We are on our way to Provence ….enjoying a real baguette “jambon -beurre” sandwich at the train station ! and Pierre is sipping a cafe au lait ….
First breakfast at my mum …. It does not get more simple than that : just good bread , good butter and mum’s made jam …Heaven !
With my sweet little tiny mum !
I will do a lot of cooking …so many delicious things I have been dreaming to eat all year !
A new propane tank in my grand parent’s stove and we are ready ! You won’t believe what great food you can cook in such an old fashion kitchen !!
First stop : Le boucher …with the bakery , the butcher shop is the heart of the village where not only I can find everything I can’t even dream of finding in a city as big as San Diego but also catch up with all the news and gossips , bump into a childhood friend as most of them still leave there and get a bunch of invitations for ” l’aperitif ” by people who have not seen us for a while.
It’s not “just” a butcher shop …but a “cremerie” with local cheeses …
A great deli with all our favorites : Head pate , rillettes , vol au vent…
Real “poulets de Bresse” …the best chicken ever ….
And what I am coming for : some “tendrons de veau” …a more fatty part of the veal that also has gelatine to keep it moist and tender.
As well as some fresh pigeons …what a treat ! Pascal’s grand mother always cooked some when we went to visit her in Forqualquier . This is more than a meal …it’s all those great memories in a plate .
Pierre is taking notes on how to prepare the pigeons !
One stop at the patisserie to pick up some delicious “eclairs “
After a little cooking and simmering : Voila ! Tendrons de veau a la Provencale …the french version of an Osso Bucco without the bones .
A good Coulommier ( kind of Camembert but not as strong) and our ultimate favorite creamy cheese : Boursault ( never seen any in the US …so try it next time you are in France )
Some happy guests ! Mum and our friend Hiroko who came to stay with us for a few days and experience Provence more than visit it.
Today I am meeting with some of my potters in their “atelier” . I have to pack and ship their beautiful creations before to leave .
Lunch break in Lourmarin at the Cafe de la Fontaine . The owners are from Corsica and serve some of the region’s specialties and it’s all grilled in the open fireplace . Loved it .
The “charcuterie plate ”
The near by “Etang ” de Cucuron …very nice spot to eat under the plane trees in summer . Lots of very good restaurants in this tiny village .
Now buying some beautiful bags made of antique hemp from grain sacs and recycled military belts .
The Mistral is blowing ….it is driving everybody crazy , me included ! I am not used to it anymore …and the worst part is that it does not even stop at night and can go on for weeks .
Today I am going to the lavender fields on the high plateaux . It is a beautiful drive through small villages .This is where they grow most of the lavender , where bees make lavender honey , where our essential oil is made , our sachets come from …
St Auban sur Ouveze
The fountain is really a central place in all villages . This is where the ladies where going to do their laundry , wash the linen with big blocks of “Marseille soap” .
Pierrelongue village just before Buis les Barronies . This is the northern part of Provence not as well known and not as jammed with tourists . I use to bicycle here in the summer with my high school girl friends and go from campground to campground .
Perfect picnic spot under a linden tree in bloom . Linden trees make this thick foliage and their shade is said to get you a cold if you take a nap underneath on a hot summer day. These were smelling so sweet…bees were all over and we picked up some leaves to make some herbal tea later .
My mum’s home made pate with truffles …this is no basic picnic !“les genets” flowers were also in full bloom…entire hills were yellow !
The big hay wheels
Finally after Saint Auban sur Ouveze …we get to the fields …but the lavender is not yet fully open . It’s been an unusual cold spring and even if we are now at the end of june , the fields are not purple . Still beautiful !
The spelt fields were dancing in the wind making big waves . I was surprised to see so much spelt growing here but someone told me that lavender fields had had diseases and farmers had switch to spelt witch is very much in demand right now like most gluten free products .
This ancient grain variety is called ” Petit epautre du Ventoux” because it is grown around the Mont Ventoux . You can find it in every supermarket in Provence . I find it not as hard as spelt I find in the US and it also cooks faster .
Saint Roman de Malegarde and our old house with white shutters on the edge of the village …
La Callade – stone street goes up to the little chapel where we got married . Last week the communion ceremony had only 2 little girls …about 100 people live in St Roman year round .
Everybody has heard of L’Isle sur Sorgue …this little town is just east of Avignon at the border of the parc du Luberon ….it is everything you would dream of Provence with it’s canals , good restaurants, small cafes , trendy bistros ,sunday market and flea market . The quality of the antique stores is pretty phenomenal and there are a lot! You cannot see it all in one day and they are only open on the week ends . A must do on your list . Start as early as possible …sun rise for good deal and the hopeless parking situation .
These are old “petanque” balls . At the time they were made out of wood studded with nails to get them heavier .
Chez Nicod the master of “mises en scenes ” … an eclectic mix that somehow always works .
On our way back home we stop at one of our favorite spot , the picturesque village of Seguret . They have the most beautiful live nativity scene in their little church at Christmas . Midnight mass attract so many people you actually have to book tickets to attend …and better know some locals as seats are very limited .
In the back ground …the “Dentelles de Montmirail” mountains that look like lace …also near by the village of Beaume de Venise where they make some sweet aperitif wine named after the village …delicious cold in summer .
Plane trees worked as a trellis …amazing !
Seguret is not a tourist trap kind of village …there is no gift shops but a few artists who have their workshops , a couple of restaurants ( “la table du comtat” is the most famous one …with beautiful views of the valley ) a couple of smaller cafes where all you want to do is sip a coffee , eat an ice cream and enjoy the peacefulness of this place .
Make sure you subscribe to our blog to be notified when I will upload some more photos as our trip to Provence has a part 2 !