Back to Provence

Late April is a bit too early but this year I had some pretty nice weather and could enjoy my mum’s amazing wisteria , Lilac , iris and lily of the valley .   DSCN0930 (Large).JPG

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First trial run with the walker …we are off to the marche !  My mum is still very skinny but I plan to put some fat on her body this time and do some cooking as always !DSCN0981 (Large).JPG

These were the cutest pet pigs !DSCN0986 (Large).JPG

The white wisteria on the “place de la mairie” main square .DSCN0987 (Large).JPG

I am making Pascal’s grand mother’s baby goat stew recipe …a family tradition in the spring . I know my brother in law will appreciate as he too grew up with this .DSCN0970 (Large).JPG

I gave the recipe in a blog post in Provence a couple of years ago …you can make this recipe with veal as it has a mild flavor as well . Now it has to simmer for an hour or more before I can finish the sauce with an egg yolk and cream just before to serve ….DSCN0977 (Large).JPG


My County in the Cote du Rhone area use to be just vine fields and wineries everywhere but the big wine crisis changed the landscape . When the price of French wines dropped drastically a lot of small wine makers saw their income slashed again and again …. a lot of them had to find a way to make ends meet . This one decided to change career . He and his wife removed all the vines and planted grass to feed some cheeps ,  trained for a year and are now making cheep’s milk cheeses  and “yogurts”  my ultimate favorites. They are called “caille” and they do not use the same starter as a culture . It makes the yogurt very mild with zero acidity and extremely light like a fluffy milk . I could not find it anywhere but in Biarritz near Spain but now I can buy these at the market or at the farm for 0.60E each . Top with some crunchy sugar and a bit of whipping cream !DSCN0989 (Large).JPG

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Le “Chateau de Rochegude” a Relais and Chateaux hotel and restaurant just a few miles from my home town is a great place to stay in Provence , hidden in a quaint little village , quiet and close to everything at the same time . Perfect to explore the northern part of Provence , the Drome Provencale that I love so much . Less tourists and beautiful landscapes ! DSCN0998 (Large).JPG

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They are hosting a vintage car gathering today , the occasion for me to see some friends who have come from all over the south .DSCN1024 (Large).JPG

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Today we are celebrating my mum’s cousin  100th Birthday ! She is still living in her home with the help of her daughters . I get to see my entire family this time and enjoy some fabulous Choux a la creme ! DSCN1035 (Large).JPG

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Mum making my favorites : Vietnamese fried rolls ….nobody makes them better than her ! Eat with lettuce , mint , fish sauce and rice.DSCN0931 (Large).JPG

Bringing back some very special souvenirs ; 3 vases in raku that my mum made DSCN1068 (Large).JPG

Now back in San Diego , I get to practice my Ikebana and make some flowers arrangements in those special vases  ! 1610932_10200333027605185_868294500195871707_n.jpg


Lyon the capital of gastronomie in France

I had not been in Lyon for over 25 years but this year I will lay over on my way to Provence … I have been dreaming about a REAL Quenelle de Lyon for way too long !

Many world famous chefs , 3 stars Michelin Restaurants , Paul Bocuse school …but I am not after some fancy food in a high end decor but old fashion Lyon rustic food !

First I am renting a “Velove ” ( the response to the “Velibre” in Paris ) to get around this not so big city ….plus I know I will need to burn some calories today ! To get into an appetite …nothing like going to the market : The famous covered “Halles Bocuse ”

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My favorite cheese …never seen in the US : a creamy  Saint Felicien

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How about a cheese shaped like France  ! DSCN0819 (Large).JPG

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Escargots ready to go…DSCN0821 (Large).JPG

Pate en croute  with black trufflesDSCN0822 (Large).JPG

Famous chicken from Bresse, Guinea fowl , pigeons …DSCN0826 (Large).JPG

Specialty Quenelles : with squid ink , fish or crayfish . Now I am shopping and taking some home ! I have tried to make some quenelles here in San Diego from scratch without any success and cannot wait to get my hands on these delicate “dumplings” . When you cook them in a creamy white sauce “nantua”  ( with more crayfish )  they fluff like a small souffle ! DSCN0815 (Large).JPG

The cheese stand was amazing but the charcuterie stand is not shabby either ! Do not mix saussisson sec and saussisson de Lyon: one is a dry salami , the other is fresh like a large sausage . This is what I came for too .DSCN0823 (Large).JPG

I guess everything is good with truffles but I will stick to the classic pistachio . Just simmer the saussisson slowly for 45mns and serve with steamed potatoes …DSCN0824 (Large).JPG

Bulots are some of my favorites too…a sea snail delicious with some aioli .DSCN0825 (Large).JPG

A few Bulots and Oursins will do it as an appetizer today . The sea urchins are from Bretagne and despite being smaller than our local San Diegan monsters , they have a very similar delicate and flowery flavor …eat French style with a good fresh baguette and sweet butter to mop the shell ! DSCN0830 (Large).JPG

I cannot help drool just looking at the pastries …DSCN0828 (Large).JPG

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Time for lunch ! Chez Paul …DSCN0835 (Large).JPG

In Lyon we do not call these Bistro or Cafe but Bouchon … it all about meat , heavy , creamy delicious rustic food ! DSCN0836 (Large).JPG

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It’s about the food but also a convivial atmosphere , sharing your table with other guests …talking to the owner . At “Chez Paul”  they serve the appetizers family style …you pass around big salad bowls with head pate , beat salad , lentils salad, more cured meat and more pate ….I am pacing myself … Next is my piece de resistance : Blood sausage with mash potato and apple puree ….French blood sausages are not like any I’ve had made by German or here in the US ….they are the creamiest texture , sweet mild flavor and crunchy outside …a must try next time you are in France !DSCN0838 (Large).JPG

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I take a bite of the saussisson de Lyon ….miss the pistachios and move to the cheese platter , then “fromage frais” a very fresh goat cheese served with fresh herbs , cannot resist having seconds of “faisselle” a fresh cottage cheese like but much more smooth and light topped with a big ladle of creme fraiche before it is desert : a large platter of Creme caramel ( custard flan in caramel sauce ) , a couple of plums cooked in red wine to help digest and I am done ! 25 Euros for the menu …I am full !DSCN0842 (Large).JPG

Place des Terreaux  square is classified as Worl Heritage site by Unesco . It is in the center of Lyon on the Presqu’ile in between the 2 rivers : The Rhone and the Saone L’Hotel de Ville ( Lyon main city hall ) built in 1672DSCN0849 (Large).JPG

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Fontaine Bartholdi DSCN0851 (Large).JPG

In the former benedictine convent is the Musee des Beaux ArtsDSCN0844 (Large).JPG

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L’eglise Saint BonaventureDSCN0853 (Large).JPG

On top of the hill stand the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere looking more like a fortress than a cathedral . It took 24 years to built and was only finished in 1884 .DSCN0854 (Large).JPG

You should walk and wonder in the streets of the Vieux Lyon well known for its Renaissance architecture , but I only have one day so I am back on my bike … DSCN0852 (Large).JPG

Cannot be in Lyon and not stop at Francois Pralus . His famous Praluline created by his father celebrate its 60th anniversary this year . It is a “simple” brioche mixed with a lot and I mean a lot of pralines !! DSCN0855 (Large).JPG

Not that I am already hungry …but I step inside to buy THE famous Praluline . I am told that they are sold out but a new batch fresh from the oven is coming out in 15mns …and I should stay to wait inline …but I need to lock my bike so by the time I step out , lock my Velove …the line is out the door already and by the time I make it back inside …there are just a few Praluline left  ! This is a highly coveted brioche and totally worth the fight I can tell you that now !

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The brasserie Georges, an institution near the Gare Perrache ; the place you go in a hurry before to catch a train or to savor a classic choucroute garnie on a  late night…I plan to come back for desert tonight . I want an Omelette Norvegienne flambee table side tonight ! So few restaurants still serve this incredible dessert …DSCN0861 (Large).JPG

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The new Quartier de la Confluence with its hip restaurants and shops DSCN0865 (Large).JPG

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My bike for the day with all my goodies from the market DSCN0876 (Large).JPG

Traditional house boat along the Saone river . This previously industrial area is being rehabilitated now so people can enjoy the river banks.DSCN0877 (Large).JPG

What a contrast with the old boats !DSCN0880 (Large).JPG

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The Saone on the left , The Rhone on the right and in the middle the brand new Musee  des confluences looking like a floating crystal cloud of steel and glass . DSCN0889 (Large).JPG

The confluence where the 2 rivers become one .DSCN0891 (Large).JPG

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All this biking around the city all day helped me work an appetite again ! I’ve heard of this bouchon hidden in a tiny street … One last feast of creamy goodness before to get back to my Mediterranean diet of Olive oil and tomatoes tomorrow .DSCN0908 (Large).JPG

Advertising their “Famous Quenelle ” …this is it ! DSCN0909 (Large).JPG

Love the quaint authentic decor  !DSCN0910 (Large).JPG

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I am sharing this meal with my cousin’s daughter Amandine and her boyfriend Cedric.DSCN0915 (Large).JPG

First some of the most delicious foie gras on a frisee salad .DSCN0916 (Large).JPG

A dream come true ! This is THE quenelle de Lyon at its perfection !DSCN0919 (Large).JPG

Sweet breads in a morel cream sauce , crispy and creamy on the inside DSCN0920 (Large).JPG

And a Baba au Rhum to top it off ! I have not forgotten about the Omelette Norvegienne but there is no way I can eat anything else right now !!! The most incredible thing is that I will digest like a charm everything I ate today  …when I can have such a stomach ache eating nothing special in San Diego . I am not sure what it is but there is something about the food in France that not only taste better but process better . DSCN0921 (Large).JPGTomorrow I head down to Provence by train with a cool bag full of more great Lyon food to cook at home . My Mediterranean diet will wait a few more days !

Olive harvest in Provence

I have to share these photos of my family in Provence in the village of Nyons ….where the famous olive oil is produced .  My cousins Alain and Regine own and operate the family  olive farm just like in the old days ( It is the 6th generation and  they make the most delicious organic first cold pressed olive oil I know ). Yes it is Christmas and it is also the season to pick up the olives . The day after Christmas everybody is giving them a hand  !




My little cousin Lou-Anne



My cousin Regine


Processing all the olives by hand as always .


Nyons is a cute little town in “Drome Provencale” the northern part of Provence at the foothills of the lavender fields ( we get our lavender oil from there ) . The olives are legendary and driving east and north of Nyons is just marvelous … our very favorite area to go to …unspoiled tiny roads and villages . ..worth exploring if you go to Provence ! 


Fall in Provence

If you go to Provence in the fall on a sunny week it can really be beautiful . Vines and cherry trees are turning red … temperatures can still be around 68-70F …you  just have to take a chance in between end of October and early November ( before it is not quiet red and later all the leaves may be gone after just one storm and some Mistral to finish it off ) This year we got lucky ; no Mistral , no rain just a beautiful fall week in Provence !  It has been raining everyday ever since we left !!!


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Yes there are some animal crossing here too … maybe more wild boars than deers !DSCN0057 (2) [1280x768].JPG

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Halloween is getting more and more popular in France . We had a good bunch of scary kids asking for candies . Lucky them we had brought some Reese’s shaped like pumpkins 🙂 IMG_4803 [1280x768].JPG

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Packing up some pottery ….IMG_4795 [1280x768].JPG

….That is now in the shop !DSCN0084 [1280x768].JPG

Back home in Provence ( last part )

“Les Carrieres de Lumieres” is the one thing you don’t want to miss when in Provence. It runs pretty much all year , every day except for january and february when they work on setting up the new show for the year . It is set inside the old quarries in between Les Baux and Saint Remy both main tourists attractions but not everybody knows about this amazing show . Famous paintings are projected on the quarry’s walls and floor as you walk through them …it moves , changes and surround you with moving amazing art . This year the represented painters are Monet , Renoir and Chagall .

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It’s stays at a cool 15- 17C even in summer …so make sure to bundle up before to get in .DSCN6595 [1280x768].JPG

The village of Les Baux . Parking is at the bottom of the village and all streets are cobblestones …no handicap access so I cannot take my mum there …but it is a beautiful view for our picnic !IMG_3869 [1280x768].JPG

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One stop in Saint Remy for a well deserved desert …my all time favorite classic: Chocolat liegeois and coffee liegeois : cold chocolate milk with chocolate and vanilla  ice cream or cold coffee with coffee and vanilla ice cream …all topped with whipped cream of course !  Not complicated but so delicious !!DSCN6618 [1280x768].JPG

The typical roads lined with planes trees .

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The popes palace in AvignonDSCN6538 [1280x768].JPG

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I am coming to see the exhibition of some of Louise Bourgeois massive master pieces shown inside the palace .Louise Joséphine Bourgeois, was a renowned French-American artist and sculptor, one of the most important artists in modern and contemporary art, and known for her spider structures which resulted in her being nicknamed the Spiderwoman.DSCN6516 [1280x768].JPG

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The Cathedral ” Notre Dame des Doms “. The cathedral is going through some major renovations that started in september 2013 and are not yet finished so check before to plan a visit .DSCN6511 [1280x768].JPG

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Hiking up to the top of the “Rocher des Doms” that gave the name to   the cathedral. On top you have the best view of the famous           “Pont d’Avignon ” DSCN6505 [1280x768].JPG

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One last meal before to leave …has to be sweet breads ” a la creme” with shaved summer truffles !! Summer truffles are very mild in flavor but the sweet breads sure were so sweet ! DSCN6814 [1280x768].JPG

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Sea snails with aioli IMG_4238 [1280x768].JPG

And some “choux a la creme” . We cannot finish dinner without a pastry !! We’ve had pastries every single meal…eat cheese , bread, meat …so much food  . Not only we didn’t gain a pound but we digest it all like a charm …here a single slice of bread can give us a serious stomach ache 😦  We know for sure now that it is not the gluten or the lactose the problem but something else , probably the grain itself and GMO products . DSCN7039 [1280x768].JPG

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Back home in Provence ( part 2 )

Pascal and I grew up in Provence in the middle of the Cote du Rhone wineries . My little home town of 2000 people , Sainte Cecile les Vignes …is obviously all about vineyards. I don’t know what went “wrong” but both of us do not drink wine or any kind of alcohol as the matter fact !!  This is a serious social issue when you live there … How can you not like wine or not drink pastis when you were born and raised in Provence!?!?! AND to make matters even worse …we do not smoke or drink coffee…everybody there is puzzled by this “anomaly” ….here in California we are considered healthy ! 

Saturday morning is Farmer’s market day and the village is buzzing . A basket in one hand and my mum on the other …off we go !


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DSCN6833 [1280x768].JPGEverything looked delicious and fresh but there are very few organic produce stands . We do have really good produce in California but one huge difference was in the apricots …so juicy and bursting in flavors . I must have eat a whole case during that trip ….

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The raspberries and strawberries were amazing as well …still warm from just being picked up 

DSCN6838 [1280x768].JPGDried linden blossom and lemon verbena my favorites to make herbal tea

DSCN6857 [1280x768].JPGAnd all the spices to make a Moroccan couscous or tajine…

DSCN6858 [1280x768].JPGLemon confits are also a big part of north African cuisine….love them with fish or chicken. Here in San Diego ,I make my own since we have fresh lemons everywhere

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DSCN6840 [1280x768].JPGAll kinds of nougats , with candied fruits ….I have to try this next time!

DSCN6839 [1280x768].JPGThis sign is pretty funny : eggs are not large and extra large but       ” medium and very big ”

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DSCN6876 [1280x768].JPGHiro and I cannot resist the  espadrilles . Cute and comfy !

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Paella ready to go ! DSCN6835 [1280x768].JPG

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DSCN6877 [1280x768].JPGMorue sechee ( baccala for the Italians ) is a true specialty of Provence …and a lot of work to desalt and prepare but you can buy some already ready to eat at the same fish stand . It is mixed with olive oil and turned into a creamy paste delicious with steamed potatoes …ad a few truffles and it is really heaven !

DSCN6878 [1280x768].JPGThis is my catch of the day ! A stingray fin …just steam it for 10-15 minutes. It is mild , moist and just comes off the large bone like shredded meat .

DSCN6881 [1280x768].JPGThis is also one of my favorite : scallops with their roe . I have never been able to find some here in the US but in France it is the only way they come …so tasty and delicious . You just sear them the same way in a little butter …yum !

DSCN6883 [1280x768].JPGBig raw prawns with head and shell ready to grill …best part is to suck the skin and head where all the flavors are !

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Goat or sheep cheeses …they are all good !

DSCN6859 [1280x768].JPGBut the ones I am taking home with me are these fresh fresh goat cheeses…made locally in the near by town of Valreas. Only a day old ; they are still in their liquid. Strain the cheese and eat with good “fleur de sel” and bread …this is the most mild of all goat cheeses …and can only be found where they are made since they are not yet aged …this is all my childhood and the taste of home !

DSCN6885 [1280x768].JPGI make one last stop chez Thierry the very talented florist to pick up some fresh flowers .

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My mum own hydrangeas and wisteria

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Getting ready of a “cooking class” …today we’ll make an other recipe Pascal’s grand mother taught me : ” blanquette de chevreau” 

A blanquette is a typical french dish made with veal in a white sauce but I much prefer this “chevreau” version. We can only find young goats in spring around Easter . It makes this dish much more moist and tender with a very mild taste .


IMG_3893 [1280x768].jpgThis is what you’ll need: Olive oil , butter, veal with some bone if possible so it is not dry , a shallot, 1 garlic clove crushed, corn starch, white wine, chicken or veal broth , bouquet garni ( bay leaves, thyme and parsley ), 1/2 onion studded with cloves, some whipping cream and 1 egg yolk .

DSCN6626 [1280x768].JPGTraditionally you would start the meat in cold water and bring it to a simmer before to clean the foam that comes up ….but we like to bring some more flavors so we sautee the meat in a mix of olive oil and butter , let it brown before to ad the chopped shallot and garlic.  Ad a tbs of cornstarch to make a “roux” that will help thicken the sauce in the end . Ad a glass of white wine , let evaporate before to ad water to almost cover the meat . Put 1 cube of chicken or veal stock , 2 branches of celery , 2 carrots, the bouquet garni and the onion with the cloves . Salt no pepper .
Cover and let simmer for about an hour until the meat is tender .

DSCN6641 [1280x768].JPGMy best student taking notes !

DSCN6637 [1280x768].JPGWhen the meat is cooked , remove the herbs and vegetables (except for the carrots) and ad some whipping cream. If the sauce is still too liquid ad an egg yolk being very careful not to boil the sauce at any point anymore .Mix gently not to mush the delicate meat.

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DSCN6673 [1280x768].JPGI am sorry if my plate doesn’t look restaurant pretty but we are so ready to eat this …we can hardly wait !!

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  I am taking my friend Hiro for a stroll in Vaison la Romaine but on the way I have to stop in Pascal’s home town of Tulette at the local chocolate shop to buy some chocolate/crunchy hazelnut spread …a much more delicious and totally addictive version of “Nutella” I specially love their old truck : “tube” made by Citroen in the 50’s

It would be really cool to have one for Maison En Provence !!!


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 Vaison la Romaine is a very pretty little town with Roman ruins , bridge and amphitheater . The best thing is to actually enjoy the theater during summer months when they have concerts, local choirs performing and watch the fireworks for Bastille Day ! The farmer’s market is also the best one in the region . As a tourist , you should wander in the old part of town…nice little restaurants, B&B and hike up to the “castle”

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Grignan is a hillside fortified village clustered tightly around a large Renaissance castle that dominate the top of the hill. Grignan was made famous in France by the Aristocratic Madame de Sévigné, remembered for the many letters she wrote in the 17th century. It is surrounded by lavender fields and host a very famous ” festival de la correspondance” ( a book and writing event with lectures, exhibitions, vintage books market…) they also have plays and concerts in front of the castle all summer. Worth the visit if you have already been many times to Provence and want to explore an other little artist town .

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Last part of the trip …coming very soon !

Back home in Provence ! ( part 1 )

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 ….

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First breakfast at my mum …. It does not get more simple than that : just good bread ,  good butter and mum’s made jam …Heaven !

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With my sweet little tiny mum !

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I will do a lot of cooking …so many delicious things I have been dreaming to eat all year !


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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 !!DSCN6805 [1280x768].JPG

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.

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It’s not “just” a butcher shop …but a “cremerie” with local cheeses …DSCN6684 [1280x768].JPG

A great deli with all our favorites : Head pate , rillettes , vol au vent…DSCN6685 (Large).JPG

Real “poulets de Bresse” …the best chicken ever ….DSCN6691 (Large).JPG

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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.DSCN6689 (Large).JPG

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 .

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Pierre is taking notes on how to prepare the pigeons !

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One stop at the patisserie to pick up some delicious “eclairs “IMG_4246 (Large).JPG

After a little cooking and simmering : Voila ! Tendrons de veau a la Provencale …the french version of an Osso Bucco without the bones .DSCN6554 (Large).JPG

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 )DSCN6555 (Large).JPG

 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.

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Today I am meeting with some of my potters in their “atelier” . I have to pack and ship their beautiful creations before to leave .DSC07942 [1280x768].JPG

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DSCN9251 [1280x768].JPGLunch 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 .

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The “charcuterie plate ” DSCN9276 [1280x768].JPG

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  .DSCN9272 [1280x768].JPG

Now buying some beautiful bags made of antique hemp from grain sacs and recycled military belts .DSCN9311 [1280x768].JPG

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 .DSCN6565 [1280x768].JPG

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 …

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DSCN6709 [1280x768].JPGThe 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” .

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DSCN6721 [1280x768].JPGPierrelongue 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 .

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IMG_3996 [1280x768].JPGPerfect 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 .

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My mum’s home made pate with truffles …this is no basic picnic !IMG_4006 [1280x768].JPG“les genets” flowers were also in full bloom…entire hills were yellow !

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The big hay wheels

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DSCN6765 [1280x768].JPGFinally 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 !

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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 .IMG_4034 [1280x768].JPG

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 . P6280319 [1280x768].jpg

Saint Roman de Malegarde and our old house with white shutters on the edge of the village …DSCN6792 [1280x768].JPG

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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 .IMG_4077 [1280x768].jpg

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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 .

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These are old “petanque” balls . At the time they were made out of wood studded with nails to get them heavier .DSCN6959 [1280x768].JPG

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Chez Nicod the master of “mises en scenes ” … an eclectic mix that somehow always works . DSCN6968 [1280x768].JPG

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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 .

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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 .DSCN6995 [1280x768].JPG

Plane trees worked as a trellis …amazing !DSCN6996 [1280x768].JPG

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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 .P6300394 [1280x768].jpg

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 !