©Onions|Karolina Grabowska

around the sweet onion

The Cévennes onion is one of the great specialties of the region. Come and discover its history and the recipe of an authentic Cevennes restaurant.

A meeting with a chef

It is in Saint-Paul-la-Coste, a small Cevennes village of less than 300 inhabitants between Alès and Saint-Jean-du-Gard, that we can meet Jean-Yves Piccinali who has been at the head of the restaurant “L’atelier des épicuriens” since 2017.

This restaurant, whosebar has been labeled Café de Pays, has now replaced the old school; customers have replaced the students of old and the sound of forks has replaced that of chalk. “L’atelier des épicuriens” has become a real place to live in the center of the village imbued with authenticity, passion and simplicity: Everything lets it shine through, whether it’s about the furnishings, the welcome, the products and the cuisine.

What characterizes Jean-Yves is above all his passionate self-taught side that will use local, organic and seasonal products to create local recipes. Everything is homemade, from the charcuterie to the desserts, including the bread “lou pan d’Oc”. All cooked products come from local producers: vegetables, meats, poultry, wines (IGP Cévennes).

A former butcher by trade, Jean-Yves specializes in a wide variety of cooked meats, rare, pink or poorly cooked, over a wood fire or plancha depending on the mood of the cook. He cooks Limousin beef and Charolais veal on the grill or plancha. In winter, the focus is on traditional Mediterranean dishes such as hare à la royale, truffle omelet and porcini mushrooms.

Did you know that?

The sweet onions of the Cevennes

The method of exploitation of sweet onions dates back to the Middle Ages, with the construction of cultivation terraces. This particular configuration thus allowed a good exposure to the sun and, the heat stored during the day, was restored at night. Thanks to these different levels, the soil is very well drained in case of heavy rains preventing the bulbs from getting damaged.

Sweet onion is theonly onion that is going to be cultivated in terraces, this allows it to obtain an AOP (Protected Designation of Origin) in 2008. The area delimited to the protected designation of origin covers 32 communes of the Gard department.

The Cévennes sweet onion is the emblematic and unavoidable ingredient of the Cevennes cuisine. Its inimitable taste now gives it an important place in theFrench gastronomy. Thanks to this particularity, it has managed to seduce the greatest chefs who will use it in the elaboration of even their most elaborate dishes. From its preparation will emerge its peculiarities: indeed, consumed raw, its flavor is without bitterness or spiciness unlike traditional onions. Once cooked, the product will release sweet and mild flavors while retaining a shiny and translucent appearance.

The recipe

Pissaladière with Cévennes sweet onion.




500g bread dough, 1kg sweet onions from the Cevennes, Anchovies from Collioures, Taggiasche olives, 1 branch of Thyme, 1 bay leaf, 2 pinches of oregano, organic Cevennes chili, salt, pepper, Olive oil.


  • Order from your baker 500g of fresh bread dough.
  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Shape the dough according to your dish, and bake for 15 min.
  • Slim 1 kilos of sweet onions from the Cevennes, reduce them in a frying pan over low heat with a good house olive oil. The thyme, bay leaf and oregano. They are reduced properly when they are translucent.
  • Add salt, pepper and organic Cevennes pepper sparingly.
  • Remove your dough from the oven, cover it with the onions, add the anchovies, olives , put in the oven for 10mn at 180C

To be enjoyed hot or cold.


Happy tasting!!

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