Food Happenings

Some of the food we have eaten…

Being gluten-free here is a little bit of a challenge (and a bummer considering all the wooooonderful baked goods there are to be found.)  Through the years, I have basically let go of baking and replaced all of my cravings for sweets with dark chocolate.  However,  Géraud and his family and friends won’t hear of me skipping dessert.  Dinner at a friend’s house this Sunday included a wonderfully airy, gluten-free cake with chocolate chips, lemon zest and almond powder in place of flour (sorry I don’t have a picture of that one).  Géraud has been experimenting with brownies made with “farine de châtaignes” (chestnut flour) and he made the crêpes below with a mix of quinoa and rice flour.  Mmmm…

#1 Local pears from the Saturday morning market soon to become a pear-apple crisp.
#2 An upturned jar with green-lentil sprouts under way.
#3 Mushrooms we gathered during a walk (Géraud learned about hunting mushrooms from his grandfather.  It’s a big thing here.  When the season is right and it’s a day or two after a good rain you will find cars parked all along the little country roads left by folks of all ages searching for mushrooms.)

“Lait cru” written on the little signs mark the raw-milk cheeses.  The absolute majority of cheeses in France (of which there are hundreds and hundreds of different kinds) are unpasteurized.  Though I agree with eating “live” foods, I admit that when a super-duper moldy cheese appears on my plate I take a double-take.  These are moments when I remember that I am an American (though this doesn’t stop me from tasting!).

This picture is from New Year’s Eve at about 3:00 in the morning.  Our friend Pascal (a real high-energy kind of guy) is leading a group croissant making effort.  The table is outside under a tent so that when the croissant are ready, they can put them directly into the old-timey, wood-fired oven to the right.  The bottles of water are to be used as rolling-pins.  Since we were heading home at this point we didn’t get to try them, but we hear that they came out of the oven around 6:00 a.m. and tasted great!


Happy Birthday to Me: Part 1

As some of you know, and some of you don’t, I had my 30th birthday last week.  I received many a “Happy Birthday” email, which tickled me pink.  These next couple of blog entries are in response to the frequent requests to know “What did you do for your birthday in France? Tell me all about it.”

Well…Once upon a time, there was this girl named Annie Fain.  She had two wonderful hosts who serenaded  her in both English and French on the morning of her birthday.

…and took her out for a birthday lunch at one of their favorite restaurants called Frenchy-Wok Grill.

It was there that she experienced her first glass of kir (Champagne with a little bit of black currant liquor) and a French-Chinese Buffet.  What a combination eh?

…then to an island on a boat.  It was pretty cold and windy so they had the entire island to themselves.

After wandering for a while they needed a break, but not just any break; a chocolate break!

Then home for a nap and Crepes (imagine an accent mark over the first “e” of “crepe”).  Joelle and Daniel showed Annie Fain the tastiest way to eat a crepe: smear it with fromage blanc, sprinkle it with sugar and then squeeze fresh lemon juice on top.  Mmm…

The day ended with a Bal Folk dance in town.  Since it was Annie Fain’s 4th time going to the dance association with Joelle and Daniel she felt really comfortable finding a dance partner, jumping into dances she didn’t know, attempting to speak French (by now they all knew her as “the American girl” and were very, very friendly and patient about speaking with her) and playing my banjo with Lou Strings.    A very nice day indeed!

Stay Tuned for Part 2: A Weekend in Nice

*NOTE: For those of you who receive these entries via email and were confused by the blank spaces in the last post, those spaces were where I had included video clips.  If you are interested in checking out those videos go to: and got to the previous post called “Bal Folk.”