Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Martigues is a small historic town, on the Etang de Berre and dissected by canals which lead out to sea.  It was painted by local artists then ‘discovered’ by the Fauves who arrived with bright paints to capture the light of this pretty Mediterranean port.  We have very much enjoyed walks here as well as visits to the Musee Ziem which displays many of these local pictures and is free to visit.

The town has an active tourist office who are offering the following specials…

Sunset Cruises

From 1st August, these Monday evening cruises take visitors around the canals, informed and entertained by the captain, a native of the town.

Details: 44 passengers max and dependent on suitably good weather.

From 19:30 on 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Aug,

12 euros pp, 3 and under free.

Camping Paradis

The popular TF1 show is filmed on a beach close to La Couronne, beautifully empty for most of the year except when the film crews arrive to recreate a typical French campsite with bustling reception chalet, beach bar and superette.  A tourist office guide leads the one-hour tour and divulges anecdotes and set secrets to delight fans of this warm-hearted show.


At 09:30, Tuesdays, 2 – 30th Aug.

4 euros for adults, 3 euros for children

Full details and reservations: https://www.martigues-tourisme.com/evenements/culture

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A walk along the promenade at Les Lecques, around the little port and out to sea along the jetty has always been a family favourite, but I’ve always struggled to find a vegetarian lunch after our walk.  It’s a typical French seaside resort with all the menu choices the locals obviously enjoy. Paninis/pizza slices have long been the only alternative.

So I was delighted to come across the Olala Café on a recent visit. (more…)

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The PACA region scored high in the Michelin 2022 rating of French restaurants, revealed during a star-studded ceremony held in Cognac on March 23rd

Now 3-stars: Villa Madie

writes journalist Stephanie Curtis.

Four restaurants of France’s southeast stepped up to one-star status, two others attained two stars, and, in one of the evening’s big surprises, the ultimate three-star rating was awarded to Dimitri Droisneau, chef of the Villa Madie overlooking the blue waves of the Mediterranean from Cassis. The only other chef to receive the coveted third star this year was Arnaud Donckele for Plénitude at Paris’s Cheval Blanc hotel.

The four restaurants which obtained one star are:

Villa La Coste

-Hélène Darroze à Villa La Coste (Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade) 

-La Bastide de Cajpelongue (Bonnieux)

-Ceto (Roquebrune-Cap-Martin)

-Une Table au Sud (Marseille) 

The new 2 stars:

-Le Blue Bay ( Monaco)

-Duende (Nimes)  (with a duo of chefs guided by Pierre Gagnaire (3 stars Paris)

This annual event, a sort of academy awards of restaurants, was held outside of Paris for the first time in the Michelin red guide’s long history, in an effort perhaps to “decentralize” its focus.

The city of Cognac, birthplace of Francois 1er and home of what is arguably the planet’s most prestigious and refined spirit, hosted some 200 chefs, 100 journalists, and innumerable other guests during three days of vineyard and cellar visits, tastings, and gastronomy offered by the great houses of Cognac, including Hennessy, Remy Martin, and Martell.

Anticipation and angst among an ocean of white-jacketed chefs positioned in the front rows of Cognac’s L’Avant Scène theater on Tuesday evening floated in the air just before the kick-off of the ceremony, but they quickly gave way to the emotion and joy of the chefs called up on the stage to receive their stars.

In Provence, there are now some 90 restaurants boasting at least one star in Michelin, which revered or detested, is the granddaddy of restaurant guides. For the full list of winners, go to:


After nearly two years of Covid 19, severely impacting restaurant activity, this year’s Michelin ceremony was a harbinger of a return to normal and proof of the resiliency of the French fine-dining sector.

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Warming Dish with Camembert

We had a Camembert to eat up and I suddenly remembered a French recipe which I hadn’t made for a long time and which was perfect for a winter’s feast: Baked Leek and Potato Gratin.  It’s really simple and quite delicious.  Here’s the recipe: (more…)

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Here’s an idea for a splendid day out in Provence right now – the tourists have in the main gone home and there are still sunny days to enjoy.

Boating on the lower gorges du Verdon isn’t as well known as Lac St Croix but all the better for that in terms of easy parking and access to boats.  And it’s very beautiful.


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Bowling along on a bike by the Med sounds like heaven to me, especially when there’s no traffic!

That’s the offer tomorrow, 10h -18h, when 4 kilomètres of the Corniche, from Malmousque to David, plus l’Estaque Plage, will be open to walkers, skaters, and cyclists.  Lots of free sporting activities – things to try – and of course, food.

Food-trucks and ‘terrasses éphémères’

The trucks will be dishing up icecream, Breton and Mexican specialities, now there’s a choice, as well as burgers and bagels.

The pop-up terraces have been provided by ‘la Ville de Marseille’ as a free service to local restaurateurs and cafetiers.  What a good idea, especially right now.

Renting a bike

Click here for details; 1000 nouveaux vélos électriques en libre-service

Sorry for late notification but only just stumbled across this nice event.




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Provencal markets are renowned for their fresh, seasonable produce as well as their instagrammable beauty.


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‘1001 Herbes‘ is a new branch of the chain of stores specialising in products based on CBD (cannabinoide), the non-hallucinegenic part of the cannabis plant.  They offer a full range of different oils targeting various stress or anxiety-related issues as well as holistic healthcare…plus you can book in for a massage from one of their specialists.  At 31 rue des Cordeliers. https://www.1001herbes.com. (more…)

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Here’s a one-pot supper, full of eastern spices, guaranteed to warm 4 people up on a chilly evening.

Serve with brown rice.


500g squash/pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into bitesize pieces*
3 tbsp oil
2 onions, diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into bitesize pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
½ red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp medium curry powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
400g can black beans * drained and rinsed
400ml can coconut milk
50g baby spinach

Toasted flaked almonds, to serve
2 tbsp coconut yogurt (or Greek)

Two comments:I used a bag of frozen butternut squash and simply tipped it in at stage 4 below.  Hadn’t got black beans in the cupboard so used kidney beans, not a good decision as they rather disintegrated.  In future I will use chick peas as they are more substantial.  Otherwise all went well…


1. If using squash or pumpkin, preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Put the pumpkin into a baking tray and toss with 1 tbsp of oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 20 minutes until cooked through and soft.

2. Meanwhile heat a large non-stick frying pan until hot. Add the remaining oil, then the onions, pepper, garlic, ginger, chilli and cumin seeds. Fry, stirring regularly for about 4 minutes or until the onions start to brown.

3. Add the turmeric, curry powder, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper, and cook for a further 1 minute. Next add the black beans to the pan along with the coconut milk.

4. Add the squash/ pumpkin to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and add the baby spinach. Cook for about 20 minutes. Taste and season with more salt, black pepper, if needed, and some chilli flakes if liked. Serve sprinkled with flaked almonds and with dollops of yoghurt.





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Aix: New Vegetarian Restaurant

What a time to be opening a new restaurant, but a young chef called Lise is doing just that.  ‘Sanctuary Coffee and Kitchen’ will be opening shortly in rue des Bernadines and I thank Caroline for the heads-up.
She told Aixcentric: “Lise let me try a few of her homemade delights (carrot cake, mantecao shortbread cookies, a vegan-orangy-choco scrumptious cake).  They are having a Free Tasting on Saturday 12th December, in the afternoon, offering tastes of their sweet samples – brownies, gingerbreads served with (maybe)  traditional massala Chaï.  It is due to fully and ‘officially’ OPEN DECEMBER 15, after 4 months of endless patience and 10 months of complete refurbishing work.”
The press release describes it as ‘une adresse green et feel-good’, just what we all need right now!
11 rue des Bernadines, Aix
Tues-Sat, 11-18.

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