Wednesday, October 16, 2019

"Les 3 Souquets", an Olive Oil Boutique and Santonnier Workshop Near Sablet

We have been traveling to Sablet several times a year for the past 11 years. You would think that by now, there would not be anything new left for us to discover, but that is not the case. It seems that we find someplace new every time we are in Sablet.


"Les 3 Souquets", a santon work shop and boutique offering for sale, products from the region, including all things olives, such as fresh olives, olive oils, and tapenades, made from green and black olives, is our latest discovery.

Fortunately for us, "Les 3 Souquets" is located on D-977 (also known as Route de Vaison La Romaine) near the turnoff for Sablet. The workshop and boutique are the creation of Denis Voeux, a santonnier and owner of a small grove of olive trees, in the neighboring village of Séguret.

Les 3 Souquets

I do not know if Monsieur Voeux was a santonnier who became passionate about olive oil, or vice versa, but at "Les 3 Souquets", there is evidence of both. There are a variety of olive oils from various AOPs ("Appellation d’Origine Protégée") in France and elsewhere as well as fresh Picholine and Tanche olives available to taste and purchase.

Every year, Monsieur Voeux takes a tour of the Mediterranean Region's olive oil AOPs and chooses what he believes are the best from the most recent harvest to sell in his boutique. He also has bottles of olive oil he produces from his small grove in Séguret which falls within the Nyons AOP.

The owner of "Les 3 Souquets", Denis Voeux with Shirley

For santon newbies, santons are hand-made clay figurines that depict the colorful people, traditional trades, activities and costumes of Provence as I told you here. In Provence, they are set out at Christmas in a Provençal creche (nativity scene). I love them and have a small collection that I set out at Christmas time.

If you are fortunate enough to come to his workshop on a day that Monsieur Voeux is working on santons, you might be able to see how they are baked in a red hot oven or how he hand paints each one of them. He says he was enamored with santons from a young age and finally gave in to his love of making objects from clay and modeling them.

Every santonnier has their own style, usually the way to tell one santonniers' work from another, is by looking at the faces of the santons. One of the unusual features of Monsieur Voeux's santons, are his faces, they are all people from Monsieur Voeux's life. The first face he modeled was that of his grandfather on his mother's side of the family. Quite a few other people from his life have since joined the nativity scene. His most recent creation was a santon with a face modeled after his uncle.

Santons by Denis Voeux

In France, olive trees are planted along the arc of the Mediterranean Sea, between Nice and Perpignan, Marseille and Nyons. It is said that there are 100 different varieties of olive trees grown in France, of which 20 are important for the economy of the region. As I said earlier, Monsieur Voeux travels throughout the various olive oil AOPs to selection the best for his boutique. As you can see below, he has a large number of excellent olive oils available.

Olive oils on display at Les 3 Souquets

If you are in the area, and interested in learning about Santons or how they are made, or anything to do with olives or olive oil, make sure you stop in to visit the "Les 3 Souquets" boutique. After tasting quite a few different bottles during our visit, I bought a bottle of Monsieur Voeux's own Nyons production. It was really nicely balanced for me. Tell Monsieur Voeux that Michel from Sablet told you to stop in.

"Les 3 Souquets"
1471 Route de Vaison La Romaine
84110 Séguret
Tel: 06 18 56 57 02

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