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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June 26, 2017

Visit Beaucaire for Visions of a Different Time in Provence

Visit Beaucaire for Visions of a Different Time in Provence

Beaucaire is a small Provencal town located on the banks of the Rhone river and the Rhone-Sète canal, the name means beautiful stone. There is evidence of a Gallo-Roman settlement in this hilly area as early as 11 B.C.. The ancient community gave way to a medieval town in 1067 and the establishment of a castle in 1180. (more…)

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May 29, 2017

Claufoutis aux Cerises Recipe for When Life Gives You a Bowl of Cherries

Claufoutis aux Cerises Recipe for When Life Gives You a Bowl of Cherries

Spring starts early in the south of France. Nutmeg was shocked to learn that the cherries on the neighbours’ tree would be ready to eat by the middle of May!! Under perfect conditions, local BC cherries only start arriving in Calgary farmers markets in mid-July. Sure enough the white flowering trees quickly turned to producing the luscious red fruit, and all of a sudden the orchards were laden with produce. The problem with cherries is you can only eat so many before they start spoiling. The cherry is a stone fruit within the Prunus species, related to plums and apricots. As a fruit, the cherry has been consumed for millenniums, with references even in Roman times. There are numerous varieties of cherries globally. However, the most commonly known strains in North America are the wild cherry (or sweet cherry) and the sour cherry. The red pigment in cherries is called anthocyanin, and it has been shown to provide some pain relief and reduce inflammation. (more…)

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April 3, 2017

Isle sur la Sorgue a touch of Venice in Provence

Isle sur la Sorgue a touch of Venice in Provence

Most people (read tourists) go to l’Isle sur la Sorgue for one of two reasons: The Sunday market – one of the largest in the region The 300+ antique stores and dealers Very few would go because they were expecting Venice in Provence. (more…)

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January 9, 2017

Sunday Lunch in France

Sunday Lunch in France

Nutmeg is writing this post on a rainy Sunday afternoon while Ginger is napping off the effects of a long Sunday lunch. It is a long tradition in France that stores are closed Sunday afternoon, allowing everyone the opportunity to have a leisurely lunch en famille. (more…)

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September 12, 2016

The Fortress of Aigues Mortes in Provence

The Fortress of Aigues Mortes in Provence

800km from its glacial source in Valais, Switzerland the Rhône River gasps as it reaches the Mediterranean Sea. Like a wide yawn the Rhône’s two branches; the Grande Rhône and the Petit Rhône empty their cargo at the mouth of the river. This area of Provence known as the Camargue, part of the Bouches du Rhône (mouths of the Rhône) is Europe’s largest river delta (930 sq km) and a wetland of significant size. (more…)

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May 30, 2016

Squeaky Clean Savon de Marseille

Squeaky Clean Savon de Marseille

A mixture of seawater, alkaline solution and fat Documented use as far back as 2800 BC in Ancient Babylon A carved “recipe” found on a stone slab from 2200 BC The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all used it Cooked for 8 days in a cauldron, dried for 2 days in a mould Latin word Sapo (more…)

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May 2, 2016

The Perfume and Candles of Provence

The Perfume and Candles of Provence

Does that sound romantic?  Actually… Ginger was away in Canada, and Nutmeg was certain that he had zero interest in visiting the Provence perfume distillery le Musée des Arômes or candle maker at the Ciergerie de l’abbaye des Prémontrés. (more…)

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March 28, 2016

Uncovering Glanum from a Pile of Rocks in Provence

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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February 15, 2016

Angelus the Bells of Angels in Provence

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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