November 27, 2017

Calisson d’Aix a Sweet Almond Candy for a Queen of Provence

Calisson d’Aix a Sweet Almond Candy for a Queen of Provence

Calisson is a specialty candy from Aix en Provence made with almonds. There are several versions of the story surrounding how, and when this sweet treat was first made. The French are certain the invention was theirs. It may have been as early as 1473 in honour of the King, Roi René’s second wedding, or later on as production, trade and development expanded. The first story involves a bride who was to be queen. She appeared dour, possibly unhappy with her lot in life. The tale whether true, or not, is that she smiled when she tasted candies. (more…)

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May 16, 2016

Provence’s Olives Start to Finish

Provence’s Olives Start to Finish

Ginger has long loved olives, for their salty taste.  Nutmeg’s appreciation for olives has been acquired in recent years and certainly more so after spending time in Provence.  The olive tree is probably as old as the earth and may have even been one of the plants in the “Garden of Eden”. The Olive Story will give you more details on olives, if you are interested. Nutmeg is fascinated by the olive, for it’s history, the tiny spring buds, the wide-spread use in Mediterranean cooking and of course because they taste fabulous. The following post is a photo expose and a new favourite recipe in honour of the olive. (more…)

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May 9, 2016

Aioli On Fridays in Provence

Aioli On Fridays in Provence

Aioli is the name of a garlic mayonnaise.  Aioli is also a traditional Provencal dish that was typically served on Fridays.  The classic dish le grand “Aïoli” Provençal is served with salted cod and potatoes. A meal suitable for the days of penance. Practised cooks would methodically re-hydrate the cod and transform it back into an edible protein. The preparation of the traditional ingredients requires time to soak and desalinate the cod. This process involves removing the excess salt, cutting the cod in pieces, and soaking in fresh water for up to 15 hours (changing the water 2-3 times). Once the salt is removed the fish is poached gently in a pot with milk and water. The cod should not boil as it becomes rubbery. Interested yet? You should be! (more…)

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November 16, 2015

Marseille Bouillabaisse a Provencal Classic

Marseille Bouillabaisse a Provencal Classic

What is your favourite fish soup? Residents of Marseille are adamant that French fishermen eked basic sustenance from their unsightly leftover fish bits concocted this fish broth/soup/stew on the shores of the now sprawling metropolis. The name for this dish is derived from two actions bouillir (to boil) and abaisser (to reduce or simmer). However, in the intense world of “Iron-chef” gastronomy the origins of bouillabaisse are up for debate. (more…)

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July 13, 2015

La Grande Paella Spanish Influence in Provence

La Grande Paella Spanish Influence in Provence

Bastille Day (La Fête Nationale) commemorates the 1789 storming of the Bastille in Paris. Two years running, our village attempted to host fireworks on the 14th only to be stymied by the wind. Leave it to the Parisians to have their traditional parade on the Champs-Élysées. Eygalières was going to party the night before. 18h: Sounds of the band testing their equipment – CHECK! (more…)

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January 6, 2014

The Art of Provencal Tables

The Art of Provencal Tables

The joys of easy entertaining: Simple food Great flavours Easy laughter And not too many dishes Doesn’t that sound perfect? If you want to enjoy your guests and not waste a whole day cooking, keep reading. (more…)

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January 28, 2013

Blessed Almonds Sign of Spring in Provence

Blessed Almonds Sign of Spring in Provence

Early in the year in southern France, the almond tree is the first to bloom. The small white or pale pink flowers typically appear on the trees in February. A welcome sign that spring may be close at hand in Provence. The almond tree is small; at full maturity it may reach a height of 10 meters, with a trunk diameter of 30 centimeters.  The trees typically start bearing fruit after about 5 years.  The almond is technically a fruit, not a nut, from the same family as the plum or cherry (Prunus).  This decidedly old tree has been a part of different cultures and human nutrition for eons. There are several mentions of almonds in the bible. It is believed that growth in almond tree cultivation closely followed human migration near Mediterranean shores.  Despite the fact that the almond tree is native to warm European climates, the large majority of global yield is now US based, in California, at 45% of world production. (more…)

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August 9, 2012

Crespeou Provencal Picnic Fare

Crespeou Provencal Picnic Fare

Ginger and Nutmeg have had lots of visitors in Provence this year. Nutmeg likes to think that her blog posts planted the “seed” that enticed them all to book their plane tickets. In reality, her friends are well travelled and do not need her help to convince them that Provence is exceptional in the summer. G&N love all the foreign visitors, it is a marvellous chance to show off the region, discover some new towns and introduce new friends to old ones. One such occasion happened last week at a cooking class with Nutmeg’s talented friends Ghyslaine and Jacques. You can read last year’s post here. (more…)

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May 30, 2012

Aix en Provence Travel App Edible Heritage

Aix en Provence Travel App Edible Heritage

Nutmeg owes an enormous thank you to friends and family for their patience in the last several months, as they endured her chronicles of how to develop a travel application. Enfin! – Finally! Edible Heritage Aix en Provence the App, a new pocket travel companion, is for sale and ready to be downloaded to your mobile phone. (more…)

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February 20, 2012

St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume and Gourmet Food in Provence

St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume and Gourmet Food in Provence

The village of St-Maximin-la-Ste-Baume is located in a valley a short 30-minute drive south of Aix en Provence. Vineyards surround the town and just to the south is the Massif de la Ste-Baume. The town was named after St Maximinus, who reportedly converted the residents to Christianity and where a 6th century parish church was built and named in his honour.  The church was later demolished when the basilica was constructed. (more…)

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