Cucuron Market Day Highlights in Provence

Market day in Cucuron is Tuesday.

Cucuron Market

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.

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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.

Comic @Gymglish

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:

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Knife Skills fit for Guerrillas in Edmonton

Chef Michelle DeLand acquired her knife skills, how to make a roux, and what it takes to make soufflé from some of the gurus in the food industry. American-born DeLand trained with Madeline Kamman (the NY Times called her “Flinty, Revered Teacher of Chefs“) in San Francisco. She also had the opportunity to work under Chef and TV personality Jacques Pepin for a short period.

Guerrilla Dinners #Edmonton @MichelledeLand @ExtraordinaryFood

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Travel through the ABCs of Street Art Around the World

Nutmeg has long held a fascination for street art and its covert, daring, brash, temporary, loud, in-your-face style of self-expression. So far removed from stuffy galleries and permanent, curated collections. Nutmeg compiled an ABC list of street art terms in order understand this open-air pursuit, and top places for viewing around the world.

Marseille-street-art

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A to Z of Biking the Romantic Road in Germany

Finally, after a year of talking about biking the Romantic Road through Bavaria the group was at the start of the route in Würzburg. Ginger and Nutmeg’s friends had flown from Calgary via Italy, so they were on the correct time clock, but their bikes needed reassembling. As far as Nutmeg was concerned that was just fine considering the temperature might have been 11 Celsius that morning. You can read more detail about their trip here.

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Destination Bowen Island for Italian Cashmere

You read that right!

Artisanal cashmere – crafted in a country built on the fur trapping, canoe portaging, down-filled coats, Hudson Bay blankets, and Kodiak boots! Artigiani Milanesi established its bespoke Italian cashmere tailoring on Bowen Island in 2014.

Rosa, Davide and Rebecca Artigiani Milanesi

The story of how luxury Italian-inspired weaving ends up on Canada’s wet coast began with a girl in a convent in Cremona, Italy. Rosa Palmira Feroldi (Rosetta) was only two-years-old when she and her five sisters, orphans of WWII, were taken in by the nuns at the Cremona convent. The nuns would knit clothing for the children, and Rosetta insisted they teach her how to use the knitting machines – a skill she honed for the next chapter of her life. At 21 years old, she left the convent and headed for the industrial city of Milan in 1958.

Rosa Artigiani MilanesiMilan was booming in the 1960s, rapidly becoming recognized as a fashion capital. Rosetta quickly put her knitting skills into practice and establishing her business (1959) catering to local Milanese clients and international brands (Prisco, Kiton, Doriani and others). Davide Bizzarri, Rosa’s son, apprenticed with his mother gaining an understanding of their business, the competitive local marketplace and international demands – he officially took over Artigiani Milanesi in 1995.  Davide shares his mother’s enthusiasm, ruthless attention to detail and quality, and her design flair.

Artigiani Milanesi yogi coatMilan is still booming today, frenetic, is the word Rebecca (Davide’s wife) used to describe the city. A change of pace, a sense of adventure and the potential of new markets prompted a move to Bowen Island. Artigiani Milanesi was packed into two 40-foot-long shipping containers destined for its new Howe Sound head office, a 1,600sqft boutique and workshop. Their concept is to offer tailored cashmere knitwear made by Italians in Canada. According to Rebecca tells me that they were seeking a slower pace of life on Bowen Island, but says, “Ironically we are busier now than when we were in Europe!” – proof that the appreciation for artisanal cashmere is strong in North America.

Davide Artigiani MilanesiAlmost, two years into living on Bowen Island the team at Artigiani Milanesi has established roots and gather inspiration for cashmere colour palettes from their natural surroundings. Rosa is still very much involved in the operations, training their group of local weavers, hand-tailoring some of the most complex designs and she does all the hand finishing. Davide and Rebecca are focused on expanding their market reach and North American awareness of their brand, which uses only the purest natural Italian cashmere yarns and artisanal methodology.

Artigiani MilanesiArtigiani Milanesi invites clients to invest in a part of Italian history and style, choosing authenticity and discerning luxury. You can order from the website or for those readers in the Vancouver area, head on over to Bowen Island for a day trip.

Davide and Rebecca Artigiani MilanesiRebecca shared a few of her favourite things to help you discover this destination:

DISCOVER

Cates Bay Beach a great bay for kayaking and stand up paddleboarding

Mount Gardner a day hike with extraordinary views over Howe Sound

The coastal walk along Cape Roger Curtis

TASTE

Pain au Chocolat at Artisan Eats, buttery and divine, made by a French patisserie chef

Organic homemade hot chocolate at The Chocolate Shop

The French onion soup at Rustique Bistro

RELAX

Take a class at Bowen Island Yoga a studio that Rebecca established with two partners in 2014

Shop for Cashmere!

Hike the Killarney Lake trail and hang out on the beach in the evening with friends for a potluck picnic dinner and fire pit

Image Credits: all photos provide by and published with the permission of Artigiani Milanesi

Massacre in Merindol Provence’s Dark History

Blinded by the hues of lavender shutters.

Gently numbed by a glass or two of chilled local rosé.

It would be easy to overlook the hamlet of Mérindol during a visit to Provence.

The Luberon region is brimming with villages laying claim to le plus beau village de France (most beautiful village in France) and many of those proudly display Villages Fleuris (flowering villages) emblems on street signs.

Mérindol is not one.

Merindol Ruins

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