Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Encore Provence

We all made it to Sablet, safe and sound. Our four grandkids, Avery, Dylan, Caedon and Madison, did very well according to their parents on the flights between San Francisco and Germany (Frankfurt and Munich) but were a little grumpy on the flight from Germany to Marseille.

As I wrote in a previous blog, I came over a day early, arriving on Sunday, to make sure the house was warm and stock the refrigerator and cupboards with the stuff we don't buy at the weekly market in Vaison-la-Romaine.

After I finished shopping at Intermarché and putting my purchases away, I headed to cousin Jean Marc and Christine's house in Clapier, northwest of Montpellier for a holiday lunch with my Uncle Élie and bunch of first cousins once removed.

We filled a long table, there were seventeen in all, my uncle, his wife Monique, cousins Jean Marc, Christine and Bernard, first cousins once removed Noémi, Guillaume, Aurélie, Hans, Claire-Lyse, Stephan, Anne-Emmanuelle, Nicolas, Matthias, Vincent, Camille and me.

After a leisurely lunch prepared by Christine - a great cook - I took off to Marseille Provence Airport to rendezvous with daughter Tricia and her family: husband Alvin, daughter Avery and son Caedon. Despite spending hours confined in an airplane, the kids were full of energy upon their arrival at the exit from the baggage area. Caedon was happy to see his Papa waiting for him.

Avery was all smiles as she rode atop the family's baggage out to meet me; she did offer immediately "Papa, I screamed a lot". Parents Alvin and Tricia were not sure if this outburst on the flight between Munich and Marseille was due to being sick and tired of being cooped up or because her ears were hurting; probably some of both.

A short night's sleep, up early, the kids were awake at 5 AM due to the 9-hours difference in time, we were one of the first patrons at the boulangerie and Café des Sports where we went for café au lait, coffees, and chocolat chaud - hot chocolate.

I am happy to be back in Sablet and see my friend Bruno who is patron - owner of Café des Sports. I returned at the end of the day for l'apéro, a pastis, the cost 1,50 Euro, this compares to probably $7.00 or $8.00 dollars in most American bistros. Before I left, he poured me another pastis and said "cadeau - gift".

In between my two visits to Café des Sports, we went to the market in Vaison-la-Romaine, bought fresh produce and also visited Lou Canesteou and stocked up with cheese for fondue, Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois, Parmigiano-Reggiano for risotto, and Reblochon, Banon, Pelardon and Roquefort for cheese plate.

We returned home and fixed a simple lunch of saffron pea risotto (made from locally produced saffron) and green salad. For dessert we had fruit we picked up at the market. At lunch, we were joined by wife Shirley, daugher Stephanie, her husband Earl and their children Dylan and Madison who had arrived while we were at the market on their flight from San Francisco.

After lunch and a short siesta, I went to Vaison Menager at the suggestion of Barbara from Cuisine de Provence and found my de-natured alcohol. A very eclectic store, I also bought a raclette oven, a le creuset non-stick saute pan and a iron screen to put in front of the fire place. I guess I am not sure if I am happy that Barbara suggested I go there since I spent so much money.

This morning we were awaken early again by Dylan calling out at 3 AM, Shirley went and got him and went downstairs so his mommy Stephanie and daddy Earl could sleep. I followed them down shortly after and found Shirley and Dylan concentrating on putting together a puzzle.

I am hoping that the kids will nap later today so they are not too cranky but not too much so they won't sleep tonight. Bonne journée!


  1. Hello Michel, I feel as if I have been personally introduced to you via Barbara's nomination! I love reading stories like yours especially as I am half French with family living in Provence but not near you, I don't think. Where is Pelissane in relation to you? I do have one question: is Le Creuset any cheaper where you are than in say, the UK?

    Happy New Year all the way from Istanbul!


  2. Hi Claudia. Thanks for checking in on my blog. Its nice to meet you this way. I had lunch with my cousins on Sunday and one had just returned from 5 months music study in Istanbul. He loved his time there and loved the food of Turkey. Pelissane is about 1 hour's drive south of where we live in Sablet.

    As to Le Creuset, I mentioned to the shop keeper that Le Creuset cookware is much cheaper in California than in France where it is fabricated. I wanted a Le Creuset non-stick saute pan which is the best thing ever invented for cooking egg dishes as the eggs don't leave eggs stuck on the bottom of the pan to clean up.

    I hope you have a very Happy New Year! I look forward to following you on your blog.


  3. Thanks, Michel! Also for the info re Le C. How funny I have never seen a signpost for Sablet.

    best wishes,