The Black Diamonds of Provence

The black truffle season has begun, thrilling chefs the world over. Black truffles are one of the culinary delicacies of France, and their pungent, earthy taste enlivens many a plate.

France produces about half the world’s black truffles, mostly from Provence. They are difficult to farm, so most are foraged in nature, especially among the roots of trees like oak and chestnut.

Traditionally, truffle pigs were used to find them, but pigs have fallen out of favor because they eat the truffles! Now truffle hounds are used, because dogs don’t find truffles tasty.

The tiny Provençal village of Richerenches calls itself the Truffle Capital of the World, and it might be right. This year its truffle market celebrates its 100th anniversary, and the town’s church even holds a special Truffle Mass!

Read all about these “black diamonds” in Perfectly Provence!

How to Make a Holiday Toast Around the World

From drinking glühwein in Germany to Lambrusco in Italy, each country has its own holiday traditions.

The wine writer Jill Barth has written a fun article about wine and winter holidays around the world, including recommendations on what to drink. It might come in handy for New Year’s! And I’m thrilled to be quoted—about France, of course.

You can find Jill’s article here. Happy New Year!

Christmas Traditions in Provence

Like many parts of France, Provence has Christmas traditions that go back centuries. Some are well-known, like those cute little santons and the 13 desserts eaten after midnight mass. But did you know about the wheat that predicts the future? Or the lamb and shepherds in church? And how about those camels strolling through the streets?

Read all about these fun Provençal Christmas traditions in The Good Life France!

10 Historic Jewish Sites in Provence

France has a thriving Jewish community, the third largest in the world after Israel and the United States. And while today Paris is the center of French Jewish life, this wasn’t always the case. For centuries, that center was Provence, thanks to a surprising protector: the Pope! I’ve written about ten historic Jewish sites in Provence, most of which you can visit today.

Would you like to visit the oldest synagogue in France? Or a museum rich with Jewish and Provençal history? Or maybe you’d like to attend a Jewish music festival!

Read all about it in Perfectly Provence! And Happy Hanukah!

Destination Christmas: Strasbourg vs Provence

Strasbourg is known as “the Christmas capital of Europe,” with its festive mood, lights and holiday magic. The city gives you the feeling that if you were to bite into any of its buildings, they would taste like gingerbread and chocolate.

But is it the best place to experience a real French Christmas? I think not.

In Provence you’ll find festive local markets, colorful parades like the bravade calendale, and santons galore. There won’t be the crush of international tourists you’ll find in Strasbourg, and the weather will be much better than way up north.

One of my colleagues and I recently faced off, each arguing for our favorite Christmas destination. Who’s right? See what we have to say and decide for yourself!

Read all about it in Frenchly!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bonjour!

It’s Thanksgiving in the US, one of my favorite holidays. And the star of many American dinner tables today will be turkey. So how about giving it a French twist?

Here’s a recipe for you, inspired by one of France’s greatest chefs, Georges Blanc. It’s a little late for today’s meal but you can try it another time, maybe Christmas?

Bon appétit !

Book Ideas for the France-Lover in Your Life

Christmas is coming and you might be having a hard time coming up with gift ideas. I am here to help!

The French are famously literary, but they don’t sit around reading Proust and Molière all day. They like a good page-turner as well as anyone else. So how about gifting a book that was a top seller in France, but has recently been translated into English? It would be a great gift for a France-lover, or someone who loves good books, or both!

I’ve put together a list of 11 books that covers a lot of bases.You’ll find serious reads, thrillers, inspiring tales, and even a touch of science fiction!

Read all about it in France Today!

 

Provence, the First Wine Region of France

Wine has been made in France for a very long time, and names like Burgundy and Champagne put stars in the eyes of wine lovers everywhere. But did you know that French winemaking first began in Provence, thanks to the Greeks? Or that more rosé wine is produced there than any other kind? Or that Italian winemakers won’t let the French use the name of one of their grapes–they have to call it something else?

Learn all about the wonderful wines of Provence in The Good Life France!

Biking Among the Vines in Burgundy

Burgundy is home to some of the world’s greatest wines, where names like Montrachet and Nuits-St-Georges set wine lovers’ hearts a-flutter. The wines are produced in a region of almost otherworldly beauty, where you’ll find one charming village after another nestled among the vineyard-covered hillsides. For anyone who loves great wine and beautiful scenery, Burgundy is a must-visit part of France. 

Not only is Burgundy a mecca for oenophiles, it is also wonderful place to go for a bike ride. Val and I recently rode along the Voie des Vignes (Vineyard Way), a route that runs through some of the most famous vineyards in the world, starting in Beaune. We pedalled along a 22-km portion and it wasn’t too hard because we rented electric bikes. You can do it, too!

Read all about it in France Today!

5 Favorite Restaurants with a View

Provence’s Luberon Valley is one of the most beautiful spots in France. It is chock-full of restaurants serving excellent food, and I love the ones where Val and I can enjoy a nice view along with our meals.

Would you like a simple café, perfect for an afternoon glass of wine? How about a restaurant with views over the stunning ochre quarries of Roussillon? Or for a special occasion, maybe you’d like to enjoy a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant along a lovely riverbank.

I’ve made a list of our five favorite Luberon restaurants with a view. You can read all about them in Perfectly Provence!