La Provence is home to a number of Mangalitsa Pigs, a wonderful, inquisitive species that produces a heavily marbled cut. Originally bred in the early 1800s, the meat of the Mangalitsa is ideal for curing and drying to produce varieties of speck like bacon and prosciutto. The fresh cuts are marbled with monounsaturated fat (also found in avocados and nuts), a healthier alternative to the trans fats found in most store bought pork.
The property's hens also supply the restaurant with eggs, which we especially like to show off during throughout Sunday brunch.
La Provence aims to provide the highest quality produce available through the harvesting of a wide variety of crops grown directly on the property. This program helps ensure freshness and nutritional quality without the use of preservatives. The garden contains a slew of vegetable beds, a strawberry patch that doubles as a pumpkin patch during the fall, blueberry bushes and an orchard lined with citrus, fig and pear trees.
The fig trees produce bushels of figs each spring and summer which are roasted under our lacquered duckling, placed atop our country ham and herbed goat cheese flatbread, or even laid out for guests in front the restaurant following especially abundant harvests. Herbs and lettuces are hand picked daily ensuring every salad or garnish has uncompromising quality.
La Provence shares real estate with several beehives, allowing the restaurant the ability to harvest honey. To ensure the safety of guests, the hives are housed on the far end of the property. But for interested parties, a quaint sitting area near the hives is available to quietly observe the bees journey back and forth from the goldenrod patches, the main source of nectar and pollen for the bees. The goldenrod helps the bees produce a dark, rich honey full of flavor and aroma, which in some cultures is said to bring good luck and fortune.
During the warmer seasons 300,000 bees will stock up their honey as a source of nutrients in order to survive the winter. The property only takes a portion of the harvest, making sure to leave enough for the bees to endure the winter. Honey accompanies desserts, sweetens up hot tea, and is used as yet another locally grown ingredient in our kitchen. Andy Leonard, a local beekeeper and member of the Louisiana Beekeepers Association, maintains the hives for La Provence and conducts the fall harvest.