Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Better News – Rue Granet

Photo from La Provence

The inspection that took place yesterday, at the site of the threatened buildings (see previous post), resulted in better news for most of those involved.  (more…)

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Aix – News on Loos

…or the lack of.  Long-time Aixcentric followers will know that the lack of bathroom facilities has long been an issue in Aix, ‘ville d’art, ville d’eau’, tourist-magnet, investor in all manner of public improvements.  But:

Can you guess how many public toilets there are in town? (more…)

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Chantal and Fabienne are offering a Christmas gift with a difference this year: they write, “For Christmas, would you like to offer a unique, linguistic, communicative and cultural gift? What about a French class gift voucher? After discussing it with you, Fabienne and I will organise an on line class for your relatives or your friends.  

The price is 30 euros / one hour. Contact us for more details: 

Destination Français, l’école de langue à Aix en Provence
Tél : 06 61 75 77 09 – 06 89 36 76 99
Site : http://www.destinationfrancais.com

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  • Le Tour du Pain
    A day in the life of the Chef Boulanger at Au Pavé du Roy
    Susan Gish writes: Sam and I went on a magical tour of Au Pavé du Roy: Artisan Patissier Chocolatier Boulanger Glacier Traiteur.
    Our rendez-vous was with Mme Laurence Campanella, who is the 3rd generation owner of the shop. She invited us to come on a morning in
    October, and we were very happy to accept her kind invitation.
    Entering the atelier, my first impression was how clean the bakery was.

    Everyone was wearing masks and working very cleanly.

    There are three Chefs: One for the Viennoisserie, one for the Patisserie
    and one for the Boulangerie. There are also bakers and apprentices.
    Le Tour du Pain in 3 stages:
    Stage 1: Viennoisserie
    Stage 2: Patisserie
    Stage 3: Boulangerie
    Stage 1: Viennoisserie: Our timing was perfect! There was a peloton
    of bakers in a row making pain au chocolat. One was cutting the puff
    pastry, another was filling with Valrhona chocolate strips, and another
    was folding the pastry.
    Three bakers all working together, riding the flat and then the hills
    together as a team, one pulling off to get to the oven.
    Theyd just finished forming the croissants and putting them into the
    oven as well. A tray of warm croissants came out and were drafting
    by us to deliver to the bakery and oh the smell was amazing!
    All are made with pure butter, pur beurre.
    Madame Campanella explained that Au Pavé du Roy is one of only two places in
    Aix-en-Provence that makes their own croissants.
    The Viennoisserie is also where the pain au raisin (escargot) and other
    breakfast pastries, are made. My favorite is their croissant made with
    pistachio creme and topped with slivered almonds. Or maybe the
    Nutella croissant! American style chocolate chip cookies, some with
    pecans, some with almonds!
    Stage 2: Patisserie: The next station was the patisserie. Here is
    where the magnificent cakes are made, the mille-feuille (pronounce
    that, beginner french students!), eclairs, fruit tartsAu Pavé du Roy
    makes their own ice cream and sorbet, and has decadent ice cream
    cakes! Cant wait to try one. In the freezer case was an ice cream
    cake with hazelnuts and a chocolate Hérissonne / Hérisson on top,
    guess what that is! (Answer: Hedgehog). They are an amazing
    chocolatier also. Chocolate cats, chocolate people, chocolate
    sculpture for every holidayOh, my gosh, navettes Marseillaises!
    We got one to try that day, yum!
    One of the bakers was making a pastry cream créme patisserie.
    But this area is busier later in the day. The morning is meant for
    breakfast pastries, breads and lunches.
    Stage 3: Boulangerie: The bread ovens and bread stations are in
    the far back of the Atelier. Which leads us to:
    A day in the life of the Chef Boulanger at Au Pavé du Roy.
    Chef Jean-Marc Cicala.
    3:00 am:
    Chef Cicala wakes up to go to work.
    3:30-4:00 am:
    He arrives at the atelier and lights the oven first.
    4:00-5:00 am:
    His team arrives. There is one baker and two apprentices.
    The baker and adult apprentice arrive at 4 am.
    The underage apprentice comes at 5 am.
    6:00 am:
    Everyone in the bakery has a coffee and one of their own
    croissants or pain au chocolat. (except lately with the lock down,
    it isnt possible to get the coffee from the Café next door)
    4:00 am – Noon:
    Following is the order and explanation of what the bakers do.
    Different breads require different amounts of kneading and rising.
    Pétrissage: Kneading the dough
    Pointage: Waiting for the dough to rise
    Façonnage: Shaping of the dough
    Stockage en chambre de pousse pour le lendemain:
    Cold Storage of the dough to retard the rise
    Cuisson: Cooking the bread
    Petrissage The first part of the process. The kneading machine
    is started. This is not your typical dough hook in a KitchenAid
    or a bread machine. Its quite a large machine and duplicates the
    motion of kneading by hand.
    Premiere PetrieThe kneading of the wheat flour baguette.
    PointageThe dough is put into the Chambre de Pousse
    (proofing oven) overnight for 10/12 hours. There it ferments;
    rises slowly, and after they are ready for the:
    Faconnage-The shaping or forming of the bread.
    There is a Deuxième Petrie
    A second kneading for their specialty sourdough baguette called,
    La Parisse. Its made from very high-quality flour whose recipe
    was developed by Gaëtan, Paris Meilleur Ouvrier de France 1997.
    Other Petries/kneading are for:
    Whole wheat bread
    Ciabatta (olive oil and wheat)
    Organic bread
    Einkorn petit épeautre – anciennes grains
    Seigle Rye
    Cereal breads multi-grain
    Sandwich bread
    Buns & Bagels
    Rustic breads
    While the kneading is taking place, the bakers cook the breads
    and alternate the work.
    They go back and forth between the above processes, depending
    on the type of bread that they are making.
    The apprentices bring the breads into the shop bakery all
    throughout the day, as they are made.
    On a typical day they make:
    150200 baguettes
    100120 banettes
    80-100 la parisse
    40-60 different specialty breads
    The same breads are made each day.
    Ingredients: Bread is only flour, water, salt & yeast.
    Nuts, honey, olive oil, dry fruits or vegetables, seeds are
    sometimes added.
    They use 1015 different local flours.
    (The bakery as a whole, uses as many local ingredients as
    possible. The flour, eggs, and fruit (when seasonal) are local.
    JeanMarcs work day ends. He goes home to eat his lunch with
    his family.
    I asked Chef Cicala a few questions about himself:
    Where have you worked?
    I have been at Pavé du Roy for 14 years, since 2006.
    I also worked in two different bakeries in Aix that are closed now,
    and 3 years in French Polynesia.
    When do you see your family?
    I see them in the afternoon, evening and every other weekend.
    Was anyone in your family a baker or a cook?
    If you have children, do they have interest in baking/cooking?
    No-one in my family was a baker or cook. I have one boy who is
    not really interested in baking.
    Do you enjoy being a Chef?
    I chose my job; I love making good bread!
    Finally, are you a sports fan?
    Im not fan of foot, my hobby is Judo; Im Judoka, a black belt.
    Thank you for reading, Le Tour de Pain. I hope it was pain-less.
    It was the yeast I could do to tell this story.
    Perhaps we can break bread together sometime soon!
    Au Pavé du Roy
    Artisan Patissier Chocolatier Boulanger Glacier Traiteur.
    04 42 26 22 81 9 Cours dOrbitelle just next to Hotel Roi René
    Open Tues-Sun 7:00am-8:00pm – aupaveduroy on Instagram.
    Photos by Sam Gish.


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French Magazine Service

If you are currently ‘stranded’ outside France and long for a wallow in French decor, cuisine, politics, news, here’s a service through which you can order your favourite titles on a week-by-week / one by-one basis.

No need for annual subscriptions! 

Same day dispatch worldwide. They offer a gift service too. Investigate here:  https://www.newsstand.co.uk/

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Just a note about La Grande Collecte, an annual appeal for foodstuffs and hygiene products which are needed this year more than ever. The Bouches du Rhone Banque Alimentaire is providing thousands of meals each day and have diminishing stocks: they are currently having to buy in nappies and baby milk from state-funds and sponsors’ donations.

Look out for collection points at supermarkets, 27, 28 and 29th November.

They also need more volunteers as so many of their regulars are retirees and not working through the pandemic.

More here:  https://ba13.banquealimentaire.org/information-covid-19-confinement-de-novembre-2020-la-ba13-reste-ouverte-la-collecte-annuelle-des-27

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pumpkinsLots of golden leaves on the ground and autumnal chills make warming dishes very welcome: this recipe makes the most of the colourful pumpkins that are brightening market stalls in Aix.  When I posted this 4 years ago, I used a shiny red potiron but any sort of squash would work. I  just rediscovered the post and remembered how much we liked this first time round.

Serve in deep bowls with crème fraiche and lots of mango chutney.  Serves 4

  1.  Fry a chopped onion in a splash of sunflower oil for 5 mins.
  2. Add 500g peeled and chopped pumpkin, 800g peeled and cubed potatoes, and 1 chopped cooking apple.
  3. Stir in 2 tsp of curry paste, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ginger + 2 bay leaves.
  4. Add 500ml boiling water with a crumbled stock cube, a handful of raisins and seasoning.
  5. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender.  About 20 minutes.  Keep tasting the adjust seasoning and curry strength.

Serve with rice or chunks of bread, crème fraiche and mango chutney.

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One for our occasional series of famous-people’s-houses-for-sale, a dazzling Riviera property which once belonged to the late Sir Sean Connery has come on to the market.  Villa Le Roc Fleuri at Cap de Nice is where he lived in the 70s and 80s – in fact some filming took place there for James Bond movies.  What an achievement for a young man, born into deprivation in inner city Edinburgh where they didn’t have a bathroom to their name.  Take a peek inside: https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/news/edinburgh-news/gallery/inside-sean-connerys-luxury-french-19218831

Yours for 30 million euros….

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Botticelli’s The Judgement of Paris

Just read that the forthcoming exhibition of Italian masters, posted here: https://aixcentric.com/2020/09/28/next-show-at-aixs-hotel-caumont/, due to begin on 17th December is now postponed.

It will take place in 2021, no date given.

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The illuminations are going up in town despite the ‘confinement’ which prevents people venturing out more than one kilometre from home for the whole of November.  But what are the plans for the children’s rides and the markets?  This is the current status.

Christmas Market – ‘Suspendu’ – decision end of month


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