November 19, 2012

Languedoc Discovery in France and a Zucchini Tart

Languedoc Discovery in France and a Zucchini Tart

The plan was to spend some time touring with Nutmeg’s parents in early October. The original thought was to explore parts of Hungary and Poland. Then the reality of fitting four people, one dog and luggage into a car settled the holiday plans. Nutmeg made a decision on behalf of the group that a two hour drive was the limit, and booked a guest villa at Domaine du Cayrat located just a few kilometres from Pezenas in the Languedoc Roussillon region. Jacques welcomed the group, he had stocked the fridge with some chilled wine and provisions for breakfast. It did not stop there, the next morning he arrived with fresh bread and apricot jam “fait à la maison”. Perfect! Now the hard part, getting four people to agree what to explore in an area that is currently 27,376 (sq) km – Impossible! The region has something for every taste, age and interest. There are sandy beaches, port towns, vineyards galore, medieval villages and modern cities. Given the breadth of the region, Nutmeg has divided their visit into three separate posts: a bit of history, the food and wine, and the not to be missed see sights. (more…)

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November 15, 2012

Extra Virgin Oil an Olive Legend

Extra Virgin Oil an Olive Legend

A trip to the grocery store can be confusing. How do you choose between farm-raised, wild, organic, omega-3, free-range, local, grass-fed, pesticide-free and all natural? And that is just for eggs. (more…)

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November 12, 2012

Dancing in the Streets of Salon de Provence

Dancing in the Streets of Salon de Provence

For readers who know Ginger and Nutmeg well, the following statement will not be surprising. When it comes to pairs dancing, Ginger insists that Nutmeg leads and Nutmeg insists that someone should! Although, they both love to dance when it comes to the classic dances like waltz, tango, salsa they are frankly way out of their element. (more…)

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November 8, 2012

Fun at the Museum with THATLou in Paris

Fun at the Museum with THATLou in Paris

Are museums boring? Treasure Hunts At The Louvre will change your mind. Meet Daisy de Plume a native New Yorker who has lived in Paris for 8 years. She is the Founder + Creative Director of THATLou. With a background in Art History and a past in print magazine editing and writing  THATLou somehow makes sense for Daisy de Plume. You can find her on her blog, on Twitter, pinterest  and her facebook page. Please read more about her fun company concept below. (more…)

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November 5, 2012

The School of Epicurus in Provence

The School of Epicurus in Provence

There have been volumes written on the teachings of Epicurus, which will not be repeated here.  He and his followers would meet in his garden, around 307 BC. The philosophy of Epicureanism evolved from those encounters. In the Epicurean view, the highest pleasure (tranquility and freedom from fear) was obtained by knowledge, friendship, and living a virtuous and temperate life. Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicureanism) Lead a simple life. (more…)

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October 31, 2012

Get Dressed for a Diner en Blanc

Get Dressed for a Diner en Blanc

Nutmeg believes that the celebration of Halloween is perfect timing for this post. Trust the French to come up with an annual event that is sophisticated, classy, a bit rebellious and a whole lot of fun. Diner en Blanc started in 1988, when a group of 100 friends got together for a reunion in the Bois de Boulogne. The story is that François Pasquier instructed everyone to wear white in order to recognize each other. This was a brilliant idea, given those were the days before fancy cell phones, text messaging, Facebook and Twitter. (more…)

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October 29, 2012

Flute Music in Eygalieres Provence

Flute Music in Eygalieres Provence

The local newspaper and the affiche (poster) at the bakery confirmed that there would be a concert at the church on Sunday. Dimanche Juillet 22 à 18h30 à L’Eglise : Pour la 6ème année Concert gratuit de musique classique « De L’Espagne à L’Argentine »  Flûte et avec Julie Scolnik et Olivier Pelmoine à la guitare Organisé par Le Foyer Rural et le Comité Paroissial (more…)

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October 25, 2012

Cooking Class at La Petite Maison Cucuron in Provence

Cooking Class at La Petite Maison Cucuron in Provence

It is Saturday morning in the Luberon village of Cucuron, Eric Sapet the chef and owner of la Petite Maison is enjoying a few minutes of social time over a pause-café with friends. He has a busy day ahead there is a 25-person cooking class focused on girolles (chanterelle mushrooms). And the restaurant is fully booked for both lunch and dinner. G&N love these theme based cooking classes at la Petite Maison. Clearly, based on the number of attendees for the courses they are not alone. After five years of programming Eric Sapet has developed a loyal following. Arriving in Cucuron, a small medieval town dating from the 11th century was a combination of hard work and chance for M. Sapet. He was classically trained in his field in Paris at l’Ecole Hôtelière. Once the scholastic course load was finished, the long kitchen hours began in earnest. He spent 11 years working his way through the ranks in some of the Grands Restaurants Parisiens including the Michelin 3-star la Tour d’Argent. The path of his cooking career wandered from famous Parisian kitchens to a Relais et Châteaux in the Ardèche before he was attracted to the popular village of Lourmarin in the Luberon, in 2005. Tarte fine aux girolles, oeufs de caille pochés, échalotes confites La Petite Maison was once just that – a private residence. The charming building dates from the 19th century. The restaurant is situated, in the heart of this working village, right next to an enormous rectangular etang (pond) shaded by plane trees. In 2007, the house was converted into a restaurant. An old structure in a medieval village translates into a tiny kitchen and equally small prep area. Wood paneled walls and period photos surround the dining tables adorned with crisp, white table linens and china place settings, a classic backdrop for Eric Sapet’s inventive cuisine. The morning’s cooking class is followed by the opportunity to sample the creative menu over a long, lazy lunch – accompanied by excellent wine pairings. Nutmeg was able to borrow a few minutes of M. Sapet’s precious time to ask some questions. Provence is a rich canvas for local products – do you have a preferred season for ingredients and produce? No, every season is intriguing with powerful, rich flavours. In your opinion what is the most versatile ingredient? The black truffle. What is the most critical piece of equipment in your kitchen? The high quality oven. If you had the chance what would you change at La Petite Maison? It would be fantastic to have more prep area and a larger kitchen. The existing space is remarkably tight for a total staff of 10 people; in the kitchen and waiting on tables. Aside from your own restaurant do you have any regional favourites that you would recommend? Yes, two particularly enjoyable places to eat are La Bamboo Thai in Lourmarin and la Bastide de Moustier in Moustier. G&N left Cucuron after an exquisite lunch, with a few new recipes and cooking tips. The only thing missing was a hammock for an afternoon siesta.  Are you going to book a cooking class or a table at La Petite Maison? ______ References: 1. La Petite Maison ______ Image Credits:  1. Ginger and Nutmeg 2. Ginger and Nutmeg 3 & 4 Courtesy La Petite Maison Follow @twitter

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October 22, 2012

Is this Tuscany or Provence

Is this Tuscany or Provence

It is possible, that it was the thirst and hunger created by biking over the lunch hour, or maybe it was their recent trip to Italy.  Regardless, both Nutmeg and Ginger both thought they had been transported from Provence to Tuscany.  The hilly rolling terrain, endless vineyards, Cyprus trees, olive groves and small villages are all extremely reminiscent of Tuscany.  It is no accident that the Luberon area within Provence resembles Tuscany.  Roman presence in present day Provence began in 2 B.C.. The Roman rulers heavily influenced architecture and immense construction projects (aqueducts, theaters, arenas) within the region. There is documentation of organized religious activity as early as the 3rd century, in Roman occupied Provencal towns.  During the 14th century, (1309 – 77) seven French Popes led the Catholic church from Avignon. Perched villages and castles in Provence created for defensive purposes are similar to those found in Tuscany. Tuscany or Provence? Provence. (more…)

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October 18, 2012

in.gredients for success

in.gredients for success

Nutmeg has only met Christian and Joseph Lane the co-founders of in.gredients via Internet channels. She did not have to meet these two in person to be convinced that they had not only an intriguing concept, but also a solid business plan. in.gredients is an exciting new food retail concept in Austin, Texas. As “the first zero-waste, package-free grocery store in the US,” in.gredients seeks to eliminate waste from unnecessary food packaging by encouraging customers bring their own containers to their store for filling. (more…)

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