Wines of the Rhône Valley

If someone asked you, “What are the wines of Popes and Presidents?” what would you say? You might guess Bordeaux or Burgundy or maybe even Champagne. But the right answer is the wines of the Rhône Valley.

The mighty Rhône River bursts forth from Lake Geneva in Switzerland and flows 500 miles south to the Mediterranean Sea, passing Lyon and Avignon along the way. Along its shores are grown the grapes that make some of France’s greatest wines.

Many of these wines are produced near where Val and I live in St-Rémy and we just love them. I’ve written an introduction to the wines of the Rhône Valley that you might enjoy…and maybe you’ll discover a new favorite!

Read all about it in The Good Life France!

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 and it’s fun to learn about them.

The wine writer Jill Barth has written an interesting article in Forbes 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.

Easy Elegance–How to Prepare a Cheese Course

Nothing dresses up a meal like a cheese course. It’s classically French and who doesn’t love a meal à la française? But many of us don’t serve a cheese course because it’s intimidating. How many cheeses should I get? What kind? And what do I serve with them?

I’m here to help. I spoke to Patricia Hughes-O’Brien, the head of the cheese department at Draeger’s Market, a gourmet food store that’s been serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1903. She shared her advice on how to present a beautiful cheese course that’s easy and fun to put together (and to eat).

Read all about it at Frenchly!

5 Top Provence Restaurants

I was asked recently by Taste of France Magazine to name my favorite restaurants in Provence. “Well, that’s easy,” I thought, until they told me to limit my list to five. But there are so many wonderful places to eat! Even in my village of St-Rémy I can easily come up with more than five.

But rules are rules so my wife Val and I put our heads together and came up with our list. It’s a mix of styles and prices and you might want to check it out for your next visit to beautiful Provence.

You can read all about it at Taste of France.

Tips on Avoiding Gluten in France

France might have the best bread in the world – baguettes, croissants, brioches, and much more. And don’t forget the pastries! Is there anything better than a rich French éclair?

But what if you can’t eat any of it? An estimated 7% of the population has a gluten intolerance of one sort or another. Can those unfortunate people eat safely in France? How do they navigate food stores and restaurants?

I faced this dilemma a few years ago when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, the most severe form of gluten intolerance. Given that my wife Val and I live part of the year in Provence, this was shocking news indeed—what would I eat? The good news is that we figured it out and now I eat very well! Let me share some of what we’ve learned.

Read my top tips for avoiding gluten in The Good Life France!

Wines We Love in Provence

My wife Val and I live part of the year in Provence and we love all the great local wines. They come in any color you like—red, white, and pink—and range from inexpensive quaffers to bottles you’d be proud to serve to anyone.

Over time we’ve visited many of the local wineries and some of them we go back to year after year. I’ve put together a list of our favorites, all of which have nice tasting rooms and (usually) English-speaking staff. If you are looking for some tasty bottles and a fun experience, check out my recommendations at Perfectly Provence.

What to See and Do in Beautiful Beaujolais

France is full of gorgeous wine regions. They range from Alsace, with its fairy tale villages, to Cassis, with vineyards that nearly touch the sea. And then there’s Beaujolais. Its vine-covered hillsides are as pretty as any in France. You’ll find it in the south of Burgundy, a region that’s world famous for its wines.

My wife and I recently spent some time in Beaujolais and it was wonderful. If you are curious about what it’s like to visit there, read my article in The Good Life France!

Fresh and Local in St-Rémy

Val and I love trying new restaurants in St-Rémy, and one of our recent discoveries is A la Table de Nicolas. The chef is a Master Restauranteur, always a mark of quality, and the food is fresh and delicious–mostly organic and sourced from local farmers. And they even do takeout, a rarity in France.

If you are in Provence and want some great and reasonably-pricing dining, this is a place you’ll want to check out!

Read all about it in Perfectly Provence.

An Oasis of Serenity in the Heart of Provence

It’s an oasis of serenity in the heart of Provence. The Auberge la Fenière lies at the foot of a forest-covered hillside, just beyond the charming village of Lourmarin. It’s a hotel and restaurant that have been welcoming guests for decades, with beautiful old buildings made of golden stone. Next to them is a broad, inviting lawn bordered by olive and cherry trees and a large herb garden. You can feel yourself relax the moment you walk in.

The main attraction of the auberge is undoubtedly its restaurant, the proud holder of a Michelin star since 1995. It draws food lovers from all over the world for its refined and creative cuisine. And, remarkably, there’s not a speck of gluten to be found anywhere, even in its many homemade breads.

Why no gluten? Let’s find out—it’s a fascinating story.

Read all about it in France Today!

Do the French Drink Too Much Wine?

The French government has decided that French people are drinking too much. And the French people (unsurprisingly) disagree.

France’s Department of Public Health has just launched a new campaign that warns of the dangers of alcohol consumption. It includes a slick commercial and an “alcoholmeter”–you tell how much you drink and it gives you back scary statistics about how you are damaging your health.

The French are not happy about this. I read an article in a leading newspaper and then went through the comments section to find the best ones for you. They are very funny!

Read all about it at Frenchly!