A Bountiful Harvest at a French Farmer’s Market

Sandy beaches, palm trees, beautiful people, expensive cars and perfect sunny, warm weather.  No, we’re not in Southern California.  We have arrived in Cannes.  The Cote d’Azur.  The apartment terrace is inviting and relaxing with views of the Mediterranean off in the distance and red tiled roof houses scattered below amongst the Italian cypress and large palm trees. Cannes, France

Our first day out we decide to take a trip to the farmer’s market-le Marche Forville-located in downtown Cannes.  The air is moist and humid with only a slight breeze in the air, but the walk was nonetheless enjoyable as we ventured to the market.

cannes france farmers market-Marche Forville

The French love their farmer’s markets and this one is a large and exciting one!   From fresh flowers to fresh fruit and veggies to fresh sausages to handmade artisan cheeses galore- it can all be found here.  Let me stop at cheese.   I could write a whole blog entry on the French cheeses (and I will), but for now, I will just briefly touch on the cheeses.  There were goat cheeses big and small, round and pyramid shaped;  sheep cheeses that were fresh from the farm and cow bries that made my mouth water.  The smell, well, that is quite another issue and is rather unpleasant until you get used to it. the big cheese-farmers market in Cannes, France (more…)

Pharmacie, Charcuterie and Tunisian Candies: A Busy Day in France

Bonjour!  We finally arrived in France after a two hour delay leaving the U.S. due to a need to replace a toilet on the plane.  Go figure!?  Upon our arrival in Paris, we did catch our train to Lyon, only to find that our train to St. Etienne was cancelled 2 times.  Third time is the charm and we arrived sans probleme, albeit later than expected, but we had no time constraints to adhere to and that was such a pleasant change!

Ahhhh.  La France.  So nice to be back.  Mine eyes and heart are fresh and full of anticipation as to what awaits us.  A good night’s sleep is much needed, so we clean up and go out and grab a couple tartes-one with black olives and mushrooms and the other with salmon and artichokes- and, mais bien sur, a bottle of rose.  The evening is beautiful with the sunset and a cool breeze.

France 008

The morning comes a bit too soon, with my head pounding, my nose a bit stuffy and jet lag in full swing, but I anxiously awake to my first French morning.  My husband and I are ready to begin our day of exploration.   Our first stop is at la pharmacie– the pharmacy.  We need to get some nose spray, vitamin C and some ibuprofen.  Now, who says we’re not FUN??  Moments later we spot a farmer’s market with charcuterie-sausages, salami, etc- and all sorts of glorious, fresh vegetables!  HEAVEN!  As we approach le charcuterie, my husband trips on the jagged cobblestone and falls.  His leg is instantly dripping with blood and his scrape demands attention.  As most men do, he immediately says, “It’s nothing, don’t worry”.  However, as we proceed to walk, the blood drips down onto his shoe and we are forced to start some mandatory clean up of his leg. (more…)

Packing for an Empty Nest Vacation

Vacation.  Spending quality time with family, touring exciting cities, hiking new mountains and tasting new foods are all images that are conjured up when I think of a vacation.   I love just about everything about a vacation-no dishes to clean, no beds to make, no laundry to wash, no time schedule that needs to be adhered to and the list could go on and on.Notre Dame Paris with my girls

But the idea of getting there is what stops me dead in my tracks.  I panic at the mere thought of having to pack. Procrastination sets in and I can’t seem to even decide which suitcases to bring.  Then my mind flashes forward to time in the airport trying to provide entertainment and supervising the numerous trips to the bathroom or nagging about an ipod that’s too loud or feet bumping against my seat.   But wait! It suddenly hits me like a ton of bricks:  I’m going on this trip sans children.  Images of me peacefully reading a novel and drinking hot coffee (not lukewarm after waiting in line for everyone’s coffee and bagel orders) while waiting for my plane immediately come to mind.

This very moment I feel a sense of loss.  (more…)

A Trip Down Food Memory Lane

Today is my eldest daughter’s birthday.   I spent a couple of hours baking some decadent dark chocolate fudge cupcakes with cherry filling and almond buttercream frosting.  This delicious concoction, made with just a splash (maybe a slight pour) of Chambord, is now officially the birthday cake for my now adult child.  The memory of this birthday will accompany the memory of these newfound cupcakes. chocolate cherry cupcakes

Last week I baked some cookies with three different chocolates, coconut and pecans and dubbed them, “Empty Nest” cookies.  Why? Simply because they were sent to college with my youngest daughter as she embarked on her future.   I now will never be able to make these without thinking of the day she left for college.

This all got me to start thinking of how much creating memories seems to involve food and vice versa- food creating a memory.  I began to take a brief inventory of some of my life’s memories and how food is related and these are the top 10 qualifiers that came to mind in rapid succession:  (more…)