March 28, 2016

Uncovering Glanum from a Pile of Rocks in Provence

Nutmeg is reasonably certain she is not the first person to walk through the Glanum archaeological site, near St Remy de Provence, and consider that mankind is relatively insignificant in the passage of time. Ashes to ashes Dust to dust Rocks to rocks A previous G&N blog post “Glanum Glorious Views” covers much of the history of this site. The following post is a short overview only as an excuse to show off a few new photos. The main street in Glanum is below. (more…)

 

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March 21, 2016

Rhone Valley Grape Vine Tours with Linda Garson

Linda Garson spent her youth in Manchester, in the United Kingdom, a place best known for soccer matches and beer-filled celebrations, not necessarily for wine expertise. A visual communications graduate, Linda relocated to Canada (Calgary) in 2003 on a contract with Trade UK – the British Government’s export division. The contract was for 13-months, and Linda is still in Calgary. A wine lover, like so many of us, Linda has turned her passion into a full-time pursuit. She has converted her hands-on knowledge of the wine industry from work stints at wineries in Europe, South America and Australia into education and travel. Linda Garson is the Calgary Wine Examiner (since June 2011), a regular columnist for Examiner.com where she writes about areas of wine interest for Calgarians and other Canadians. A couple of years (2005) into her stay in Alberta, Linda launched Vine and Dine a wine and food club. The first event in December 2005 was a sell-out, and the success continues with 12-15 wine related events a month (that is a lot of wine with 150 events per year). A typical Vine and Dine evening involves a sampling of about six food and wine pairings and a chance to socialize with fellow wine lovers. For Calgarians who are interested in deepening their wine knowledge, Vine and Dine also offers two popular courses Wine Basics and Wine II (Intermediate-level). One might think that workload would be enough to keep Linda busy, but apparently not. Occasionally, you can catch Linda Garson on City TV’s Breakfast TV (BT) and Global Television where she discusses food and wine. Culinaire – Calgary’s food and beverage magazine launched in May 2012. Possibly a risky venture, in an industry that is struggling, but it seems that Culinaire and its Editor-in-Chief (Linda Garson) are defying the odds. Calgarians are thirsty for this glossy magazine that is published ten times a year and features need-to-know information on restaurants, recipes, chef’s stories, spirits, beer, wine and more. Entering into Culinaire’s fourth year of publication I asked Linda if she would share her views on what has changed in Calgary’s food and beverage scene during that period There’s been an explosion of interest in both food and beverages in the last few years – I counted at least 45 new restaurants opened last year! One example of change is that there was no cocktail culture in Calgary when we started. I wanted to be the magazine at the forefront of cocktail culture, and we have included articles on cocktails since day one – and now Calgary finally has a cocktail culture of its own, with places focusing on creative and quality cocktails! The foil wrapper on this wine bottle might just be the Vine and Dine guided trips to wine regions around the world and led by Linda. I started with a few tours to Chile and Argentina, then the last four years I have taken people to Northern Italy (Piemonte, Lombardy, and Veneto) twice and Tuscany twice – and now it is France’s turn! The Rhône Valley Wine and Culinary Tour runs from September 22nd to October 4th, in Provence. The group (of 15) will be based out of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, just minutes from the UNESCO ranked city of Avignon and its magnificent papal palace. We asked Linda why she chose this as a place to base the tour? It is an ideal starting point for the tour; we fly into Marseille arriving at noon and then drive for an hour or so east, so will be at our hotel early afternoon. From there we can go for day trips to many places in the southern/central Rhône, and Provence too, without spending hours in the bus. Plus, it is a fascinating and beautiful place with lots of history and cultural activities. The trip offers “touchdowns” and tastings at magnificent vineyards in Châteauneuf du Pape, the Southern, and Northern Rhône. Can you tell readers why and how you selected these wineries to showcase? On my trips, we visit wineries and vineyards where I have a personal connection with the owner or winemaker, so we are treated as friends! We go to places that tourists cannot always visit, and get special treatment such as being hosted for vertical tastings and back vintages, which most people would not get to experience. For red wines, we will be expecting more Grenache-based wines from the Southern Rhône and Syrah-based wines from the north. Condrieu is the home of Viognier so it will be very different to any other village (and also the home of my favourite wine). The bad news?  The trip is sold-out!  However, Linda is considering repeating the Rhône Valley Wine and Culinary Tour in 2017. If you are interested in more information, send her an email at  linda@vineanddine.ca. Image Credits: Photos were provided by and published with the permission of Linda Garson.  

 

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March 14, 2016

5 Essentials for New Orleans Jazz Fest

The friendly guy behind the counter at Community Coffee in the French Quarter asked “Are y’all you going to the Fest this mornin?” G&N were visiting New Orleans or NOLA, as some like to call it, for the second time. They had forgotten about the je ne c’est quoi smell that defines Bourbon Street or Calle De Borbon. It is difficult to determine which is worse; the humid evening whiffs, a combination of stale booze and its fresh side effects, or those same odors reawakened in the morning during street cleaning. (more…)

 

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March 7, 2016

Bad Hair Day

    Gentlemen do not press DELETE – this post is for you! The men’s grooming products market is forecast to exceed $33.2 Billion (USD) by 2015.  That figure includes shaving products and colognes; however, a few of you must use hair products too.   (more…)

 

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February 29, 2016

Foodie Tour of Paris

There are many reasons to complain about the SNCF (French national railways) including their frequent schedule delays. However, when the system works you board the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) in Avignon and arrive 2.5 hours later on the platform at Paris Gare de Lyon – génial (brilliant)! Ginger and Nutmeg were in Paris for a quick visit, a weekend of “hanging-out”. As often happens, Ginger was simply happy to be there, and Nutmeg had a plan. They were going to stroll (flâner) the city and do a foodie tour along the way. (more…)

 

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February 22, 2016

Sweet Memories in an Apricot Tart

Apricots will always remind Nutmeg of her grandmother, Charlotte. Nutmeg never asked if her grandmother liked to cook, it was just assumed that she did as her Hungarian lineage prevailed in hearty meals and traditional sweets. It was not unusual for Charlotte to spend an entire day preparing for a meal. The group would gather around her formal table, set with family china, polished silverware and sparkling crystal to enjoy Charlotte’s paprika chicken, beef goulash, stuffed peppers, gnocchi and other classics. (more…)

 

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February 15, 2016

Angelus the Bells of Angels in Provence

Ginger and Nutmeg live close to the village church. When they first return to France it takes several days to get adjusted. Between the 8-hour time change and the village bells, there is no need to wear a watch.  The clock tower bells chime every hour, day and night. The number of rings at the top of the hour, indicate the time of day and a single chime designates the 30-minute mark. (more…)

 

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February 8, 2016

Cucuron Market Day Highlights in Provence

Market day in Cucuron is Tuesday. Located in the epic-centre of the Luberon Regional National Park Cucuron displays all the charms of a classic Provençal village. The hamlet, like its closest neighbours Lourmarin, Ansouis and Vaugines is bejewelled with ramparts, bell towers and shady plane trees. (more…)

 

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February 1, 2016

A Recipe to Eat Your Spinach

Ginger and Nutmeg have a lovely friend they met while hiking in France. She is a fascinating lady with a medical background. A nurse by training, she has a gift with languages and a sense of adventure that has led her to some interesting spots in the world. Just as G&N arrived back in Provence their friend broke the news that her family was off on another adventure. This one would take her back to the UK for a while. Before this delightful lady was allowed to leave Provence, a group of girlfriends (and one good sport – Ginger) had decided that a proper send-off luncheon was in order. (more…)

 

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January 25, 2016

5 Reasons to learn French an Objective List

Ginger and Nutmeg have an on-going debate. Actually, it is not a debate because there is little discussion. Nutmeg admits she is a Francophile, give her the choice between BBQ Alberta beef and steak au poivre the French sauce wins. She listens to Radio Canada when she is driving, her reasons include the fact that the news programming is often better than other stations and listening to French (despite sometime horrific accents) is good training. Ginger is quick to order BBQ Alberta beef and switch the radio to CBC. Nutmeg thought she would enlist the help of a friend at Frantastique (online language training), to help settle their non-debate. The following are 5 Reasons to learn French: an unbiased and objective list: (more…)

 

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