Provence is the one of the most googled words on the planet, and so many authors have written about the country, you are really spoilt for choice. The local.fr has taken the plunge and gone for a Top 10. The following days will list them, in random order.

All books are available on amazon.

 

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The Only Street in Paris

France’s cook book king David Lebovitz recommends recent release The Only Street in Paris, by Elaine Sciolino.

“She captures a small part of Paris (the rue de Martyrs), a microcosm of the city, and it reveals much about French culture as she describes the pastry shops, fish markets, fromageries, and other businesses that line one of my favorite streets in Paris,” he tells The Local.

“Time has changed the feel and composition of the neighborhood, as it has to the rest of Paris, and she does a remarkable job chronicling how France has held on to its past while at the same time, works to maintain what makes it so special.”

 

tarte-tatin-recipe

Legend has it that the tarte tatin was a happy accident! In the 1880’s at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, about 100 miles (160 km) south of Paris, the sisters Tatin were the owners and managers. Stéphanie Tatin did most of the cooking, and overworked one day, she started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. It was too late to start again so she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, quickly finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven. She cleverly turned the tart upside down and served it. Her dish was a huge success with that day’s diners and it has never looked back.

A true classic French dessert, French Chef Daniel Galmiche adds his own touch to the traditional apple pie to tickle your taste buds and bring you the best Tarte Tatin recipe ever!

Preparation time 15 minutes, plus chilling
Cooking time 1 hour

Ingredients

220g/7¾oz ready-made puff pastry
Plain flour, for dusting
120g/4¼oz/heaped ½ cup caster sugar
40g/1½oz unsalted butter
1 rosemary sprig, leaves only, roughly chopped
3–4 apples such as Cox, Reinette or Golden Delicious, peeled, quartered and cored
Large pinch of toasted flaked almonds, plus extra for sprinkling
Crème Fraiche, to Serve

Method

best-tarte-tatin-recipe-everRoll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface, then cut out a circle slightly bigger than the size of a 20cm/8in flameproof baking or tatin dish. Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and place the pastry on a baking sheet, cover with cling film and chill for 25–30 minutes. This will prevent the pastry from shrinking during cooking.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Melt the sugar gently in the baking or tatin dish over a medium heat until golden brown, remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Sprinkle about a quarter of the rosemary leaves over. Arrange the apples tightly along the edge of the baking or tatin dish in a circle, then make smaller circles of tightly fitted apples within this circle until the based is covered and all the apples are used. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle the remaining rosemary and toasted flaked almonds over the apples and place the pastry on top, pushing the edges into the dish. Return the tin to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

Remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. Put an upside-down plate the size of the dish on top of the tart and, holding both the plate and dish, flip to unmould onto the plate and sprinkle with extra almonds. Et voilà – a perfect tarte tatin with rosemary. Enjoy while warm. Delicious with crème fraîche.

This recipe was taken from The Good Life France Magazine September 2015 – free to read online and download – full of fabulous features and delicious recipes…

 

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A treasure trove of abandoned, rusting Second World War-era cars has been discovered in a small quarry in rural central France.

They were likely hidden away at the start of the war to avoid them being requisitioned, and were forgotten about by the end.

The cars were photographed by Belgian PE teacher and urban explorer Vincent Michel.

The 56-year-old said: “It felt like we were walking back in time, 70 years ago, and I just wondered how on earth it was possible!

“We suppose the cars were brought into the quarry at the start of the war to stop them being seized.

“After the war, nobody took them out from there, forgotten forever. The owner of the quarry added a few more cars some years later.

“Almost all the cars were empty, with the shells the only things remaining.

“Shortly after we were there the owner pulled a few of them out to sell at auction, but most of the cars are still at peace inside the quarry, too damaged to move.

“It was an unbelievable experience, and I really hope to find a similar place in the future.”

News Source: The Telegraph, UK.js114759753_caters-news-agency_wwii-car-discovery-large_transwsm3hskyb1s8n9mpygoigwqr7htn0djtvgl3czzlwxo

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The main bridge in the village over the Sorgues river.

 

With the really wet and rainy November, water flows at Fonteine de Vaucluse have reached a record 63 cubic metre per second. That’s a considerable amount of water!

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Looking up river – nearly in the restaurants !!

The weirs are holding firm - we hope!

The weirs are holding firm – we hope!

 

 

An ex-pats 'for sale' sign.

An ex-pats ‘for sale’ sign.

Around hundreds of dinner tables, in many bars and brasseries, and on the golf courses of Europe, UK ex-pats huddle and ask the question post-Brexit – “What is going to happen to us?”

French entree.com reports as follows..

The UK press are reporting that “HUNDREDS of thousands of British Expats are to be granted the right to carry on living on the Continent after Brexit.”

Senior government figures have reportedly, told business leaders that only “a few” of the 27 European Union member states are yet to agree the outline of a “reciprocal rights” deal for Britons in the EU, and EU nationals living here.

The Government said no agreements had yet been struck, but there is speculation that any deal agreed will be announced at a key EU summit in Brussels next month.

The UK Prime Minister Theresa May told business leaders at the CBI on Monday: “I want an early agreement on the status of UK nationals in Europe and EU nationals here, so that you and they can plan with certainty.”

Westminster sources are quoted as saying Mrs May had raised the issue of reciprocal rights for Britons overseas and EU nationals in the UK in her talks with other leaders in recent months.

Although the above sounds like good news for Expats living in Europe the Telegraph is quoting a Government source saying: “We hope and expect to guarantee the reciprocal rights of EU and British citizens, but this is premature and wrong. No deals have been struck, formal or informal.

“The Government has been clear that it wants to see this issue resolved, as long as that can be done in both directions.”

 

 

Behind the large oak trees are olive trees at the Bastide. Frotunately decorative!

Behind the large oak trees are olive trees at the Bastide. Frotunately decorative!

French olive growers are expecting the 2016 harvest to be a disappointment as a severe drought has hit the country during the summer months.

The World Meteorological Organization has expressed concerns in a recent report that 2016 will “very likely” be the hottest year on record as the average temperature is 1.2℃ degrees above pre-industrial levels, and France has obviously not been spared by the phenomenon. Scientists have stated that the impacts of climate change would come sooner and harder and the French olive growers have been at the receiving end of a pretty rough year in terms of drought.
The olive harvest has just started in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (often abbreviated as PACA), France’s most important olive production territory. Rodolphe Serratiozo, an olive grower from Aix-en-Provence expressed concerns over what is beginning to look more and more like a poor harvest.

“Look at this tree,” he said to a TF1 TV reporter while pointing at one of his olive trees, “Usually we are able to harvest around 15 kilograms of olives out of it. Now? I’d be happy if I can get 2 kilograms of olives out of it. I can’t say right now how much olive oil I’ll be able to produce this year but I’m expecting to produce one-third of the usual,” he added.

Rodolphe Serratiozo is not the only olive grower who have been hit hard by the recent drought. Laurent Rossi, olive production supervisor and owner of a mill in Mouriès (a city also located in the PACA region), is also dealing with the aftermath of the drought. When asked by 20minutes.fr about how the current harvest was going he sighed, paused, and answered: “Terrible.”

So what could French olive growers have done in order to prevent the drought from affecting their harvest that much? Installing irrigation systems would have sounded like a logical answer but unfortunately for the growers those systems are still expensive. Most French olive growers are already struggling to make ends meet.

This year’s mediocre harvest is terrible news for olive growers, who were just recovering from a terrible 2014 harvest when the olive fly had hit the French olive trees, causing severe damage. 2014 was the worst year in terms of olive harvest on French soil since the famously disastrous 1956 harvest season.

This year’s poor harvest generates tough financial challenges for French olive growers as the repercussion is twofold; on one hand, they will very likely earn less money out of their harvest and on the other hand they are being put in a tough spot regarding their loan reimbursing capacity.

French consumers have also expressed concerns about the situation.

Simple economics suggests that olive oil prices are expected to rise given that the supply has dropped significantly from last year. As France’s unemployment rate has risen to near-historic levels in the past few years here’s little doubt French consumers will be very aware of olive oil prices as the product is already comparatively expensive to other cooking oils.

Moreover, many French consumers have been wondering if the quality of olive oil would be affected as well. It is important to note that a decrease in quantity does not necessarily equate to a decrease in quality, thus the caliber of French olive oils should not be a concern.

France produces on average around 5,000 tons of olive oil annually, accounting for 0.2 percent of the world supply. Olive growing, as well as olive oil production in France, is concentrated in thirteen counties, all located in the PACA region.

News Source: oliveoiltimes.com

 

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The local.fr reports as follows:

We already know the French take their Baguettiquette seriously – but this is a new extreme.

The Le Darz bakery in western France’s Finistère has quite literally taken baguettes in a new direction by turning the dough into a neat U shape before putting it in the oven.  The reason: So people can carry them more easily home if they’re taking a bike or scooter.

“It’s the Biker’s Baguette,” the bakers wrote in a viral Facebook post.  “No need to break it in half, it’s already folded in two before it’s baked.”

And as anyone who has ever transported a loaf of the crusty bread can attest – this could just be a genius idea in space-saving and crumb-reducing. The concept took the internet by storm on Tuesday, with thousands of Facebook users sharing the pictures and the story getting picked up on news channels across France.

“We made it as a nod to all the bikers, but also to amuse ourselves too. We’re ecstatic that you like it.” The bakers wrote that they only charge an extra five centimes for the baguette. “Imagine folding 100 baguettes – it takes time you know,” they explained.

Now to find out if they do deliveries to elsewhere in France…

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The centre fountain at the entrance to the Chateau alsways has some novel items for sale.

 

For over 30 years, Edith Mezard and her team have been doingthe finest hand embroidery of traditional linens and fabrics. Forgot mass-produced, these are the real handiwork and every piece is unique.

Edith works from her home – a 17th Century Chateau (Chateau des Ange) situated in the tiny hamlet of Lumieres between Coustellet and Apt in the Luberon Valley. The chateau has a colourful history – during world War 2, it was a German officers’ mess.

Each year, Edith branches out from her embroidery and sells Christmassy items, unique and carefully chosen. Those in the know, shop early!

For more information, click here.

 

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Near Lumieres in the Luberon.

Near Lumieres in the Luberon.

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