Thursday, March 29, 2012

Taste #1

Trio of Cremes Brulees

 17 years ago, I came to the South of France for the first time and ate at the famous Colombe d’Or in St Paul de Vence.  I love crème brulee and for dessert was presented with not one, but three different versions:  lavendar, coquelicot (poppy), and rosemary.  What an original introduction to Provence flavours!  And that was only the beginning…

Jennifer Dugdale

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tastes of Provence

You are planning your next trip to France and would like to visit Provence and Aix en Provence? You'd rather avoid large groups of tourists and would prefer a more intimate and authentic tour? You'd love to make your Provence experience a success, but also a unique gourmet experience?

Meet Jennifer Dugdale, founder of Tastes of Provence. Jennifer was born and grew up in California, and has been living in Provence since 2004. Entranced by France and Provence, passionate about authentic products, she will take you in an unforgettable culinary excursion through the streets of this jewel of a town. Her gourmet walking tours will lead you past the historic golden stone buildings of Aix and trickling fountains, stopping at facades of aristocratic townhouses, while discovering food shops and tasting local specialties, learning how to choose ingredients and how to cook with them. You'll love every minute of her tour and will get an insight of what Aix and Provence is all about: Art de Vivre, the perfect mix between history, authenticity and gastronomy.

A few words from Jennifer:
"Many people dream of living in Provence, especially for the certain art de vivre, or way of life, which this region offers:  a sunny Mediterranean climate, a backdrop of beautiful architecture and stunning landscapes, long French lunches – count me in!  I am a self-proclaimed “foodie” and in 7 years as a resident of Provence, I have been spoiled for culinary choice."
She will be our guest for the next posts, as she will be sharing with us her Top Ten Tastes of Provence... So stay with us =)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bio, the French Organic

Here is what you'll find most of the time if you're looking for an organic product in France:
AB stands for "Agriculture Biologique", but is more often reffered to as "Bio". This organic certification was introduced in France in 1985 and fulfills the EU regulations for organic food. French organic food is produced using environmentally sound methods without pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or chemical food additives, and provides great benefits on human health as well as the environment.
Our online boutique carries a selection of French organic products, such as herbal teas and mustard - check it out!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spice up your Cooking!

5 French tips to spice up your cooking:

Tip #1- Use a pinch of Herbs de Provence to enhance the flavor of your steacks, gratins or quiche: This wonderful blend of rosemary, marjoram, basil, savory, and thyme is a basic found in every French kitchen.  Note that French Herbs de Provence do not contain Lavender. Thyme is used quite often on its own as well, to season a fish or sliced potatoes.

Tip #2- Give an amazing flavor to your soups or stews with a Bouquet GarniA bundle of herbs (usually parsley, thyme and bay leaves) tied together with string, cooked with the other ingredients, and removed prior to consumption. Try it with a Blanquette de Veau (Veal Stew), Boeuf Bourguignon, or Pot au Feu (Beef Stews), or simply in your favorite soup.

Tip #3- Sprinkle Fleur de Sel atop your favorite foods just prior to serve them for maximum flavor: Fleur de Sel is a hand-harvested sea salt collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans. It is an artisanal product that contains more mineral complexity than table salt.

Tip #4- Spice up your scramble eggs or Piperade with a pinch of Espelette Chili Pepper: This variety of Chili Pepper has been cultivated in the French town of Espelette, in the Southwest of France, since the 16th century. Espelette peppers are hand-picked and hand-sorted over the course of ten weeks, starting in mid-August. It is famous for its robust peppery and slightly smoked flavor.

Tip #5- Use Flavored Salt for a spicy, quick and easy effect: French Sea Salt can be found already flavored, with different types of spices - Garlic and Parsley, Herbs, Truffle, Espelette Chili Pepper... So easy to season your foods directly in your plate!

Bon Appetit =)