Summer is a wonderful time of year in Provence, with blue skies everywhere and brilliant sunflowers and lavender in bloom. My favorite time of day is the early evening when the heat of the day is past and you can look forward to a long, lazy meal.
Even if you are not in Provence right now, here’s a menu that will bring the flavors of the region to you. We start with a refreshing aperitif, move on to an appetizer and a main dish, and finish with a cool and refreshing dessert. I’ve chosen some of my favorite dishes, all very Provençal, and I hope you’ll enjoy them.
Read all about it in Perfectly Provence!
When most of us order take-out food, it’s pizza or chicken chow mien or something like that: tasty but not what you’d call elegant.
By contrast, restaurants with Michelin stars serve food that is the epitome of elegance—Duck à l’Orange presented on fine china, that sort of thing. Not what you would imagine being sold “to go.” Until now.
With the coronavirus forcing restaurants to close their doors, even those with Michelin stars have had to get creative to pay the bills. Some are now offering takeaway food for prices well below what they usually charge. Instead of meals costing hundreds of euros, these restaurants are offering dishes for as little as 8 euros! Prepared by the great chef himself! (or herself, bien sûr)
Let’s take a tour around France and see what’s cooking.
Read all about it in France Today!
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, just north of where I live in Provence, is famous for its wines. The town’s name means “the pope’s new château” because many centuries ago a summer papal palace was built here. Popes need good wine to drink, so vines were planted, barrels were crafted, and the town’s fame for great wine began.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is known for more than its wines, though. It’s also known for a law that bans UFOs from taking off, landing, or even flying over the town. How did this strange law come to be? It’s an interesting story of a famous movie, some invaders from outer space (or mass delusion, take your pick) plus a clever mayor with a nose for publicity.
Read all about it in The Good Life France!
How would you like to taste some of the world’s greatest wines for a mere 10 euros? If that sounds appealing, then come to the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine fair, the Salon des Vins. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a charming village in northern Provence, famous both for its wines and for its law banning flying saucers (more on this later).
To attend the Salon, you can a buy ticket ahead of time or just show up at the door. You pay 10 euros and receive an engraved glass which entitles you to unlimited tasting. This lets you wander from winemaker to winemaker, holding out your glass for a pour, and buying bottles of anything that strikes your fancy. Doesn’t that sound like a pleasant way to spend the day?
When you get hungry, there is a large outdoor food court with specialties from all over France. Would you like some foie gras from the Gers? Truffles from Ventoux? Or maybe oysters from Brittany? They are all there, along with plenty of simpler (but still delicious) fare.
Read all about it at France Today!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Jill Barth is a well-known wine writer whose work has been featured in Decanter, Forbes, USA Today, and elsewhere. She recently wrote an article on wine-related holiday traditions around the world: Italy, France, Argentina, and elsewhere. She consulted experts about each country and I was thrilled that she contacted me as the French expert!
Here’s her fun article, just perfect for the holiday season.
My new book is out! Are We French Yet? is available at Amazon!