Gibassier from Lourmarin

Gibassier de Lourmarin

Le Gibassier is a specialty from Lourmarin, the beautiful village in Provence where I spent Easter in my aunt and uncle’s house. It is a large blond cookie of about a foot in length made with olive oil and shaped like an oval leaf.

It is possibly named after Le Gibas, a nearby summit of the Luberon mountain range, but the confusing thing is that gibassier is also a type of sweet focaccia-like bread baked with olive oil and flavored with orange flower water. This also goes by the name of fougasse or pompe à huile (literally “oil pump”!) and is one of the traditional thirteen Christmas desserts. I have been able to locate recipes for the bread-like Gibassier, but not the cookie: this may warrant a little offline research, as is often the case when you get to such specific and local micro-facts.

What I can tell you though, is how delightfully tasty this biscuit (in the French sense of the term) is. The large amount of olive oil that is obviously involved in the recipe (the paper bag was smooth and shiny within the hour) gives it a very sophisticated flavor and a unique moistness, yet it does not taste greasy at all and is very subtly sweet. The surface shows an unusual scale-like texture and this, combined with the multiple slits that were cut in the dough prior to baking, ensures interesting sensations in every bite and for each of the happy friends you will share it with. Because yes, as you may have guessed (didn’t we recently talk about portion-control?) this is most definitely a break-off-a-chunk-and-share cookie — yet another thing I like about it.

I bought it from Riquier, my aunt and uncle’s favorite boulangerie, where they bought the loaves of bread to feed the twenty-plus family members that they entertained with such natural talent over the week-end, and where I also purchased pignolats, these fabulous crescent-shaped pinenut cookies.

Boulangerie Pâtisserie Riquier
Rue Henri de Savournin
84160 Lourmarin
04 90 68 00 94

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  • naomi

    olive oil works really well for cakes too. it provides a fantastic sweet moistness. my favourite is carrot and olive oil cake. truly delicious.

  • Alisa

    My first thought, while reading the first few words was “that looks just like a fougasse”. Finding a recipe would be nice, but the mental voyage of the post alone, is great. I’m guessing that you had a wonderful time!

  • Judith

    this is not about the current topic. ii am having technical difficulties and cannot get on the forum site. my sign on name has never worked, it comes back saying my password does not match. I can’t seem to change it. any ideas?

  • robin

    Clotilde,

    I found several recipes from specialized books on Provencal cooking,(sometimes spelled with an r at the end). I can send them to you. Here are the references (forgive the lack of accents)– all contain recipes.

    p. 151 Ethnocuisine de Provence by TOUSSAINT -SAMAT: She says: On l’appelle gibassie a cause des gibo, les bosses que la pate forme en levant a la cuisson I have read that elsewhere as well.

    P. 218 Cuisine Prooencale Tradition Populaire, JOUVEAU. (de gibo, bosse)

    P. 34 Cuisine & fetes den Provence, NAZET, under Le gibassier de Lourmarin

    p. 161 REcettes en Provence, MAUREAU, under la Pompe, but mentioned as gibassier.

    If you cannot get any of these recipes, let me know.

    Robin

  • Rainey

    A cookie made with olive oil! I hope you will be able to find a recipe and I hope you’ll share it! This sounds absolutely unique and I’d just love to try it.

    You always find and create such interesting things!

  • Andrea Winchester

    I would also love to see this recipe, especially as I want to find recipes that do NOT call for vegetable oils that are composed of trans-fats.

    Clotilde, I made reference to your writings in my own food blog today. I don’t know how to use trackback yet but I am learning! Thanks for the constant inspiration! I LOVE your site!
    Andrea

  • http://www.wineslob.org Eathan

    Wow, you made that sound good! I’m not a huge sugar fan, so a cookie with subtle sweetness and all those textures going for it, sounds wonderful. I love the idea of a break-off-a-chunk-and-share cookie as well.

  • Laurent

    I really love fougasses too. I got extraordinary memories of that produce actually. I still remember when I was a kid and my father used to bring the ones stuffed with roquefort (my favorites) from the bakery. We would finish them even before starting the official lunch. That was great.

    Sometimes when I visit my parents we do that again and it’s still a fantastic pleasure. It’s my own madeleine (sorry Mr Proust) and from where I derive the bad habit to eat half of the baguettes before coming home ;-)

    By the way I recently went to “Aux Lyonnais” with colleagues and I realized after reading your post about this restaurant that I ordered pretty much the same dishes, except for the Saint-Marcellin, as Maxence and you did (by pure chance actually). A delight. I really felt the same about what I ate as you described. Too bad (or too good in that case !) because I wanted to write about it in my blog but my words will not be as finely chosen as yours.

  • Grandma Blue

    This is toally off the subject, but can someone tell me how to make celeriac? What kind of grinder do you put it through? Is it cooked before you do that? I tried to make it and it was a disaster. Help!

  • http://huuan.blog.lemonde.fr uu

    I have the chance with my wife to go to the Luberon (Lourmarin is part of this area) once every year, for the last 6 years. We always stay at the same B&B at Oppède-le-Vieux. And it’s such an experience going there, wandering on the walking trails (some of them starting from Lourmarin by the way) under the yet warm light of the dusk, with herbal essences (thyme, romarin, lavander) freeing up the air the strong smell of their flowers.
    Luberon (and Lourmarin in particular) is indeed a place of paradise : beautiful lights, nice landscapes, delightful flavors and so good tastes in your plates !
    Though we try to travel elsewhere, yet once a year, we come back to Luberon, a kind of pilgrims on a sacred land. ;o)

    For sure, you have to know these secret places in order to avoid the flow of main-stream tourists. But go there and try the Gibassier, still warm directly from the baker. I am sure you will never forget it.

  • H

    I would really appreciate a recipe for Gibassier de Lourmarin. Can anyone please help me find one? Thanks.

  • Féliz Yves Ian

    Le Gibassier (biscuit)

    Ingredients:

    500 grams flour, either bread or pastry
    200 grams sugar
    ½ tsp salt
    10 tbsp olive oil
    2 envelopes active dry yeast
    3 tbsp orange flower water
    Zest of one (1) orange
    6 tbsp lukewarm water

    Zest the orange with a Microplane.

    Dissolve yeast in water. Sift sugar, salt and flour together into a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour, and then add the yeasted water, olive oil, orange flower water and orange zest. Mix by hand or food processor to form dough. Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for about an hour.

    Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350F).

    Divide dough into dough, and roll into two circles about 1/4 in. thick. Using a knife, cut five fougasse-like slits, and then let dough rise a second time.

    Bake for 20 minutes on a Silpat-lined cookie sheet, or until it reaches desired color and texture. Let cool at room temperature on a wire rack.

  • Féliz Yves Ian

    Sorry. I meant to say, divide dough into two…

  • Cynthia

    In a bakery in Portland, Oregon yesterday I had a Gibassier which was a roll, approx. 4 inches and filled with orange zest and anise seed. It was thoroughly dusted with sugar, granulated. It was a very rich yeast roll and I’d love to be able to make it at home, if anyone has a recipe like this. Do you pronounce the name with a hard “g” or soft, as a “j”?

  • http://www.loneykitchen.blogspot.com hchie gaston

    Thank you so much , Feliz. Will have to try this.

  • anne

    The restaurants in Portland that stock Gibassier are the Stumptown coffee roasters. The Gibassier’s that they have are made with orange flower water just like the recipe above….they are fabulous!!! I am hoping to adapt a cookie recipe with that flavor.

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