Last October, while in St Tropez, Rashmi Uday Singh had two very definite missions: to meet the reclusive diva Brigitte Bardot and to discover Saint Tropez’s vegan culture. Here's how she describes her experience.
I am on a quest. To meet the vegetarian flag-waving yesteryear Hollywood superstar Brigitte Bardot. I’m in her stunningly beautiful seaside resort of St Tropez. While on this quest, I eat my way through some amazing vegetarian food. I fall in love with the Tarte Tropezienne, a delicious creamy tart created by a Polish patisserie in her honour. It is the vegetarian tart of St Tropez and it is crazily addictive! While on this adventure, I come across interesting facts too: what do Brigitte Bardot, the 19th century Indian princess Bannu Pandei from Chamba and Deepika Padukone have in common? Not only is St Tropez Bardot’s residence but the Indian princess married a French General and lived in the hotel Palais Pandei which is also where Padukone stays regularly!
Chef Quentin Durand, Claude Maniscalco and Jaques Silvant at Pan Dei Palace
It is at this beautiful Palace where I dine with my knowledgeable dinner companions Claude Maniscalco and Jacques Silvant ensconced by statues of Buddha, Indian paintings and antiques from different Indian states. Chef Quentin Durand’s delicious vegetarian starter concocted with artichokes, carrots, zucchini and edible flowers comes up tops!
Blue Radish Cannelloni at restaurant Les Toits, Hôtel de Paris
Out of my many vegan meals, it is the awesome vegan blue radish cannelloni that is a masterpiece in balance of texture and flavour. I discover this delight at the trendy Les Toits restaurant at the Hotel de Paris. Surprises never cease. Coconut cream and almond foam are used skillfully by Chef Damien Cruche. As the chef points out, his inspiration is Provençal with international flavours and use of fresh, local and often seasonal and organic products.
My St Tropez journey ends without meeting Brigitte but her very gallant husband not only comes to meet me with her messages but also does a tarte tropezienne tasting with me. That’s what I call having my tart and eating it too!
Rashmi’s Veggie Wow Moments in St Tropez:
Getting many an awesome view of the St Tropez peninsula at the Lily of the Valley restaurant where the brilliant chef Vincent Maillard pampers me with his vegetarian masterpieces from courgette flower quinoa salad to amazing vegan chocolate avocado mousse.
Le Girelier (on the harbour) where David Didelot’s vegan risotto and detox salad delighted.
At the legendary La Ponche restaurant where the charming owner and Brigitte Bardot’s friend Simon Duckstein dined with me and Chef Christian Geay regaled us with his vegetarian masterpieces
A sumptuous dinner at the Michelin starred La Bastide de Saint Tropez where Chef Philippe Colinet’s mastery over vegetables is a delight.