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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01:47 Posted by Marielle Giai in Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


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 !

23:09 Posted by Marielle Giai in Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Bonne Fete Papa !

It's Father's Day !

We have such fun cards made in house by our own talented Alice !

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20:21 Posted by Marielle Giai | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |