Archive for Food in France

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Awaken to Death in Revel

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Affair, French Travel, South of France, South West of France with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2011 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friend,

It’s my birthday week and it somehow turns my thoughts to life and death and the space in between. From year to year, this space is filled with every gammet of human emotion as well as our  dreams and biggest challenges. We all want this space to be magnificent. I hope it is for you right now.

Thinking about the cycle of life and death led me to thoughts of near death experiences. Those times when we experience a hint of impending finality here on earth and then perhaps something much more.

Have you ever had a near death experience? I mean a profound wake up call to impending death. I’ve read that these experiences are often documented with scientific and even religious significance but I’ve never heard of one that was connected to the taste buds…until mine.

Did you know that the French hold the honour of organising the world’s first ‘Near Death Experience Conference’? Yes, over 1500 delegates including doctors, patients and researchers gathered near the port of Marseille on this single day in 2006. I wasn’t present if that’s what you’re thinking.

A near death experience for me happened while holidaying in the beautiful south west of France in the village of Revel. I was left with one almighty aftertaste if you allow me to explain.

I had great recommendations of a fabulous Saturday market in Revel and I knew it was a lovely village to visit. Beautiful and interesting, it will keep you and yours happy for weeks and more as you wander around among the other nine thousand or so locals with plenty to see and do. But the main incentive for me this time was the hunt to find the perfect cake shop.

It was the divine trio of pizza, boulangerie and patisserie housed under the name of ‘Panetiere’ at 24 Boulevarde de la Republique in Revel which really caught my attention and as many of you will attest, finding the perfect cake is no easy feat. I’ve known maruding cake snufflers who go to great lengths to sniff out the best of cakes or pizzas  for that matter, like some truffle hunting pig and who do not fully exhale until they find their divine sweet or savoury treasure.

My dearest friend who masks sometimes as a formula 1 Driver, did just that. She had found Panetiere- PERFECTION in pizzas, breads and cakes. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost of pastry perfection across the entire south west of France and my french awakening could never ignore any great french culinary skills in pastry making! How could you?

Don’t get me wrong now. It’s not fancy in terms of Paris displays but it does offer divine little cakes and savoury morsels and marvellous pizzas. Rustic alluring pizzas at that. So divine in fact that their triggering of a single salivary gland has potentially high risk factors and I’m not talking about whispers of widening hips and calorific content!

So, here’s the patisserie…It doesn’t look much from the outside except that by now the wafting warm aromas of sweet pastry grew its beautiful tendrils in our direction…

and yes, yes, you will notice I’ve taken the photo from the middle of the road. I underestimated how long it would take to get to the other side and the pace at which the cars came speeding around the corner. Stupid I know. Patisseries and pizza parlours have that effect on me. I can’t help it… I think it’s genetic.

A car swerved to miss me and sprayed my legs with a sudden petrol gust in its momentum. I stood there motionless and of course, in shock. For an instant I felt a bright light. I can’t say how long I stood there. It wasn’t long enough to meet any dead relatives, but I felt transfixed to a bright light  in the patisserie window across the road.

About ten minutes later, on a bench around the corner, I asked myself,

“Was it worth it-the photograph? Sadly, No.

The pear tarte ? OH YEEES!”

For you too when you get to Revel, choose a little spot in the sun  to spoil yourself or find our park bench on Avenue Charles de Gaule around the corner from the shop. It will be the one covered with a few scattered crumbs!

I don’t remember what happened after that euphoric consumption. All I knew was that I had the aftertaste of near death in my mouth and I remained speechless for quite some time which is a shock to some. However, it didn’t stop our eating.

Jean Jacques Charbonnier, one of the French scientists who was present at the NDE Conference, claimed that his patients who had undergone near death experiences, actually felt that it was a positive thing and felt less attached to material things. I couldn’t agree more with the positivity but can one count a pear tart as a ‘material’ thing?

I would consider it ethereal. With a still warm, lightly aromatic poached French pear held in gossamer pastry, I knew why it tasted so sublime, so… heavenly. A gift from God, non?

Travel for miles for your pear tarte or your chocolate ganache if that’s your taste or you may not live to regret it.

Remember the Arbois chocolate hunt don’t you? https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/awaken-to-hirsingers-french-chocolate-in-arbois/

Life is too short. Death will come. Fill the space between with something magnificent.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese

 

Copyright@Therese Waddell 2011