Ready for Spring…. it’s coming!

The Luberon Valley.

Looking down on a garden in Ménerbes – getting green already.

The ‘La Caja’ China roasting box has been placed firmly at the top of my new BBQ wish list:

Although, called the La Caja China, the concept hails from Cuba.

There’s a pig and a chicken inside that box – along with coals burning down from the top.

A quick check

Coals burning away

Some of the accoutrements needed to make this whole thing work – quite an event

At La Caja China, we believe barbequing is a work of art meant to be shared with friends and family. However, we know many people don’t have the time to truly enjoy barbequing because of all the work required to cook meat with traditional grills and rotisseries. With the La Caja China roasting box, the work and time required to grill meat is cut in half. Our China box roasters can cook up to 100 pounds of meat in four hours, meaning you can prepare more food in less time. The BBQ box, known as a Cajun microwave in some areas, requires little supervision because it builds up and maintains an even heat fast and effortlessly.

Our La Caja China pig cookers and grills are perfect for personal and business use and have been used by master chefs, including Bobby Flay and Martha Stewart. No pig roaster will get your skin as crispy or meat as juicy as our China box. La Caja China is also portable, allowing for seamless transportation between events for caterers. Our family designed La Caja China in order to give everyone the best possible BBQ experience, regardless of their budget. We know a La Caja China will help you in your backyard, at your event or business, and leave you and your friends with a full stomach and a smile.

Interested, click here.

 

Creative use of a large stone for a letterbox.

Provence is literally built on stone walls. An ample supply of stone, coupled with fine masonry skills, have been handed down over the ages inot modern day Provence.

The skill of building dry stone walls was first brought to the are by the Romans from 50BC to 450AD. Then generations of medieval masons perfected the craft.

However, much of the early skill still happens to-day. Suitable stones are slected from the hills and old buildings, a sound foundation is dug and prepared and then stone by stone, the wall is built. It’s back-breaking work and in to-days OH&S environment, it is not uncommon to see the mason with  a back brace.

It’s not as easy as it looks!

Modern methods have, however, been brought into play with the structure behind the stone being created from cement bricks and reinforcing steel rods to withstand floods and anything else that nature could possibly do to destroy the masterpiece.

An ancient wall literally fraying at the seams.

 

Tastefully elegant, a new door hides a wonderful courtyard. A recent renovation in Ménerbes.

Peep over the wall and see the courtyard!

A misty morning in the Luberon – trees trimmed awaiting spring.

Bon Sainte Valentin!

From across the ocean….. with love always …..

 

 

The 2017 Michelin Guide is out, and let’s have a peep who cracked it in Provence.

The newest Michelin ratings for France were announced in early February, 2017. Below you’ll find a complete list of all the Michelin-starred restaurants in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region for 2017,  and the number of stars they currently hold.

There are now just two Michelin three-star restaurants in Provence: Le Petit Nice in Marseille and La Vague d’Or at the Residence de la Pinede in St. Tropez.

MICHELIN RATINGS FOR PROVENCE 2017
(BY DEPARTMENT)

LES ALPES DE HAUTE PROVENCE (DEPT 04)

Chateau Arnoux — La Bonne Étape *

Forcalquier / Mane — Le Cloître at the Couvent des Minimes *

Manosque — Dominique Bucaille *

Moustiers Sainte Marie — La Bastide de Moustiers *
LES HAUTES ALPES (05)

Briançon — Le Pêché Gourmand *

Saint Crépin — Les Tables de Gaspard *

Saint Veran – Le Roc Alto * NEW 2017
ALPES MARITIMES (06)

Antibes — Le Figuier de Saint Esprit *

Antibes (Cap d’Antibes) — Bacon *

Antibes (Cap d’Antibes) — Les Pêcheurs *

Beaulieu sur Mer — Le Restaurant des Rois *

Biot — Les Terraillers *

Cannes — La Palme d’Or **
Cannes (Mandelieu La Napoule) — L’Oasis **
Cannes — Le Park 45 *
Le Cannet (Cannes) — Villa Archange **
La Colle sur Loup — Alain Llorca *
Èze — Château de la Chèvre d’Or **

Èze Bord de Mer — La Table de Patrick Raingeard *
Grasse — La Bastide Saint Antoine *

Grasse (Magagnosc)– Au Fil du Temps *

Juan les Pins — La Passagère*

Menton — Mirazur **

Mougins — Le Mas Candille *

Mougins — Paloma **

Nice — Chantecler **

Nice — L’Aromate *

Nice — Flaveur *

Nice — Jan *

Le Rouret — Le Clos Saint Pierre *

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat — Le Cap at the Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat *

Tourrettes sur Loup — Clovis *

La Turbie — Hostellerie Jérôme *

Vence — Les Bacchanales *
Vence – Le Saint Martin * NEW 2017

BOUCHES DU RHONE (13)

Aix — L’Esprit de la Violette *
Aix – Mickael Feval * NEW 2017
Aix – Pierre Reboul at Château de la Pioline * NEW 2017
Aix (Le Tholonet) — Le Saint Estève *

Arles — L’Atelier de Jean Luc Rabanel **

Arles — La Chassagnette *

Les Baux de Provence — L’Oustau de Baumanière **

Cassis — La Villa Madie **

La Ciotat (Le Liouquet) – La Table de Nans – Auberge le Revestel *

Marseille — Le petit Nice ***

Marseille — Alcyone at InterContinental Hôtel Dieu *

Marseille — AM par Alexandre Mazzia *

Marseille — L’Epuisette *

Marseille — Une Table, au Sud *

Saint Rémy – Fanny Rey at Auberge de la Reine Jeanne * NEW 2017

Saint Rémy (Paluds de Noves) — La Maison de Bournissac *

Ventabren — La Table de Ventabren *

LE VAR (83)

Les Arcs sur Agens — Le Relais des Moines *

Bormes les Mimosa — La Rastègue *

La Cadière d’Azur — Hostellerie Bérard *

Callas — Hostellerie les Gorges de Pennafort *

Le Castellet – Christophe Bacquié at the Hotel du Castellet **

La Celle — Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle *

La Croix Valmer – La Palmeraie* NEW 2017

Fayence — Le Castellaras *

Lorgues — Bruno *

Lorgues – Le Jardin de Benjamin at Château de Berne * NEW 2017

Porquerolles Island — Le Mas du Langoustier *

Ramatuelle — La Voile at the Hôtel La Réserve Ramatuelle *

Saint Tropez — La Vague d’Or at the Résidence de la Pinède ***

Saint Tropez – L’Olivier at the Bastide de Saint Tropez * NEW 2017

Saint Tropez (Gassin) — Villa Belrose *

Tourrettes — Le Faventia at the Terre Blanche Hotel *

Tourtour — Les Chênes Verts *

LE VAUCLUSE (84)

Ansouis — La Closerie *

Avignon — Restaurant Christian Etienne *

Bonnieux — La Bastide de Capelongue **

Cavaillon — Prévôt *

Cucuron — La petite Maison de Cucuron *

Gordes — Les Bories *

Gordes — Pèir: Pierre Gagnaire at Bastide de Gordes *

Gordes (Joucas) — Hostellerie le Phébus *

L’Isle sur la Sorgue — Le Vivier *

Lagarde d’Apt — Bistrot de Lagarde *

Lourmarin (Cadenet) — Auberge la Fenière *

Lourmarin (Lauris) – Le Champ des Lunes * NEW 2017

Orange (Serignan du Comtat) — Le Pré du Moulin *

MONACO

Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse ***

Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo **

Le Vistamar at the Hotel Hermitage *

Le Blue Bay in the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel *

Elsa in the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel *

Yoshi in the Metropole Hotel *

Thanks to The ProvencePost web site for the info.

www.provencepost.blogspot.fr

 

February is the time when Provençal gardens get the big ‘clean up’. Shrubs and trees are trimmed and cleaned for the spring; flower beds prepared to withstand potentially one or two big frosts and then to emerge from winter hibernation.

At the end of Febraury, the fruit trees are pruned; in March the roses and olive trees; and then come the beginning of April, the decorative hedging such as buxes.

Bastide les Amis is no different – in fact the soundtrack of February in the Luberon is the chain saw.

View from Maison Olive’s terrace.

As we head towards another French Presidential Election, two of the candidates promise to retain the huge bureaucracy that ‘runs’ France. One candidate says that he will slash the numbers – and they’ve been striking already ‘in case’ he gets in!

Here’s an example of what?

Our water fees for 2017 arrived today. Deep withing the 10 pages of legalese about how the service provider is not repsonsible if one of their meters leaks, is this formula on how the rates are worked out:

They pay someone – sorry WE pay someone – to do this!!!!

 

I know, I know, it’s early but we’re excited!

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