Posts made in January, 2014

Le fromage

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Le fromage

They say there are over 324 different cheeses in France – the number differs according to the source. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of French cheese and it is really only over the past 50 years or so, when travel to France became more accessible to us common folk that we have had the opportunity to discover all those marvellous local specialties. Cheese is so important to the French that many of them have the AOC designation. AOC stands for Appellation d’origine contrôlée, a  French certification that imposes a regionally specific quality on products from different areas, The concept of AOC , better known as a designation for wines, really started with cheese back in the 15th century when Roquefort’s region of origin was first regulated, and became official in 1925 when it received the first official AOC certification. The French were concerned that traditional food products might be threatened by modern developments (think pasteurisation). According to Kathe Lison in her excellent book The Whole Fromage, “… the early Roquefort producers clearly had interests other than tradition in mind back in the Middle Ages when they first asked rulers to make it illegal for competitors to use their name.” AOC or no AOC, learning about French cheeses is all about discovering new regions and wonderful new taste sensations. It adds a whole new level of enjoyment to travel.  You too can taste some of the products of the over 700 cheese-producing farmers in Provence by joining us next September for a magical week in the Luberon!...

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La galette des rois

Posted by on Jan 5, 2014 in News | 0 comments

La galette des rois

January 6 is the Epiphany, and in France, it is traditionally celebrated with a galette des rois, a scrumptious flaky almond cake with a bean or a tiny figurine (depending on where you celebrate) baked into the cake. In Provence, a santon – a small terracotta figurine depicting various figures of village life – is used. The person who finds the figurine in his or her slice of cake becomes king or queen for the day. I have read that in the French court during one of the Louis’ reign, whoever got the bean or figurine was allowed, as king or queen for the evening, to abolish all rules during his or her (albeit short) reign and a night of frivolity and sometimes questionable antics ensued. The French President, because of certain etiquette rules, is not allowed to have this privilege, so each January, a galette without a bean or figurine is served at the Elysée!...

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