The visual feast continues

Geraniums

Geraniums

 

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Local crafters making Wally happy with little birdies

Local crafters making Wally happy with little birdies

 

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We seem to be making it a habit of going to 20th anniversary events these days. Last week it was Le Marmiton’s 20th, this weekend, the 20th annual Maubec Hortifleurs – a traditional flower festival for the entire Luberon region.

Local nurseries primp and prime their plants to full flower in time for the show, the local mechanical agents showcase their products and, naturally, there is ample food, wine and beer. The Hortifleurs is the only event in Provence we have ever been to which has a beer tent!

In cases like these, the pictures tell a thousand words..

Part of the flower festival with the old village of Maubec in the background

Part of the flower festival with the old village of Maubec in the background

 

Choices are hard to make

Choices are hard to make

 

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Colour, colour everywhere

 

A busy time

A busy time – especially for Instagram

 

Ornamental cherry saplings

Ornamental cherry saplings

 

 

 

logo final total plak

 

Le 5 arrives in Ménerbes

Glitzy Saint Tropez has the iconic Le Club 55 (Club Cinquant-Cinq), but now the Luberon can boast its own version – Le 5 in the Hilltop village of Ménerbes. No relation to the Riviera institution, Le 5 is taking over the panoramic terrace, which has various incarnations over the years.

The brainchild of La Veranda owners and their team, Hubert Tarbouriech and Aurelio Rocha, Le 5 will serve bistrot-style meals for lunch and throughout the afternoon. Pastries and cakes from the Le Veranda chefs will also complement the fare.

Le 5 has one of the most magnificent views in the Luberon and all the seating will be outside on the terrace. Upstairs, in the ‘old pub’ will be a selection of linens and fabrics for sale.

Imagine tables, chairs, umbrellas, a bit of summer greenery and this is your view from Le 5!

Imagine tables, chairs, umbrellas, a bit of summer greenery and this is your view from Le 5!

Le 5 will be opening on 1 April 2015 until the end of the season. Opening hours are 11h00-18h00, and will not affect the operating of big brother, Le Veranda, which has the enviable reputation as one of the Luberon’s finest restaurants. Opening days are Tuesday-Sunday, however, during the initial launch period the owners will be concentrating on weekend trade.

For early reservations and more information, call Le 5 on +33 (0) 4.90.72.31.84  

'Dog'Violets abound in our garden at this time of the year

‘Dog’Violets abound in our garden at this time of the year

If you see a violet in the wild, it is most likely to be the Common Dog-violet; this common and widespread plant lives happily in many different habitats including woodland, grassland, heaths, hedgerows and old pasture. It flowers from April to June but its flowers are not scented, unlike those of its cousin, the Sweet Violet. The latter was used in Ancient Greece as a perfume and Medieval Britain as a deodorant.

The purple flowers of the Common Dog-violet resemble those of pansies. It has heart-shaped leaves.

Madame got heavily involved in the French Food Week spirit by really ‘pushing the envelope’ with a magnificent Lamb Shank Pie – serving 14 people.

Here it is in all its glory –

Lamb chanks all cooked and standing upright; a rich herbed gravy

Lamb shanks all cooked and standing upright; a rich herbed gravy

 

Strips of pastry were wound over the top, leaving the bones of the shanks exposed

Strips of pastry were wound over the top, leaving the bones of the shanks exposed

 

Out of the oven she came.

Out of the oven she came.

 

The accompaniment - roasted vegetables all stacked in rows.

The accompaniment – roasted vegetables all stacked in rows.

It looks great, but tasted even better.

Part of the Palais des Papes, in Avignon

Part of the Palais des Papes, in Avignon

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This week is French Food Week (isn’t it every week?), all over the world. To celebrate, here is another peep into our Le Mirande day in Avignon.

Le Marmiton - the programme cover

Le Marmiton – the programme cover

 

Chef Julian Allano blow torches the foie gras

Chef Julian Allano blow torches the foie gras

 

The end result: Foie gras torched with flame, roasted apples and honey. Rich but delicious!

The end result: Foie gras torched with flame, roasted apples and honey. Rich but delicious!

 

Kariem Abou el Ella prepares the famous Crepe Suzettes

Kariem Abou el Ella prepares the famous Crepe Suzettes

 

The Head Chef at La Mirande, Jean-Claude Aubertin prepared this dish - wrapped rabbit mince seasoned the herbs/

The Head Chef at La Mirande, Jean-Claude Aubertin prepared this dish – wrapped rabbit mince seasoned the herbs.

 

Some of the guests, feasting, drinking and talking.

Some of the guests, feasting, drinking and talking.

 

One of the local characters - serious business this food!

One of the local characters – serious business this food!

 

It wouldn't be a French 'event' without the live music.

It wouldn’t be a French ‘event’ without the live music.

 

 

Macaroons with dark chocolate and passion fruit

Macaroons with dark chocolate and passion fruit

 

Since 1994, the famous La Mirande Hotel in Avignon has welcomed numerous international and multi-Michelin starred chefs to its cookery school Le Marmiton.

Throughout the year, cookery classes are held in the 19th Century kitchen and are a ‘hands on’ experience for the participants as they leanr the tips and skills from some of the best chefs around. Then, each year in March a showcase of the classes, courses and the Le Mirande facilities are held.

We took the short trip to Avignon on Sunday and what an experience!

Le Mirande is situated just behind the Popes' Palace in the old city of Avignon

Le Mirande is situated just behind the Popes’ Palace in the old city of Avignon

Le Mirande is privately owned – and it shows. Immaculate service, furnishing in the Louis XIV and Louis XV period, which means heavy drapes, subdued lighting and well appointed pieces dotted around the vaulted ceilings.

The format is tasting plates and glasses of wine from local Rhone Valley vineyards. Think Chateauneuf-de-Pape, Gigondas etc. You buy books of tickets at 4€ each and a ticket buys you either a glass of wine or a plate from an extensive list cooked in front of you by the chef as you stroll through the diningrooms, cellars and kitchens.

You take your plate back to the living areas and silver service, white tablecloths and friendly waitrons complete the picture.

The 19th Century kitchen where the cooking school is situated

The 19th Century kitchen where the cooking school is situated

Jean-Claude Aubertin, the Head Chef of Le Mirande and multi-starred both in London and Avignon, burns one of his cook books! Why? We do not know! A bit of theatre!

Jean-Claude Aubertin, the Head Chef of Le Mirande and multi-starred both in London and Avignon, burns one of his cook books! Why? We do not know! A bit of theatre!

** The only possible explanation for burning a recipe can be gleaned from an American Chef – Todd Webber who says “burn your recipe books and cook with soul, feel and your own taste”.

 

 

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France’s Minister of Culture, Fleur Pellerin, the chief guardian of the French language, told The Local on Wednesday that she saw no point in protecting French from outside influence like English – a sign that the famous blockade against English words has been lifted.
Are the French about to end their famous resistance to the invasion of English words into the language of Molière?

France’s Minister of Culture, Fleur Pellerin, who is a fluent English-speaker, suggested a dramatic change in attitude from the government towards the endless incursion of English words into French. Pellerin, who dubbed herself “the minister of the French language”, told The Local on Wednesday that France must realize “the world it is in” and that its language is “enriched by outside influences”.

“We need a dynamic approach towards the language. Of course I want to defend the French language but not to the point of preventing any influence from outside,” she said.

“We need to be able to understand the world we are in and that our language is enriched by external influences. French has always been a language that has been enriched by words from other languages,” she said. Pellerin was speaking on the same day she appeared at an event for the annual French Language and Francophonie Week, which starts this weekend.

“French is not in danger and my responsibility as minister is not to erect ineffective barriers against languages but to give all our citizens the means to make it live on,” she told the audience. In the past the “immortals” at the Académie Française, sometimes dubbed France’s language police, have often been ridiculed both in France and abroad for their fierce resistance towards English.

Their struggle has often been seen as in vain, given that the younger generation and businesspeople sprinkle their language with English words.

‘I am not a fanatic’

And the culture ministry’s attempts to ward off the encroachment of English by creating new French words has also been laughed off, notably its bid to replace “email” by the word “courriel” and more recently “hashtag” by the word “mot-dièse”. Korean-born Pellerin, who is also fluent in German, believes it is important to create “possibilities” in French but she also said she’s not a “fanatic” like the folks at the Académie Française.

“English has always fascinated me because it’s easy to create new words or join two words and make a new word,” Pellerin told The Local after a meeting of the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris, adding that her favourite word was “serendipity” which she says has officially been added to the French language.

“I want French to be a living language. Today we have around 250 million French speakers and in 30 years there will be around 700 million speakers of French, mainly in central and northern Africa.”

Nevertheless she points out that some English words creeping into French do cause a problem for French speakers, notably any words referring to the digital economy like “e-commerce”. The main problem being that the French pronounce “e” more like “ugh”. “A word like e-commerce has no sense in French from a linguistic point of view, it’s a pronunciation imported from abroad and a linguist told me it’s hard to explain it to young people, why it is pronounced differently to how is written,” said Pellerin.

French linguists cheered the shift in position, saying it did away with pedantry in favour of a more open approach.

Alain Rey, author of a dictionary on the history of French and a member of a Commission on French Terminology, said attempts to stop the adoption of some commonly used words were ridiculous.

He pointed out that the word “challenge”, for instance, in fact originally came from Old French (“chalonge”) before being taken up in English.

“Passing laws (against loan words) is to tilt at windmills,” Rey told AFP.

A language ‘needs to live’

A Haitian-Canadian writer, Dany Laferriere, said at the culture minister’s launch event that “a language needs to live first of all, otherwise it’s all just ideology”. Another linguist and author on the French language, Henriette Walter, said that “it is annoying” when foreign words are used to substitute perfectly good and common French words. “But when one needs a new word for a new object, say a plant that comes from another country, one is rather pleased to have a word to refer to it,” she said.

The French and Francophonie Week celebrating the French language, spoken by 274 million people in different countries around the world, begins on Saturday.

Article from The Local (www.thelocal.fr)

[Thanks, Tienie!!]

A fun interlude…

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Seen at the famous culinary hotel La Mirande in Avignon

 

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