James Martin's French Adventures

20 x 60 mins ITV 1


In this warm and sunny series, James goes back to the country that first inspired him for a glorious road trip in Keith Floyd’s old 2CV. Full of personal recollection and revelation, as well as fabulous locations, wonderful contributors and 80 brand new recipes, the series was a huge hit with viewers.

The series is represented internationally by DCD Rights.

James Martin’s French Adventure Funny Moments
Crew Moments
Floyd Moments

Episode 1 - St Émilion Episode Synopsis
James’s first stop on his French Adventure takes him back to the place that inspired his passion for food, St Émilion. He visits the legendary Chateau Cheval Blanc to cook up his first dish and sample a glass or two, before going back to the kitchens of L’Hostellerie Plaisance, where he worked as a lad more than 30 years ago. There he enjoys a meal, overlooking the picturesque town and macaron shop where he first discovered his sweet tooth, before rounding off his trip down memory lane by visiting some British ex-pats and cooking for them amongst the vines of their award-winning vineyard. Back home, inspired by the wine and almond-based macarons, James shows us how to make a delicious one-pot-wonder and a simple but stunning soufflé.

Episode 2 - Canal Du Midi
James Martin’s French Adventure continues on the Canal du Midi. Starting in historic Carcassonne, he joins the mass of tourists taking in the sites and doing a little shopping. After cooking up a delicious fish stew on the banks of the canal, James hops aboard a boat for a trip towards the coast. In exchange for a little work, he is treated to a traditional cuttlefish lunch cooked in the boat’s tiny kitchen before disembarking at L’Étang de Thau. There he looks out across the vast oyster and mussel farms, and treats the crew to a classic French dish, Moules Mariniere. At home James cooks a delicious dish perfect for a simple supper plus a delightful seafood dinner.

Episode 3 - Languedoc
James visits Languedoc - famous for its wine and the hearty meaty dish, cassoulet. After stopping at a roadside fruit stall run by some British ex pats, James uses some great local produce to create an unusual first dish with Melon and Onion Rings! He meets a modest chef who cooks him up a mouth-watering cassoulet, before staying at an 18th century coach house where hosts Mike and Val cook the team a feast using local ingredients. James treats himself to a wander around a very special museum dedicated to Citroën 2CVs and turns up the heat with a steak cooked on a barbecue in the blazing sunshine. Back in his own kitchen, James creates his own duck dish and knocks up a sweet treat reminiscent of the wonderful fruits of the Languedoc.

Episode 4 - Charente
James’s French Adventure takes him to picturesque Charente. He starts his journey in the heart of the Cognac region. Inspired by a visit to a distillery, James uses Cognac for his first al fresco cook. He then follows in the footsteps of the Queen Mother to pay a visit to Chateau de Verteuil home of the De La Rochefoucald family. In the shadow of their chateau, James meets a miller who still uses traditional methods to make award-winning brioche loaves. He then creates a superb salad which incorporates some of the region’s best produce, including the brilliant brioche. Back in Blighty, James makes a classic French Onion Soup and pays homage to the patron saint of pastry chefs with a stunning dessert.

Episode 5 - Dordogne
James visits a region known for its traditional hearty cuisine, buried treasures and a love of all things duck, the Dordogne! After a visit to a market to find some ingredients, James makes a delicious summer pudding. As he continues to explore the Dordogne, he tastes not one but three local specialities all cooked for him by the Auberge owner, British ex pat Chris. After lunch Chris hunts for another local icon, the black truffle. The region’s passion for truffles rubs off on James as he uses it in his next recipe. Upon returning home, James uses the ingredients found in the Dordogne to create his own dishes, a decadent walnut and chocolate dessert and, of course, duck cooked with truffle.

Episode 6 - Lyon
James ventures to the city of Lyon, known as the ‘Gastronomic Capital of France’, to explore the two sides of the culinary scene. A visit to the city’s famous food market provides plenty of inspiration for his first dish, a Lyonnaise bacon salad. James finds himself welcomed into a Bouchon, a rustic Lyon institution, where he’s served a slice of local history in the form of a Machon. After experiencing the heartier fare of the region, James ventures to one the city’s many Michelin-starred restaurants to experience some fine dining. James then uses Lyon’s inspiration to cook up a tasty pork dish with Lyonnaise potatoes. In his own kitchen, James draws on the rustic style of cookery he saw at the Bouchon for a rich game terrine, and shows us how to make one of France’s best known desserts: Crème brûlée.

Episode 7 - Annecy
James’s French Adventure leads him to the beautiful lakeside town of Annecy, where he wanders around the market to select ingredients for his first cook. On the stunning shore of Annecy’s crystal clear lake, James cooks dishes showcasing delicious local tomatoes, red mullet and lobster. World-famous cheesemonger, Pierre Gay shows off his amazing selection of cheeses and inspires James to cook a mouth-watering cheese and endive bake back in his home kitchen. James also meets local chef, Yoann Conte who has a passion for transforming for simple local ingredients into something spectacular in his Michelin star restaurant on the shore of Lake Annecy. James next stop is to visit the award winning pastry chef Philippe Rigollot to sample of his extraordinary creations. Drawing on his experiences in Annecy James makes a luxurious crème caramel.

Episode 8 - Jura
Heading eastwards, James’s French Adventure takes him to the region of Jura. Local famer, Matthew Tissot shows James around his beautiful orchard and teaches him about the region’s remarkable apples and pears. James barbeques duck on an accompanied by a spicy apple and pear chutney, using fruit from Matthew’s orchard. Next James visits Fort des Rousses, home to one of France’s most popular cheeses, Comte, where he is shown around the extraordinary corridors of the fort. Delving deeper in to the region, James is cooked for by 2 Michelin starred chef, Jean Paul Jeunet who shares his take on a classic risotto using local ingredients in distinctly Swiss looking surroundings! James then cooks pork chops with Vichy style carrots in a remote location. Back on home soil, James gives comfort food a decadent twist with his lobster mac and cheese and makes a warming apple tart.

Episode 9 - Bresse
On this leg of his French Adventure, James heads to Bresse, home to one France’s most famous ingredients: The Bresse chicken. After a peruse around the impressive Louhans market, James cooks using the region’s revered chicken in his sumptuous Chicken Blanquette. James goes to a chicken farm and museum to meet some of the chickens and learn just why they are so special. But they prove elusive, as if they know a chef can’t be trusted! James then gets to meet one of his human culinary heroes, Georges Blanc, owner of his eponymous 3 Michelin star restaurant where James gets a little star struck! After Georges cooks for him, James attends the annual Michelin star football tournament. Back in his own kitchen James cooks a mouth-watering cep tart and takes inspiration from his meeting with Georges to make a raspberry slice worthy of a place on any restaurant’s menu.

Episode 10 - Burgundy
James continues his French Adventure in Burgundy, a region famous for its wines and mustard fields. Re-tracing Floyds visit thirty years ago, James stops at the very same vineyard for a personal tour. After sampling some wine made in the year of Floyd’s visit, James cooks in the grounds of the vineyard, using the region’s best produce to make Veal with Mustard sauce. James visits the region’s Capital, Dijon and tours a factory, which gives his Granny’s gingerbread a run for its money before turning his hand to making the city’s more famous export, mustard. After all the hard work of mustard making James returns to the vineyard to cook chicken livers and chanterelles on toast. In the comfort of his own kitchen James makes a delicious Beef Bourguignon and a classic Coq au Vin.

Episode 11 - St Tropez
James’s journey though France leads him to the glitz and glamour of St. Tropez. He starts by exploring the fantastic seafood market in search of ingredients for his first dish. Cooking, in true St Tropez style, aboard a yacht, James makes the most of the local seafood cooking it, en papillotte. A local tour guide explains how Brigitte Bardot transformed the town from a quiet fishing village to an international hotspot, and also explains her role in the town’s most famous sweet treat. After exploring the town, James drops in on an old friend, Michel Roux. Together they knock up a rather special barbeque and James cooks for Michel using ingredients from his garden. Upon returning to his own kitchen James makes a dish he ate whilst in St Tropez, roast chicken with creamy dauphinoise potatoes. And drawing inspiration from his time with Michel he uses simple ingredients to cook sole goujons with tartare sauce.

Episode 12 - Marseille
James’s French Adventure brings him to the bustling Provencal port of Marseille. James finds himself in heaven, starting the day in the old port where the fishermen are selling fresh seafood on the back of their boats. After exploring all they have to offer, James buys sea bass for an outdoor cook on the waterside. Venturing into town James visits Marseille’s oldest bakery, famous for the Navette biscuit. At the family run bakery, he learns the history and importance of the biscuit. James then goes in search of the best of Marseille’s most famous dish, Bouillbaisse. After sampling the famous fish feast, James takes his beoved 2CV to the world famous Circuit Paul Ricard to cook his take on Piperade. And in keeping with the fish and seafood theme, James cooks scallops St Jacques as well as wreck fish with buckwheat.

Episode 13 - Camargue
James’s culinary tour of France leads him to the distinct and diverse region of The Camargue. He begins his exploration at Les Marquises, the Laurent family’s farm, where James learns all about the Camargue Bull. James then barbeques a local fish, which he serves with squash chutney for the family. We also see how the region is famous for fleur de sel - a delicate salty crust, which forms on the surface of seawater and is hand harvested in the waters of Aigues Mortes. The harvest manager Luc explains exactly how fleur de sel is collected and why it is so special. James then visits a rice farm where owner, Jacques, shows him around the paddy fields and teaches him about the harvest. After his tour Jacques cooks James a risotto using his own rice-brewed beer. From the paddy field to an extraordinary garden, James meets Michelin starred chef Armand Arnal who shows him around his impressive gardens and lets him pick ingredients for his next dish, stuffed courgette flowers. James uses the fabulous Fleur de sel in his own kitchen to make Pissaladiere (a salted anchovy and onion tart) and - inspired by his visit to the paddy fields - makes squid ink risotto.

Episode 14 - Arles
James’s French adventure brings him to the city of Arles, famous for its Roman architecture and a sport with bulls where young daredevils play a dangerous game. It’s also home to the largest market in Provence, and James sets up his mobile kitchen there to cook a dish of John Dory with tomatoes, courgettes and clams – all from the market stalls around him. A trip to award-winning wine producer Chateau Romanin gets James to change his thinking on the merits of rosé wine. And he has a go at pottery with a local potter – but won’t be serving up any food in the results. His pottery teacher Cecile, on the other hand, supplies her beautiful creations to L’Oustau de Baumaniere, a two starred Michelin restaurant just 15 miles north east of Arles. James then heads to an olive grove to cook some pan friend lamb chops with baby aubergines, before taking artistic inspiration from one of Arles’s famous residents – Vincent Van Gogh. Back home he bakes a satisfying salmon en croute and some naughty chocolate and hazelnut meringues.

Episode 15 - Isle Sur la Sorgue
James’s journey has brought him to the adopted home of his food hero Keith Floyd – the pretty riverside town of Isle Sur La Sorgue, where Floyd once had a restaurant. Buying produce from its floating market, and a Floyd-style hat, James sets up his mobile kitchen on a bridge overlooking the river, and cooks peaches pain perdu in the sunshine. Floyd wasn’t the only Brit to be drawn to the area. Just a little further north, is Leanne, who exchanged a job in the tourist industry for a life in the mountains raising a family and a herd of goats. There she makes cheese and yoghurt for local markets in an idyllic pastoral setting. Heading back in the direction of Isle Sur La Sorgue, James samples some truffle-laden dishes at renowned restaurant La Beaugraviere, and makes another dish beside the river – scallops with tomatoes and chorizo – and finds some British tourists to taste his efforts. Back in his own kitchen, James makes a slow roasted shoulder of lamb, with accompanying Parisian potatoes, and a fish soup that Keith Floyd would be proud of.

Episode 16 - Normandy
James’s French Adventure brings him to the historic Pegasus Bridge. He drives across it in his beloved 2CV and experiences a slice of wartime history. Normandy is dotted with reminders of our recent past. It’s also peppered with orchards and dairy farms – because it’s cider and Calvados country, as well as home to beautifully rich, world famous butter. James sets up his mobile kitchen in one of the many Calvados orchards in the area, to make a dish of artichokes with hollandaise. We meet Laurent, who gave up working in a factory to make butter the way his mum taught him. And James visits restaurant Le Pavé d’Auge in one of the most beautiful towns in France, to see a chef who likes to cook with as much butter as him! There he is served a dish of sweetbreads and salsify. Back in the great outdoors, James uses Calvados in a pork dish with wet walnuts. All of this inspires two indulgent home cooked dishes – pain au chocolate, with lots of that lovely butter, and black pudding with scallops.

Episode 17 - Giverny
James arrives in the misty gardens of Claude Monet’s house in Giverny. He walks across the iconic Japanese bridge, to gaze at the famous water lilies. Monet famously loved his food, and had quite a brood to feed with his second wife (they had eight children between them). Thinking of this hungry horde, James sets up his mobile kitchen nearby to cook a delicious dish of crab (James’s self-proclaimed food heaven) and dulse. We get a peek inside Monet’s kichen and hear how he collected recipes from the various restaurants at which he dined. And just down the road, Eric Guerin serves James pike, one of Monet’s favourite ingredients, at his restaurant Le Jardin des Plumes. In a nearby orchard, on the day of their annual harvest, James cooks an autumnal treat of apple doughnuts. Back home he cooks a local pudding – Normandy tart, and an omelette that will change the way you use your eggs.

Episode 18 - Paris
James’s French adventure brings him to one of his favourite cities in the world – Paris. The home of café culture, Paris has so much to offer. But it’s an early start, because he’s off to one of the largest wholesale food markets in Europe – Rungis, at four in the morning. He tours the vast array of produce that’s being shipped off around the world, and sets up a cooking station in one of the warehouses to whip up a dish of chicken and mushrooms using ingredients straight off the pallet. He also cooks up a duck breast, complemented by tangy vegetables and chilli sauce. Paris is well-known for its love affair with the baguette, but it’s also home to some amazing sourdough. And the Poilane Bakery use a starter dough that dates back to 1932 to make theirs. Paris is home to both artisans and fine dining. And James is lucky enough to visit the kitchens of world renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire. Inspired by his Parisian stop-over, James makes a steak baguette and a gin and cucumber savarin.

Episode 19 - Versailles
James arrives at the golden palace of Versailles, a vast royal hunting lodge with amazing architecture. As well as beautiful grounds, it’s also got an incredible market, where James shops for some ingredients for his first dish – sole Veronique, which he cooks at the King’s allotment – the Potager du Roi. James later meets the allotment director to discuss food fashions and seasonality ahead of cooking the biggest veal chops around! Half an hour to the east of Versailles an artist is working away on a massive confectionary creation. Patrick Roger is a chocolatier who makes enormous chocolate sculptures, before casting them in bronze or aluminium. We get a glimpse of his latest work in progress. Back at the Palace of Versailles is Alain Ducasse’s newly opened Restaurant Ore, and James samples a dish from Executive Chef Stéphane Duchiron – oven roasted spelt and wild mushrooms. Back home, James uses some of the chocolate that Patrick works with in his sculptures, to create a fail-safe chocolate mousse. And, inspired by the menu at Restaurant Ore, he cooks up a tempting French fish supper.

Episode 20 - Bois de Boulogne
At the end of his French Adventure, James arrives at the Bois de Boulogne, a beautiful park on the outskirts of Paris. And its race day at the Auteuil Hippodrome - a prestigious steeplechase course within the park. There James meets a fellow-Yorkshireman – champion jockey James Revelly who is no stranger to the winners’ enclosure. Overlooking the prize giving, James cooks up two tempting dishes – leeks vinaigrette with salmon, and lamb cutlets with a colourful ratatouille. Continuing the equine theme is a local mushroom grower who uses a blend of sterilised horse manure and straw to grow his champignons de Paris. James pays a visit to the Michelin-starred Pré Catalan restaurant and enjoys his favourite meal of the trip. Back home he cooks a partridge dish that would perfectly complement some artisan mushrooms, and goes back to the classics, with a perfect pear tarte tatin.

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