Are you looking for somewhere out of the ordinary to discover some amazing Rhone Valley wines? A new kind of cuisine, balanced and authentic, a slightly quirky but warm welcome? Then why not visit Gina Trevier’s place in Carpentras? Gina does not just run a guest house; she offers a new way of learning about wine, enjoying food, having a good time with others.
Your career has been somewhat unusual. How does one switch from international trade with the countries of the Middle East to running the Maison Trevier in Carpentras?
It is true that I began my career in international trade. But when France’s relations in the Middle East deteriorated, I was only too willing to take early retirement! Which enabled me to set up a wine bistro at Issy-les-Moulineaux. I was born in the Camargue. And I have always been closely involved with cookery and wine. As grand-daughter of a village grocer, it was my father who introduced me to wine-tasting. On Sundays, he would uncork something special. I had great fun for a good 15 years. Then I realised there was a problem with our diet. I went back to studying nutrition and dietetics and became interested in biodynamics, and organic wines. That’s how my “Carpentras” project began to germinate!
And nowadays, what do you offer your guests?
I wanted to launch a project that was a cross between wine tourism and natural cookery, to create setting in which people could recover their energies. At first, everyone thought I was mad! But never mind. I’m an enthusiast, that’s what drives me. And my obsession is combining pleasure with health: I practice a form of “living cuisine”. Now, when I see people coming here to learn about it and benefit from my experience, I tell myself it was a good idea. It certainly takes energy. And, fortunately, I’ve got plenty of that.
You say you practice “living cookery”. What does that mean?
We are living beings and our body needs living things for nourishment. A dish made from frozen food is dead. A soup, even if you make it using decent vegetables, if you put it in a sealed plastic box, then heat it up again next day, it’s dead! Living food means germinated seeds, fermented milk products, things that live on in our bodies: we can assimilate them perfectly, without storing them.
I organise courses in living cookery, and I make sure the food is really a pleasure to eat. My dishes are sprinkled with sprouting seeds; people think it’s fun and it makes the food colourful. I also work on combinations of compatible ingredients. For example, when I prepare starchy foods, like a spelt risotto, I don’t serve meat. The result is that, when you wake up next morning, you feel better than usual. The young Swiss people who were here last week would bear witness to that. And for the same reason I serve organic wines, like those produced by Marcel Richaud, or Corinna Cruze of the Martinelle estate.
Your guest house is much talked about abroad…
Yes, I’m receiving more and more foreign guests, from all over the world, especially in summer. Last year, for the Symposium du Grenache, I hosted an American journalist and his family. They just loved it, especially his wife, who eats only organic foods. They praised me to the skies in an article in Travel & Leisure. Thanks to him, I’m receiving more and more American guests, as well as visitors from Singapore, Hong Kong and so on…
Your plans for 2012 ?
I’ve converted my kitchen to make it bigger and more user-friendly. I’m organising cookery courses and courses on oenology. At the same time, I am running seminars for between 10 and 12 people. And I’ve also a small room for more intimate teaching sessions. Finally, I’m installing a fitness suite so people can process what they drank the evening before! You’re more than welcome!
For further information : www.maison-trevier.com