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

Continue reading

Canistrelli Recipe Sweet Corsican Cookies to have with Coffee

It is highly probable, that Nutmeg’s nutritionist friends will not consider this practice remarkably healthy. So only do so sparingly, or when they are not watching.

There is something decadent, childish and delightful about eating cookies with your morning coffee. Ginger and Nutmeg have discovered along their travel routes to Italy and Corsica that this “sweet” tradition is decidedly a part of the routine in some areas.

Corsican Canistrelli

Continue reading

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.


Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.


Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Ancient Apricots

Literally as old as the hills, the fruit of the apricot tree are confirmed to have been domesticated since the Bronze Age. Although, the exact origin of the tree is debated;

  • there is evidence of consumption of the fruit in both China and India between 3-4,000 B.C.
  • the apricot in dry format was certainly exchanged along Persian trade routes.
  • the scientific name, is Prunus armeniaca (Armenian plum), likely as a result of the ubiquitous presence in Armenia since antiquity.
  • The fruit was eventually introduced to the Greeks and then adopted by the Romans.


Continue reading