April 18, 2016

Pitcher and Powell International Culinary Tours

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. (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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March 21, 2016

Rhone Valley Grape Vine Tours with Linda Garson

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. (more…)

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October 5, 2015

Perfectly Planned Travel for Bespoke Holidays

Perfectly Planned Travel for Bespoke Holidays

Antonia (Toni) Dosik’s memories of her first foreign trip include sandy beaches and seashells. In reality, Mexico was hardly a protracted voyage for a six-year-old kid from Los Angeles, but it was the kickoff for Toni’s travel-centric life. At 13, Toni began plotting her return to Europe while on a vacation that included visits to England, France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. During college, she took advantage of a study abroad program to improve her French language skills, and to visit Switzerland and southern France. Toni spent a university year in England before racking up extensive travel miles to Provence, Paris, Italy, Serbia, Slovenia and Portugal. Best in Britain was born in 1987, a small business that sprouted from friends and family asking Toni for help with their travel planning. Toni’s travel bug married her planning talent. She tells me that Best in Britain planned more than 40 trips to England and Wales for people who wanted unique and personalized vacations. Starting with a client’s response to her detailed questionnaire on their interests and individual needs, Toni has planned holidays with a focus on gardens, maritime history and even mazes. Toni says that for clients “I planned travel for them just like I plan travel for myself.” Now, with Perfectly Planned Travel, Toni is concentrating her efforts on the undiscovered or under-discovered in regions that she knows best: England, Portugal, Paris and Provence. Why? “I am drawn to Portugal and Provence by the gorgeous scenery, the warm, friendly people, and the charming small towns and villages.  England is also about gorgeous scenery and charming villages and small market towns.  Despite its reputation, England has some of the warmest and friendliest people on earth!  Paris, of course, is quintessentially French, somewhat challenging, as cities can be, but beautiful and fascinating.” Toni limits her number of clients, so every Perfectly Planned Travel trip is individualized and customized – there is no typical itinerary.  Toni has planned many trips for first-time travelers who are reassured by her attention to detail. In equal measure, Toni proposes excursions for people who want to experience something different in a place they have already visited. What was your most challenging trip to date? Planning a family vacation for 17 adults and two small children in Provence.  They wanted a house that was big enough for everyone to have their own bedroom and bathroom and yet affordable.  Lots of different needs and travel styles. They all had a great time! What would you say clients must discover in England, Portugal, and Provence? The lovely countryside of the Alentejo region of Portugal, with its sophisticated wineries, olive oil producers, and cork trees. Also, charming towns, villages and friendly people. The market towns of England. Most people know London and maybe the Cotswolds or the Lake Country. However, some of the most interesting places to visit in England are towns that have had markets since the medieval period, like Woodford in Suffolk or Calderdale in West Yorkshire. The area of Provence known as the Vaucluse with its perched villages, long and complicated history, and its truly breathtaking vistas of vineyards, lavender fields, and olive trees. What would you tell your clients to taste in England, Portugal, and Provence? In Portugal and Provence, drink wine.  Portugal produces some of the best wine in the world, but it is often not available outside of Portugal.  Not just the vinho verde (young white wine), but the delicious reds like those from Herdade Do Esporao in the Alentejo. Same for Provence.  Explore the wine. Côtes du Rhone, Châteauneuf du Pape, and the dry rosés.  One of the best ways to do this – and eat the delicious food as well – is to have your main meal of the day at lunch, so you can drink the wine, walk around the local village or town, and still drive home safely. England has a very undeserved reputation as a place without decent food. Ever since it joined the EU, the food in England has become more and more varied and sophisticated.  Including “pub food” that is way more than fish and chips or toad in a hole.  I had some of the best meals of my life at the Museum Inn in Farnham, Dorset, population 111! What would you suggest for relaxation? This is truly idiosyncratic.  I love to shop and find it both relaxing and stimulating.  Other people like to fish, or walk on the beach, or sit in a café or see a concert.  That’s where my Questionnaire comes in – it helps me to get a sense of what people like to do, what they want from their trip, their “style” of travel and how I can help them plan a perfect trip. Are you ready for a Perfectly Planned Travel holiday? Get in touch with Antonia (Toni) Dosik: http://perfectlyplannedtravel.biz/contact/ Website: http://perfectlyplannedtravel.biz/ Questionnaire: http://perfectlyplannedtravel.biz/questionnaire/ _____________________________________________________________________________ Disclosure: Perfectly Planned Travel is a Ginger and Nutmeg sponsor Image Credits: All photos were provided by and published with the permission of Perfectly Planned Travel  

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May 11, 2015

Grottos of Provence the Caves of Villecroze

Grottos of Provence the Caves of Villecroze

Millions of years of seismic activity, tectonic plate movement and freeze-thaw cycles created the diverse geology of present-day Provence. The region is also known as the Bouches de Rhone where the Mediterranean shoreline runs the gambit of beaches, brackish wetlands and vertigo inducing cliffs. Other natural phenomena in the area include the steep contours of the Gorges de Verdon and the volcano shaped Mont Ventoux. The caves of Villecroze are carved into the side of a sheer limestone cliff. A grotto formed by hundreds of thousands of years of water flowing over porous rock. The continuous water created tufa rock-hard calcium carbonate deposits along the cliff face. Cycles of natural erosion and deposits formed caves of smooth stone and flowing stalactites. (more…)

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March 23, 2015

Thoronet Abbey a Cistercian Treasure in Provence

Thoronet Abbey a Cistercian Treasure in Provence

L’Abbaye du Thoronet was first classified as a historic French monument in 1840. Restoration work started the year after and still continues today. Nutmeg wanted to visit the Thoronet Abbey as they had already seen the “sister” abbeys Silvacane and Sénanque. The straightforward design of these buildings produced volumes of space where the only adornment would have been the harmonic chanting voices of the monks. These religious structures are stark and somber yet at the same time refreshing, no marble, no gold, no organ pipes, just natural light and acoustics. (more…)

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December 29, 2014

Fontvieille Stone the Foundation of Provence

Fontvieille Stone the Foundation of Provence

Writer Alphonse Daudet described his affection for the town of Fontvieille and its windmills as follows: “Ce coin de roche qui m’etait une patrie et dont on retrouve la trace – êtres ou endroits – dans presque tous mes livres” This corner of rock was a homeland to me, one which can be traced to beings or places in almost all my books. (more…)

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December 15, 2014

Understanding The Cost of Saffron

Understanding The Cost of Saffron

Nutmeg had a few items on her to-do list; number one was to replenish the wine stock before Ginger arrived. The challenge was making a decision in les Alpilles given the plethora of nearby vineyards. On this particular occasion, she chose Domaine de la Vallongue as they had reopened their boutique after some renovations and were featuring some unique sculptures by Jean-Pierre Rives. (more…)

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December 23, 2013

5 Christmas Presents from Provence

5 Christmas Presents from Provence

A visit to Provence can be a sensory overload: Purple-blue lavender rows combing the landscape Market stalls brimming with wild mushrooms in a palette of earthy browns Pincushions of creamy goat cheese Butcher shop chickens roasted on portable spits on Sunday mornings Rosé chilling tableside What should I take home from Provence? Nutmeg often gets asked this question by friends who are visiting Provence, these are five gifts that she would suggest, each one uniquely representative of the region. (more…)

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December 16, 2013

Photo Workshops in Provence

Photo Workshops in Provence

All I want for Christmas is a photo workshop in Provence. If that is number ONE on your Christmas list this year, then Nutmeg would like to help you out. Andrew Squires is a professional photographer based in the village of Ansouis, in Provence. He runs photo workshops for both groups and individuals; photography on-location, with social breaks, fun festivals and time to explore Provence behind your camera (any type will do). Colour, gesture, all help tell the story. (more…)

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