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PROVENCE: GEOGRAPHY MATTERS
“Provence” has more efficacy as a "brand" than as a place. One rarely if ever hears any residents of the Vaucluse say that they live in "Provence." The word is heard frequently in its adjectival form: provençal.
As geography, the term "Provence" suffers abuse. The French consider contemporary 'Provence' to take in three administrative department:
Confusion pops up due to the administrative region PACA: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
When "Provence" is employed for the department of the Var (Toulon, St, Tropez) or the department of the Alpes-Maritime (Côte d'Azur) or even the five departments of the Languedoc-Roussillon, it is the "brand" asserting itself.
This is a regional distinction that Peter Mayle buys into 100% in his book Provence A-Z. In fact, if Mayle had been 'geographically-correct,' his iconic best seller would have been titled "A Year in the Luberon."
The Luberon and the Comtat Venaissin, referred to as the “Comtat,” are the two large regions within the Vaulcuse,
Category Archives: Food
The Mysterious Provence Olive Oil of Norma Kamali (New York Times)
“What’s the point,” was the bemused reaction of a confrere in the Vaucluse to a first read last fall of an article in the New York Times, “Steal My Vacation: Norma Kamali’s Provence” by Stephanie Rosenbloom. A footnote informed readers … Continue reading
Crillon Le Brave: A Romantic Rendezvous Heightened By Local-Produce-Cum-Local-Wine at the Bistrot 40K
In the pleasant verdant countryside of the Vaucluse, about a half-an-hour drive northeast of Avignon, stands a large proud stone edifice on the perched hill of a village in miniature, Crillon le Brave, which before it stretches out a commanding … Continue reading
Saint Didier: Awesome New Flavors at Silvain frères, Gnarly Nougat Heaven – Take Home the True Flavors of Provence
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey Shes an angel of the first degree Shes as sweet as tupelo honey Just like honey from the bee – Van Morrison – Spend some time tasting samples in the shiny boutique of Silvain … Continue reading
Olive Oil Wars: A Sunny Business with Shady Practices. Read the Label, Carefully.
The urge to indulge oneself in the delights of everything Provence is symptomatic of the impoverished assumption that everything in the region is authentic, e.g. made in Provence. Not so. Market day somewhere in Provence. You approach a stand displaying … Continue reading
Michelin Guide 2013: Two New Stars Rise in the Vaucluse – La Closerie in Ansouis and the Restaurant Prévôt in Cavaillon
There is pleasure in the predictable. When Michelin announced that first-time one stars were being awarded to the Restaurant Prévôt in Cavaillon and La Closerie in Ansouis in the Luberon, their gratified clients were hardly astonished as these establishments have … Continue reading
Tarascon: “MEO” – A Smart Wine Bar With Gastronomic Flair For All Seasons
“I have seen again for a glimpse, from a swift train, Beaucaire with the beautiful white tower, Tarascon with the square castle, the great Rhône, the immense stretches of the Crau.” Ford Maddox Ford, The Good Soldier On his Blackberry … Continue reading
Provence Pairings: Escalope de Veau and Ravoli Saint-Jean with an “Imagine,” a Red Vintage of Vindemio by Jean Marot
A quick recipe for a warm September evening: grill veal scallops in a pan with a bit of olive oil; cook small Saint-Jean spinach ravioli, a speciality “Dauphiné” (the ancient roman province) from Romans-sur-Isère; sauté mushrooms in olive oil, and mix … Continue reading
Provence Pairings: Chevre in Search of Locally-Produced Wines with Zippy Acidity
Chèvre, or goat cheese, is an acidic cheese in search of a naturally acidic wine. The white wines of the Southern Rhone often lack acidity due to nighttime temperatures that do not dip low enough for white grape varieties to … Continue reading
Zen Master Meets Gentleman Farmer Meets Saffron Chef at L’Aube de Safran, a Bed and Breakfast Hideaway in Le Barroux
The backstory of L’Aube Safran (“dawn of saffron” alludes to the time of the day when saffron is harvested): A Parisian couple – Marie an interior designer and Francois an architect – check out of the claustrophobic mash of urban … Continue reading
THE DOMAINE DE CAPELONGUE IN BONNIEUX: FOUR GREAT CHEFS CELEBRATE THE SEASON’S END WITH A “GOURMAND DAY” FRIDAY NOV 4
In the Luberon, many restaurants, hotels and resorts close the weekend after Armistice Day on November 11 and the Calavon Valley hibernates — a chilly slumberous sometimes rain-lashed place — until mid-March. In some quarters Anglo-Saxon types hold to the … Continue reading