Food

Easter Monday Brings Omelets and Rosé Chez Nous

Twenty years ago, in April 2000, we were tooling along the Canal du Midi with five friends. We rented a barge – a péniche -- and slowly cruised from Toulouse to Argens-Minervois, each of us taking turns behind the wheel and in the galley kitchen. Easter coincided with this trip and we produced a fabulous lamb dinner with all the trimmings to celebrate that occasion.  The next day, we made omelets.

We learned from someone during our market explorations that the Monday after Easter was also a holiday and that post offices, banks, stores, and most other businesses would be closed. Called Lundi de Pâques or, in English, simply Easter Monday, it is primarily a day to relax.  We were unable to establish any religious significance, but we did learn that the French in the south of France make omelets on Easter Monday.   Et Dieu sait while in France, we wanted to do what the French...

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Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

Quelle Surprise!

This post is going to be full of surprises! The first surprise is that the wine is not from Provence. It’s not from France. In fact, it’s not even from Europe. It is a wine made in the Santa Ynez Valley in California by Tara Gomez, the winemaker at Kitá winery. Tara is a member of the Santa Ynez...
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STOMP SOME GRAPES IN PROVENCE

If you are in Provence and looking for something different to do—in between touring Roman ruins and visiting hilltop villages—I’ve got the answer:  Kick off your shoes, climb into a huge oak barrel filled with grapes, and start stomping.  That’s what Provence WineZine photographer Pamela O’Neill and I did earlier this month when we visited Les Pastras, an organic farm, located in the southern part of the Luberon, most known for their truffles.  We had a ball, not to mention felt a little like Lucille Ball in her iconic I Love Lucy episode about her adventure stomping...
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GARLIC IS IN THE AIR…IT MUST BE AÏOLI TIME!

When the weather gets hot, our mortar and pestle becomes a fixture on the kitchen table. The familiar rhythmic sound of pestle-striking-mortar fills the air and the pungent aroma of garlic wafts through the house. Aïoli. It's aïoli time. The word, aïoli, comes from the French word for garlic--ail--and the Occitan word for oil—òli—the two primary ingredients in this deliciously simple Provençal dish. So ubiquitous is this sauce on tables in Provence that it is also known as...
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MAPPING THE MARKETS OF PETER MAYLE’S PROVENCE

Twenty years ago, my husband, daughter, and I rolled into Marseille on the high-speed train from Paris.  If I recall correctly, the Aix-en-Provence TGV station had not yet been built. We rented a car and drove to Aix-en-Provence, where we would spend several nights before moving to Lourmarin, the small village at the base of the Luberon Mountains.  Peter Mayle country...
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MY OAK TREE GROWS IN THE LUBERON

Thanks to a very generous friend, my family and I own an oak tree in Provence. Nestled in the thickly wooded hills of the Luberon between Lourmarin and Cadenet, is a large organic farm called Les Pastras (which means “the pastures,” in Langue d’Oc, the old Provençal language). There, grows our little tree.

Les Pastras is now under the diligent care of Lisa and Johann Pepin, having...
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MEET MARCO, LE PROPRIÉTAIRE DE CAFÉ GABY

If you have been to Lourmarin, you know Café Gaby. Located in the center of the village on Place de l'Ormeau, where main street Rue Henri de Savornin meets Rue du Temple, Café Gaby is the hub of this charming Luberon village.

Men meet at the bar when the sun first rises
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NEWS FROM AUBERGE LA FENIÈRE: REINE SAMMUT PASSES THE REINS TO DAUGHTER NADIA

After 40 years at the helm of one of Provence’s most renowned restaurants, La Fenière, Chef Reine Sammut and sommelier husband Guy are handing over the reins of the cuisine to Nadia Sammut in October. Nadia, who is the third generation of Sammuts at La Fenière, credits her grandmother and her parents for her culinary knowledge and passion for food but brings her own personal experience and education to the table, too: growing up with celiac disease and learning to cook creatively sans gluten...
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SUMMER IN PROVENCE…AND A SURFEIT OF TRUFFLES?

In all the summers we’ve spent in Provence, I have never seen any mention of summer truffles. Maybe I was drinking too much rosé to notice something I thought only surfaced in the winter—silly me—but, this summer, Tubera aestiva were on my radar…and on my...
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PROVENCE’S LES TREIZE DESSERTS: NOT JUST ANOTHER ARTICLE ABOUT THOSE 13 DESSERTS

Regular readers of The Modern Trobadors know that thirteen desserts—Les Treize Desserts de Noël—are traditionally served on Christmas Eve in Provence, after the big supper—Le Gros Souper—which, actually, is more lean than “big” with its emphasis on herb-laced broths, seafood, and vegetables rather than meat. Ah, dear TMT reader, you can probably recite to your clueless friends what the thirteen desserts consist of and why there are...
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