Posts Tagged ‘A Table’

Used to the typical British supermarket-scrum at Christmas, I was amazed arriving in Aix at the care and attention that goes into putting together the Provencal Christmas.  My new French friends would recommend this boulanger for the buche de Noel and that cave for the vin cuit.  I also learned about the treize desserts which have graced the table on Christmas Eve from time immemorial. 

But to my surprise this week, I read that these treize desserts are not all that traditional at all.  The current issue of A IMG_6474Table explains that (more…)

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On 1st July 2012, a 7 minute hailstorm completely ruined a year’s crop of grapes at the Chateau de Roquefort vineyard near Aubagne.  It was catastrophic.  But happily, 35 vignerons across Provence pulled together to contribute grapes for the owners who have now bottled this wine which is on sale as la cuvée Grêle 2012.  And, good for them, all the kind contributors are listed on the label.   Click the link for details of the wine. http://www.deroquefort.com/uploads/media_files/document/orig/073/073_303_e96ec1d471f8d0cdaa1464e8f754da8acb45a5c1.pdf

I came across this story in the new edition of  ‘à table’ which has just gone on sale for 2,80€. a table

It’s a very good issue, with a seasonal focus on pancakes.  There are recipes for preparing them and also reviews of the two specialist creperies in Aix: L’Ambassade de Bretagne and La Crêpe Sautière.  They photographed and analysed the main course and dessert pancakes, and then comment on the quality of service and value for money.  Interesting!  Lots of other info on seasonal vegetables, what to do with leeks, how to tell the difference between mandarines, clementines and tangerines, and where to eat in various country towns.

And finally, the nun’s farts or pets de nonne!  I have Anne and Kirk Woodward to thank for reminding me about these seasonal treats.  They organised a recent bloggers’ meeting and these tiny sugary cakes were a great hit.  Kirk explained the story:  during dinner preparations at the Abbey of Marmoutier in the 1400s, a novice named Agnes stunned the ears of the nuns. She was so embarrassed that she dropped a spoonful of batter in a pot of hot oil.

They are delicious but are only made between Chandeleur (Feb 2nd) and Carnaval/Easter time.  So hurry to the boulangerie!  Anne and Kirk’s blog can be found on http://musicandmarketsblogspot.com.  The pets de nonne are sold at Wieber in the place Richelme (opp. Happy Days café) and Costa which is up rue Gaston Saporta on the left, after the Cathedral.IMG_4798

Don’t they look good!

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The best way to chill your rosé, I learn from ‘A Table’, La Provence’s latest publication, is to tie a string around its neck and drag it through the sea from the back of your boat.  And here’s me faffing around with a fridge all these years!  But much of the advice in the magazine is pertinent:

There’s a listing of the region’s top rosés, including choices from local sommeliers but also usefully listing the top 3 from each of the usual supermarkets eg Carrefour’s best rosés etc.

Foodwise, there’s advice on how to put together a truly Provençal cheese-platter – Brousse du Rove, Tome d’Arles, Petit chevre frais, Picodon and Banon – plus tips on putting together a good picnic.

There are reviews of the region’s ’10 restos trendy’ and their verdict on which hotel is best for eating – Mama Shelter or the Radisson Blu.  (The former gets a limited thumbs up but the reviewer wasn’t enthusiastic about either……)

A good read – at kiosks from this weekend, 2€80.

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It’s nearly Easter and maybe you are in search of chocolate?  Who needs an excuse!  ‘La Route Gourmande’ is a booklet which gathers together the patissiers, glaciers, chocolatiers and confiseurs working in our region.  It groups them into four itineraries – Marseille, Pays d’Aix, Côte Bleue and Alpilles – and gives full details of each small business.

For Pays d’Aix, for instance, they recommend Chocolat Puyricard (www.puyricard.fr)  who have 100 varieties of chocolate, Au Péché Mignon in rue Chabrier (www.patisserie-weibel-aix.com) for its castel praliné, Confiserie Bremond and Confiserie Leonard Parli (www.leonard-parli.com) for calissons,  Meresse Macarons (www.meressemacarons.com), Pâtisserie Riederer for its tarte aixoise (www.riederer.fr) and Le Moulin du Cacao in Venelles for their pitcholinette provencale (www.chocolateynard.com).

All the itineraries are on-line at www.routegourmade.cma13.fr where you can find the downloadable guide – but the booklet is available free if you go into Confiserie Bremond in rue d’Italie.

If you are going out into the countryside this weekend, why not arm yourself with a copy of the new ‘A Table’ which has just hit the news-stands.

This has over 70 pages packed with ideas and recommendations for eating out in Provence – and also has recipes for if you are staying at home.  There is an interesting section on the initiative Bistrots de Pays  which is a branding umbrella for cafés in small communities where depopulation is a real issue.

Their aim is to be, once again, the centre of village life, providing a welcome, a coffee and a quality meal for both the locals and visitors.  They typically use local products and also serve as outlets for bread, cigarettes, newspapers or basic foods.

‘A Table’ provides a handy map and details of all these cafés – useful to keep in the car while exploring the countryside.  Good to support local enterprise!

Much nearer to home this weekend, there’s a free concert of organ music at the cathedral in Aix.  ‘Joie de Pâques’ includes music from Bach, Mendelssohn, Franck and Dupré.  17:00hrs on Easter Monday (9th) – see www.orgueplus.net.

Happy Easter!



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