sleep alone AND our kids […]

Continue Reading

Reasons to Love France No. 2 | French Cheese

There’s something about the cheeses of France that seduces and entices all cheese lovers. It doesn’t matter that other countries produce delicious cheeses, more cheeses, different cheeses. French cheese has that certain je ne sais quoi. Why French cheese is so special Take Camembert for example, or Brie… or Reblochon, Munster, Maroilles, Comte, Roquefort – […]

Continue Reading

Learn to Cook in Normandy | Perfect French cooking experience

Chef Spencer Richards from the UK spent years taking holidays in Normandy with this family. He loved the culture and the history and especially the fabulous gastronomy of the northern French region. Eventually he couldn’t resist the lure of Normandy any more. He moved to St Hilaire Du Harcouet, Manche, and set up Normandy Cooking […]

Continue Reading

How Do French Women Stay Slim

French women are famous for being able to achieve and retain a slim physique. Well I can tell you, I live in France, and not all women are slim. But, statistically French women are slimmer than British and American women – so how do they do it? Is it iron will power? Is it a […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

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

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top