May 26, 2019 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.

Calissons d'Aix

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November 25, 2018 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.

Cherry SeasonThe 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.


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August 20, 2017 Sweet Memories in an Apricot Tart

Apricots will always remind Nutmeg of her grandmother, Charlotte.

Market Apricots in Provence via @GingerandNutmeg

Nutmeg never asked if her grandmother liked to cook, it was just assumed that she did as her Hungarian lineage prevailed in hearty meals and traditional sweets. It was not unusual for Charlotte to spend an entire day preparing for a meal. The group would gather around her formal table, set with family china, polished silverware and sparkling crystal to enjoy Charlotte’s paprika chicken, beef goulash, stuffed peppers, gnocchi and other classics.

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November 13, 2016 Panade aux Pommes Not Your Classic Apple Pie

Ginger and Nutmeg hosted a July 4th dinner party while in Provence, in honour of their US friends.  The menu included traditional and non-standard elements.  Although the intent was to celebrate the US holiday, the menu might be considered a melange of Mexican, American, and French.

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June 7, 2015 Holiday Shortbread for Lazy Bakers

Does the thought of Christmas baking put you squarely in one of these categories?

  1. You start collecting holiday recipes in June, and dream of red and green sprinkles in July.
  2. You would rather clean out your basement than attend a Christmas bake exchange.
  3. You have a local “go-to” bakery for their qualified help.


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December 14, 2014 Brian’s Fruit Stand in West Vancouver

A hearty Mexican dinner erased the results of a terrible golf game, and the Cadillac margaritas could only be followed by “one more drink.”

Palm Desert bedtime hours be dammed!

Nutmeg is relatively certain that she does not need to layout the rest of the evening for you. It was late and the next morning required copious amounts of strong coffee.

How Brian feels about his produce

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July 27, 2014 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.

Almond Tree in Flower

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.

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June 15, 2014 Scents of Christmas Sweet Citrus Tart

Close your eyes.

Is there a particular aroma or flavour that instantly evokes Christmas in your mind?

Mulled wine
Rum eggnog
Smoky log fires
Fresh Pine bows
Warm chestnuts
Buttery shortbread
Striped candy canes
Oven Roasted turkey
Warm cranberry sauce
Fresh baked gingerbread



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February 9, 2014 Glorious Italian Gelato

Is it possible more flavour and less fat? Yes!


Italian cuisine is known for its’ simplicity and high-quality ingredients. Gelato is one such example. The Italians have been perfecting this frozen desert since the days of the Medici family of Florence. In 1565, a Florentine chef, Bernardo Buontalenti, served his frozen concoction to Catherine de’Medici. Since that time, the popularity of the dessert and the wide variety of flavours has exploded. Today, gelato can be found all over Italy and many places around the globe.

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January 15, 2014 Recipes from Provence Aidan Larson Conjugating Irregular Verbs

Don’t let your mother tell you that the Internet is a scary place! Nutmeg has met so many interesting people via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest that she has decided to start a Guest Blog Thursdays, so they can share their stories. Volia:

Aidan Larson is an American mom of three navigating her way through life in France and writing about it on her blog: Conjugating Irregular Verbs. She writes from her dining room table in the south of France in between motherhood, French lessons and perfecting her oeuf en croute. If you want to read more from Aidan she can be found on her blog site Conjugating Irregular Verbs (letters from my dining table in the south of France).

Melon Soup with Basil

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