Archive for the Food and Recipes Category

Awaken to Provence Cheese.

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Travel, South of France with tags , , , on March 28, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour!

When I think of my experiences in Provence I think of earthly delights and the lines from ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Kyam’ offer no more perfect description…

“Here, with a loaf of bread beneath the bough

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A flask of wine

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A Book of verse

And Thou beside me singing in the wilderness

And wilderness is Paradis enow.”

I’m certain that Omar would have included cheese in his poem had he visited the Luberon, the beautiful blue circle of  Provence which boasts an extraordinary selection of cheeses such as these…Saint Paulin, Roquefort, creamy bries and camembert, goat cheeses, Banon a la feuille, Picadon and many more.

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What better accompaniment with Provence cheeses but locally grown, plump strawberries, I will never know.

And neither will Omar Kyam.

 

Best wishes, Therese

copyright@2014 Therese Waddell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awaken to Chocolatiers in France

Posted in Chocolate Shops in Paris, Food and Recipes, French Travel, Paris, Paris Shopping, Therese Waddell's Chocolate Art and Facebook Page with tags , , , , , , , on December 10, 2013 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

One of the very best things to do in Paris is to go chocolate hunting. Like jewels in the crown, chocolatiers are dotted around the city of Light, breathing aroma and gorgeous chocolatey creations in a rich tradition of expertise.

When we were kids, treasure hunting for sweets in unexpected places was great fun. Some of us (you know who always cheated)  became really deft at discovery, but these days when the back drop is Paris and the prize is couverture chocolate, it makes the game so much better! I’ve hunted down and tasted some of the world’s best chocolates from the hands of the best chocolatiers in Paris. My French Awakening hopes you may find the list of chocolate shops in Paris helpful when you visit. It’s just the tip of the ice berg but it makes for a great day when sightseeing.

1. Patrick Roger- Number ONE on my list, residing at 108 Boulevard, Saint Germain and several others shops across Pars.(see his website below).

This bearded bad boy is totally unconventional from the rest of chocolatiers… an extraordinary chocolate sculptor, artisan and motorbike rider all in one! No wonder he has chocolate which is so earthy and herbal! He’s a creator of insanely different flavour combos and new taste sensations. Even OUTSIDE,  his shop windows alone will captivate you, with his over sized chocolate creatures. Apes, drinking Hippos and waddling hens  in glorious detail, reflecting his superb mastery of an age old craft bought to the contemporary platform with wild humour. Something rings in my own heart here.

Many of you don’t know but MY OWN passion is chocolate. Really. Working with chocolate is like nothing else. My French Awakening will give you a sneek peep of my chocolate sculpturing ….doing what I love (besides writing about France…)

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My new FACEBOOK PAGE  at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Belle-Epoque-Couture-Cakes-and-Chocolate/211250185696289  shows you more of my work and contact. I would really appreciate you LIKING the page and a very big thankyou to all those who have generously done so already and/or ordered a celebration cake with chocolate work. Your comments as well only make for better business. If you would like a spectacular cake for a special occasion contact me here or on my facebook page! I would love to make you something extroadinary!

But back to Patrick Roger….He really encourages the public to go out back of his shop and taste test to constantly keep in touch with today’s changing palette. His umbilical cord to the public is uncommonly tight even though he works unconventionally with great freedom and little constraints. There is no arrogance here which some other chocolatiers aerate.

My French Awakening refers to Patrick Roger as Le Willie Wonker du Chocolat for Patrick works outside the chocolate square. You must try his pralines if nothing else. They’ll tingle all your senses…and that’s why he’s my unquestionable  hero in the chocolate world.

Check out his world of eight Paris addresses at http://www.patrickroger.com/en/index.php and you’ll see what I mean. While you’re doing so, try this….

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The other chocolate shops in Paris on my list are not in any divine order but are WELL WORTH VISITING. It includes:-

2. Michael Chaudun- also a talented chocolate sculptor producing whimsical pieces at 149 Rue Université, 75007 Paris. A lovely  gentle soul who loves his work and you can tell when you walk in the shop. There’s a friendly warm air here dotted with plenty of oohs and arhhs as we spot replica European sausages hanging from the ceiling, stylish chocolate stilettos and faberge eggs amongst a classic repertoire of  glossy chocolates including his fabulous pave.

3. Jean Paul Hevin at 231 Rue St Honore. He’s been at it for a very long time and has taken out numerous conventional awards along the way, offering high end, precisional chocolate with some Asian inspired tastes. No wonder he’s opened up in Japan. Website at: http://www.jeanpaulhevin.com/en/

4. La Maison Du Chocolate at 225 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Here you’ll find wonderful, creamy ganaches. Website at: http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.com/en/#/home

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5. Pierre Herme – 39 Avenue de l’Opéra and 185 Rue de Vaugirard and 72 Rue Bonaparte, Paris at http://www.pierreherme.com

6. Michel Cluizel- originally from Normandy has his shop at 201 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris at http://www.cluizel.com/fr/

7. Godiva-237 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris.Found at  http://www.godivachocolates.eu/en/godiva-chocolatier-since-1926

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where executive chef (chemist to chocolatier), Thierry Muret makes gorgeous chocolates at Godiva.

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8. Christian Constant- author of two award winning books on Chocolate and a fine chocolate maker at: http://www.christianconstant.com/intro/

Of course there are many, many more. Now that you know my passion, what’s yours? 

What’s YOUR favourite chocolate shop in Paris?

AuRevoir,

Therese

Copyright@ Therese Waddell 2014

Awaken to Saint Remy Market Day, Provence

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Travel, South East France with tags , , , , on December 4, 2013 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

The market day in Saint Remy de Provence needs little introduction. My french awakening to Saint Remy is celebrated with photos for you- filled with touchy, tasty and aromatic goodness. Just imagine another sunny day in Provence, music in the air and the aromas of fresh bountiful produce right in front of you.

Do you think you can suffer a day at Saint Remy?

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Au Revoir and Best Wishes,

Therese Waddell

copyright@2013 Therese waddell

Awaken to Cassis, France

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Affair, French Cafes, French Travel, South East France with tags , , , , , , on August 22, 2013 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

Head to the south of France to Cassis and yes, you’re still in Provence, but gone is your mindset of hills in rolling green pastures and fruit orchards, now replaced with a glassy canvas and the prettiest fishing port you will ever see… Image

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Cassis and its sun kissed fishing cove at the base of a medieval castle, is lined with old stone homes but there’s a fresh new look in pastel shades of pink, apricot and blue which adds to the casualness and a much less pretentious atmosphere compared to its glamorous St Tropez neighbour.

Cassis is a mecca for seafood restaurants lining a fishing port and it’s no luck that they are thriving with crawling tourists from all over France and abroad. Indeed, many a French traveller are drawn to the sunshine and great food here as well.

Tourists arrive (even Aussie ones) in miniature open train carriages from the mountain above (as cars cannot descend down its narrow road) packed like sardines wearing hats and goggled in cool black.

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This is a small French town with a big appetite. My french awakening to Cassis came about over a lazy lunch in the sun, rubbing shoulders with ordinary folks while tucking into the worlds best seafood. I look around and there are numerous platters of coral pink prawn tails, radiant lobsters and piles of muscle shells shimmering iridescent blue in pots under their own watery soup of hot bouillabaisse. Steam from a large bowl of Moules frites (muscles and chips- a local dish) reaches my nose in seconds. This is fresh seafood heaven with sea life jumping out of the water and onto the plate!

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Sweating Cassis chefs like most of those through Provence, respect quality of produce and carefully select the best to go into mouths gaping like the wheeling seagulls above with the same anticipation. There is strong local competition that only makes it better for customers like you and I. Market days are Wednesday and Friday and expect fabulous produce like homemade tapenades, tomatoes, olives and other salad ingredients.Image

You will be well fed in Cassis no doubt and life is good and unhurried here. You can’t help but relax under a Provencal sun on the water’s edge.

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There are also no nasty pirates here in this sailor’s landmark and only jovial ones remain, all seemingly related by paradise and its crosshatch of ropes and tangled coils of nautical paraphernalia. The entire port seems to interconnect with reflections and it’s easy to wander off mesmerized by everything in such strong light, if it weren’t for the sound of the crack of rope every now and again and the rubbing squeal of boat hulls sliding against their moorings.

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Hop on board any of the tour boats strung together at the port of Cassis like I did.Image

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A ticket of about 15 euros will do the trick for a beautiful 45 minute cruise out into the salty Mediterranean…

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towards the inner world of watery inlets of the limestone Calanques…

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These famous Calanques are about 120million years old and hold a treasure trove of beautiful nooks and crannies to investigate…

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photograph or climb…

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As the mood allows, you may be taken to any number of hidden gems such as local beaches…Image

or water caves or even sometimes given the opportunity to dive from the back of the boat into sea green splendour. It happens.

The area around Cassis is magnificent and unspoilt.  Any number of water sports like yachting…

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kyaking…Image

and diving in underwater caves…Imagecould keep you entertained all day. All week perhaps. Activities are happily arranged at the Office de Tourism on the pier, even for camping and climbing…

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or hiking the trails of Cape Canaille or the National Park all in the search for spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean. You don’t have to go far. For a full panorama of the Port of Cassis, check out this:-

http://www.ot-cassis.com/en/le-port.html

Cassis is only a half an hour from Marseille airport. No time at all to get to Paradise.

AuRevoir,

Best wishes, Therese

copyright@2013 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Tourettes sur Loup, France.

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Affair, French Cafes, French Painters, French Patisserie, French Travel, South East France with tags , , , , on August 18, 2013 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

I remember an old lady in a film who dreamt of wading in a swimming pool of spaghetti. She didn’t have a real reason for her longed for indulgence. No rhyme  nor reason. She was just convinced that swimming around in sublime squelchyness would make her feel wonderful. It’s funny what we all wish for and it’s the unexpected which sometimes make us the happiest. Places can do that sometimes and  the little village of Tourettes sur Loup nestled in Provence, proved that this is true.

The first glimpse of Tourettes sur Loup in south eastern France is…well, interesting..

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Then in the rocky chaos of life  there appears a single pop of colour and expectation…

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and the medieval cobblestones of Tourette sur Loup’s intimate alleyways slowly presents itself in all its glory…

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with quiet ecstatic moments  browsing between the fabulous galleries of paintings, ceramics, pottery and jewellery of Tourette’s well known artisans.

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and later, buy the most fragrant ice cream you’ve ever tasted from a guy with the biggest smile in the world…

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to finally lunch in one of Tourette’s cosy restaurants and find yourself perhaps swimming in pasta…

Provincial style.

Tourettes sur Loup..deceptively good.

AuRevoir, best wishes, Therese

copyright@2013 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Gourdon in Provence.

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Cafes, French Gardens, French Travel, South East France with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2013 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

Today you’re going to a little village in the south of France  but first of all, I’d like to make it quite clear from the start that there are two villages by the name of ‘Gourdon’ in France and I’m writing about Gourdon located in the Alps-Maritime region of Provincial France (not the town of Gourdon in the southwestern Lot.) Secondly my friends, I want to make it just as clear that YOU’RE GONNA LOVE IT when you get here!

If there was ever a place that belonged in a book of classic European fairytales, it would be this tiny village of Gourdon. Nestled precariously like a hawk’s nest on a cliff face high overhead…

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Gourdon is custodian to the Vallee du Loup-with its gorges and canyons, forests and Loup River that snakes its way to the Mediterranean while the birds soar in circles over farmsteads in the greenest valley I could ever imagine.

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To get to Gourdon is an adventure in itself. Choose your driver and your means of transport well, for if you take the road, be aware that it zig zags sharply without relief for quite some time and for some part of the journey you may well trigger a small rock avalanche which begins collapsing beneath your vehicle and propelling debris into the airy depths below. This way will bring you to the Northern entry of the castle.

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The alternative is to hike along the skinny spaghetti trail winding up and around the mountain to the castle from almost a thousand meters below. The old mule track, ‘Chemin du Paradis’ is steep and stony and was the only way of hard core artisan and construction workers centuries earlier lugging stone to build the castle in the eleventh century. This way is not for the faint hearted.

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Your choice maybe raises a question as to how you approach life itself.

If Pinocchio were French, he would drunkenly tumble over Gourdon’s cobblestones and vaulted lanes, pass inner courtyards of provincial stone houses with their fountains…

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sun dials and gargoyles and other eccentricities…

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and then perhaps he would hop-step his loose way toward the warm aroma of bread ovens and medicinal herb shops reeling lavender, hyssop and comfrey. Copper distillation equipment of some Medieval alchemist making perfume breathes fragrant history into shopfronts…

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Pinocchio would gaze upon the infinite antique bottles and drooping chandeliers of philosophers come glassmakers…DSC_0222

and once inside, he would be mesmerised by glittering crystal glassware in electric colours as the afternoon sun works its magic.

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Pinocchio would be smiling no doubt. Just like Le Notre, the landscape gardener of the Palace of Versaille, when he completed his new  project in Gourdon and thoughtfully created its magnificent Chateau gardens.

Gourdon is exactly what you want in a fairytale. Hot pink shots of mountain rhododendrons and teeny erigeron daisies popping out everywhere…

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and very friendly locals and a close knit community spirit of shopkeepers selling joy in Florentines, soaps, perfumery and art. (When the baker asked me to marry him, I told him I had five children. He cheekily replied, ” De rien. J’ai six.” (no matter, I have six!).

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Breathing in Gourdon’s air is cool and fresh, as you would expect from such a dizzy altitude…

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but the sunlight is strong here and paints Gourdon with a warmth overlooking a sweeping panoramic view of the Cote D’zure from Beaulieu to Cannes.

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If you bother to look hard enough across the horizon, pass today’s hang gliders at eye level, you may even see Corsica on a really clear day but you’ll be forgiven if you don’t even try, as by now you will have decided to join the others dabbling in hand made ice creams or at The Salon de The’

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on a rocky outcrop. Or, more casually,  decide to have a cold beer on the very popular terrace in front of the old church… A splendid idea as you watch the sun go down.

Truth be known- Fairytales have a very happy ending in Gourdon.

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Getting there: Gourdon is about 37km from Nice Airport by car and 14km from Grasse. Local tour companies will get you there very inexpensively. Enjoy and tell us of your experiences here.

Au revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@2013 Therese Waddell

Awaken To Angelinas, Paris

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Patisserie, French Travel, Paris, Paris Shopping with tags , , , , , , , on June 17, 2013 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mon amis,

Yes, it’s been a while and as you know I’ve taken THAT trip to France…from Paris to Provence and I’M DYING TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT. But first, how have you been my dear friends? What’s happening in your lives? I’ve heard from many of you while I’ve been away and the wheels of life are turning in all directions but there’s one thing we always seem to have time for…and that’s France. That’s why we’re here really.

So I’m going to take you on another journey with me.

And it all began in Paris.

Sitting pretty under the arch which lines Rue de Rivoli, there resides a very old French establishment blushing royal purple and brown and trimmed with fine gold frills like some Grand Duchess. With her carriage outside,

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one would swear like a commoner that she was all too perfect and particular to encourage private audiences… but I would be wrong.

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The minute you brush pass her golden roped barriers outside and step ever so cautiously onto the red carpet welcome into Angelinas, you will be pleasantly surprised that you actually feel right at home here, despite her precious exterior.

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I was instantly welcomed with a warm, sweet hug of recently baked cakes and pastries and a cup of hot chocolate, rich and thick enough to cement even a broken heart.

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It felt just like a trip to my nans as a kid on our Sunday visits, that would prompt the same knee jerk reaction of releasing the fine bone china out of the cupboards and set her about in an aproned whimsy to check her batch of scones. Albeit, Angelinas- the Paris Shrine To Pastry And Flaky Sweetness and the meeting place for devout gourmands, is by chance a tad more detailed in its selection of cakes…

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With her embellished Rum Baba glaze over sponge…

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and sunshine yellow Tarte Citron popping with mathematically precision cloned marshmallows. Then there are Mont Blanc art pieces piped with meringue under a mound of vermicelli chestnut …

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I recall nan’s colour palette was a touch more conservative compared to Angelinas…

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and perhaps the interior of Angelina’s is not quite nan’s decor… Image

but the warmth and aroma and long conversations with angelic people who are kind and generous, knowledgeable and dedicated…

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will make you feel just as welcome.

Angelinas at 226 Rue de Rivoli, Paris, made me feel right at home and only the best holiday destinations do that. Why don’t you drop in to Angelinas? The Grand Duchess makes a perfect gesture for you in Paris.

She’ll always put the kettle on.

AuRevoir,

Best Wishes, Therese

copyright@ 2013 Therese Waddell