The perfect cheese butty

There has always been much debate about what constitutes the perfect cheese sandwich, that beloved lunch of most Brits.

Sliced bread, doorstops from a whole loaf, white, brown or malted? Do rolls or baps count as authentic? (Apparently not).

What type of cheese works best, cheddar, Leicestershire, Camembert, Gouda? Hands down for me it has to be cheddar, sliced thickly, never grated. Life is too short to chase tiny parings of cheese around a plate.

Is it acceptable to add mayonnaise? And tomatoes, cucumber or pickle? Absolutely, say I, pile them on as you wish. A good, tangy mature cheese can hold its own with whatever else you care to throw at it. I personally always add a slick of mayo if I have it; something to do with the nostalgia of salad cream from the sandwiches of my childhood.

Let the debate rage. I’m going to be too busy munching on my butty to worry about who agrees or disagrees 😊…

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Fabulous fougasse

Provence specialises in olive bread called fougasse, and our morning trips to the boulangerie always resulted in our coming home with a freshly baked one in the basket alongside the croissants.

This was a life saver, as our two teenage vegans couldn’t eat the other breakfast pastries, which were all baked with butter. They did devour these beauties, however, pulling them apart warm and fragrant from the oven.

Prepared and baked with olive oil, heavily layered with pungent olive paste and black olives, and scattered with local Camargue salt crystals and fresh thyme, these fougasse were remarkably delicious.

I’ve never tasted anything quite as good out of Provence.

Spices of Provence

The market in Arles is a riot for the senses, a saturation of vibrant colour and warm smells. 

The spice stalls display their wares in huge open bowls; turmeric, harissa, cumin, ras el hanout and paprika, all jostling together for attention in a glorious mosaic of intense, earthy hues.

Colour and taste are everywhere here. This fougasse, a local artinisal bread made with olives and thyme, is the perfect example of simple local ingredients being used to create an intense taste experience. 

Simply gorgeous.