Sarlat a Window on Medieval Dordogne

Boutiques filled with shiny objects, and a congested ring road of honking diesel trucks and cars. These are the modern-day realities in a large Dordogne town of 9,300 residents. The town bustles with over 1.5 million visitors a year yet the ancient core of historical Sarlat provides some instant reprieve, begging you to step back in time.

Sarlat view #Dordogne #France @GingerandNutmeg

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Key West Florida To Do List

Key West is mile zero on Florida’s Highway 1 (U.S. Route 1).

In 1928, it was also point zero for Ernest Hemingway and his pregnant (7-months) wife Pauline. Their Model-A Ford was not ready when they disembarked in Key West from Cuba, a 90-mile ferry crossing. They were going nowhere fast. The car dealer found accommodation for the couple in an attempt to make amends (try that today…).90 miles to Cuba #KeyWest #Florida @GingerandNutmeg

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Pitcher and Powell International Culinary Tours

Recently launched, Pitcher and Powell is a travel concept that combines the creative talents and cooking passions of two accomplished ladies. Even their last names work well together!

Barbara Pitcher is a Canadian by birth, with an international spirit, she is a painter who lives in Provence with her family. Like many artists who have lived in the region (think: Cezanne, Picasso and Van Gogh) the Provencal light decidedly inspires her artwork. This is what Barbara shared regarding her approach to the canvas,

“There is the cliché of “the light is beautiful in Provence” well it truly is!  The colours of the landscapes beg to be painted.  I have been painting since the early 90’s.  In Provence, when I arrived eight years ago I changed my style altogether, I have embraced abstract that I love because I never know where it will take me.”

Please read the rest of Barbara’s story here.

Barbara Pitcher Painting

Tasha Powell lives in sunny California where she often dreams of Provence. This is one gifted lady who has completed a career-180, moving from marketing sporting goods to the culinary arts. Tasha is a Cordon Bleu trained chef and food stylist.  If you have every wondered why food photos in cookbooks look so perfect, people with abilities similar to Tasha’s are the answer. She seized the opportunity to test her culinary skills in Provence a few years ago and now readily admits she is a Francophile.

“I have had a love of the French language, culture and people ever since I was a little girl.”

You can read Tasha’s full story here.

Tasha Powell @tashatrix

Pitcher and Powell unites a passion for beauty and preference for culinary pursuits into food-focused holidays. “International Travel and Culinary Adventure; an opportunity for women who want to meet other foodie’s and discover new regions, customs and seasonal foods.”

Two Trees Wall #ParrySound Richard Culverwell Photography

In 2016, Pitcher and Powell is running two culinary holidays that embrace the best of the harvest seasons in Ontario (Parry Sound) and Provence.

  • Parry Sound dates are September 24-30, 2016 – Maximum participants 12
  • Provence dates are October 16-22, 2016 – Maximum participants 11

Barbara and Tasha agreed to a Q&A to tell us more about the company and their vision for these holidays.

Can you share with readers why you have decided to launch Pitcher and Powell?

Tasha: We both love cooking, travelling and meeting people.  We differ in our styles, but we are a great team to introduce international and culinary adventures to other like-minded women. We have noticed that many of our urban friends love to escape from their busy lives to embrace the simple pleasures of life, especially cooking! Our goal is to bring culinary and cultural adventures to women from all over and at the same time share some of our favorite destinations.

Can you tell readers why Parry Sound is a perfect place for a culinary escape?

Barbara: Slow food, slow travel, slow movement, it is a way of life that I am striving to follow. Parry Sound is where I go to stop and smell the roses. As the big city melts away and I enjoy walking, reading, swimming and cooking for my family and friends in this natural setting. We hope to introduce others to this Canadian paradise.

Red Rock #ParrySound Richard Culverwell Photography

Can you tell readers about the “flying lunch” that is on your itinerary?

Barbara: This is one of our favourite adventures. Participants will board a seaplane from Parry Sound Harbour for a 25-minute flight to the Ridge at Manitou. They will enjoy a delicious lunch and the beauty of the timber frame clubhouse where floor-to-ceiling windows provide a glorious view of Manitouwabing Lake.

Quiet Morning Killarney #ParrySound Richard Culverwell Photography

Why is Provence a perfect place for a culinary escape?

Tasha: Because of French culture and its respect for food, ingredients and the overall dining experience. This beautiful region is known for fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese and wine.  With an emphasis on sun-ripened vegetables, seafood, fresh herbs and olive oil in many dishes, traditional Provencal cuisine combines bold flavors and simple ingredients for such classic dishes as Bouillabaisse (fish stew), Ratatouille (stewed vegetables including eggplant, zucchini, onions) and Daube (traditional beef stew). Typical vegetables in Provencal dishes include peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, potatoes, zucchini, beans and squashes.  Other ingredients include citrus, peaches, cherries, melons, apricots, quinces, figs, pine nuts, almonds and hazelnuts.

Why (in your opinions) is the fall the best time to visit both Provence and Parry Sound?

Barbara: In my opinion, fall is one of the best times to visit Provence. The tourist crowds have died down, and the real character of Provence is accessible. The temperature is still warm, but no longer hot, and we can reap the benefits of the late summer and fall harvest of local foods and wines. The markets are bursting with flavours and colours.

Hierloom Tomatoes #Tomatoes #Markets #Provence

Tasha: Provence in the fall is magical, and to see the grapevines and trees change to autumn colours is spectacular. Also, the temperate climate in Provence is perfect for so many outdoor activities such as biking, hiking and general touring.

Barbara: Fall is also my favourite time in Parry Sound. Indian summer brings warmth for late-season swimming during the day and beautiful sunsets in the evening. The forest turns into breathtaking hues, the landscape turns quiet, and the flora and fauna are a phenomenon to enjoy.

Georgian Bay Dinghy #ParrySound Richard Culverwell Photography

Ready to sign-up?  Here, is the Pitcher and Powell website.

Image Credits: Parry Sound: Photos provided by and published with the permission of Richard Culverwell Photography

 

New Orleans Jazz Fest A-Z for Foodies

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is held annually over two weekends (seven days) at the end of April and beginning of May. This event rivals Mardi Gras for its commercial impact on the city, an estimated $300million (2012).

Read more about the Five (5) essentials for New Orleans Jazz Fest hereNOLA trollies #Nola #NewOrleans

 

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Wine Scholar Guild Provence Wine Study Program – Giveaway

Wine lover?

This contest is for you (details below).

 

The Wine Scholar Guild (WSG), formerly the French Wine Society, is in the process of evolving the 10-year old organization and pursuing a lofty goal. The WSG wants to be the recognized global leader in wine study programs for France, Italy and Spain.

Provence Master level Program WSG @WineScholarGuil

Guild members range from certified wine experts to enthusiastic drinkers. What the group has in common, aside from the obvious appreciate for wine, is a desire to expand their industry knowledge and specific regional comprehension. Whether the goal is to develop wine lists for the restaurant trade or understand which bottle to order with your dinner, WSG certification will help.

Cassis Provence Wine Study Tour WSG @WineScholarGuil

For those who are pursuing Master’s level certification, there is nothing like blending a little hands-on experience with their education WSG also offers several Immersion Study Programs to complement the theory. The tours last approximately five days, a deep dive into the local vineyards and specific regional growing aspects. The WSG guides are wine experts, Masters of Wine and/or sommeliers.

Bandol Provence Wine Study Tour 2016 WSG @WineScholarGuil

In April 2016, the Wine Scholar Guild is launching two in-depth study programs; Provence Master-Level program, and the Rhône Master-Level program.  The Provence program includes preparatory reading and testing, webinars with Perfectly Provence contributor Elizabeth Gabay MW, the study manual and more – full details are here.

 

Elizabeth Gabay MW

In addition, you can join fellow students on a Provence Wine Immersion trip in June 2016. Whether you have aspirations to make a career out of the wine trade or simply want to understand more this trip sounds divine. Full details are here.

Enjoying our gourmet picnic lunch on the terrace of Chateau Dalmeran @WineScholarGuil

Julien Camus, President of the Wine Scholar Guild shared the following on the organizations’ Provence focus:

Provence is France’s oldest winemaking region. It is the only region in France and the only region in the world to focus primarily on the production of rosé wine. Provence has established the benchmark for producing fruity, dry rosé. But there is much more than simple, refreshing rosé in Provence.

Many producers have taken the craft of winemaking to produce gastronomic rosés with structure and depth. The climate and terroirs of Provence also allow for very interesting and complex white and red wines.

Provence also has a plethora of rare, ancient wine grape varieties.

This is why we created this Provence Master-Level program and Study Trip. We wanted to allow students of wine to discover and learn about the multiple facets of Provence. This is wine study at its most colourful.”

Now, for the good stuff!

WSG is kindly offering one free registration to the Provence Master-Level program to a lucky reader. A monetary value of $275, a priceless educational prize.

Provence Master level Program WSG @WineScholarGuil

How do you enter?

  1. Head on over to our Facebook page and tell us why you would like to win this awesome giveaway.
  2. Share the post with your friends
  3. And please don’t forget to like our page.

 

A winner will be randomly selected on May 1st.

Cheers to that!

Provence Master level Program WSG @WineScholarGuil

Image credits: Photos were provided by and published with the permission of Wine Scholar Guild

 

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.

Main Street in Glanum

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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.

Linda Garson Calgary @vineanddine

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.

Linda Garson Calgary @vineanddine

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).

Vine and Dine Calgary @vineanddine

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.

Culinaire Jan16 @CulinaireMag

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.

 

5 Essentials for New Orleans Jazz Fest

Bourbon Street @JazzJest #JazzFest #NOLA #NewOrleansThe 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.

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