For some reason, I am feeling a little blue today. Vacation is over. It's cold outside. I haven't had any time to write. Or I haven't made the time. I've cooked lately out of necessity, not just to try something new. (The eaters have not complained, though.) So, what popped into my head? Julie Andrews' voice singing to the Von Trapp kiddies, so I went through my sabbatical photos and pulled out a few...
The house above is a great place to start... A little Provence villa with a view. Pas mal, hein?
Olives being pressed into that lovely green liquid at Les Baux de Provence in late November. The owner grabbed my hand and stuck my right index finger into the vat so that I could taste it. The very same gentleman gave me my first fresh fig, plucked right off his tree, on a hot June day in 2005... I can still remember biting into it- a bit of a crunch and the taste of summer.
This tiny little lamb in the pasture looking at me. I had never seen such small ones before, nor had I ever seen older ones- I think they must have been teenagers!- running around the pasture, playing follow the leader, randomly leaping into the air.
Sunlight on the shutters in a house in Arles. I love French window boxes, almost always filled with flowers. The French have such a simple sense of style. Accessorize! Even your house can be prettied up with just the right accessory.
The Abbaye de Sénanque with the lavender in bloom. Heaven on earth. Imagine a hot dusty day, the sun beating down on fields filled with lavender and the scent all around you. A picnic under the shade of a pine tree complete with a blanket and a chilled bottle of white from Languedoc.
Real shutters in my favorite shade of green, opened during the day to warm the house, closed at night for privacy and to keep the warmth in.
The market in Arles. Sausages-- oui, le taureau, bien sûr. We are near the Camargue, with all its wild bulls, remember. Taste it first, then decide how many you would like to buy. There is always a deal to be made. 5 euros each or 3 for 12, madame.
A vineyard in Pic St. Loup. Harvest time approaches and the leaves are changing. Soon they will be crushed and become a lovely bottle of wine for someone to sip with their favorite someone else as they share a simple meal.
Or as they celebrate the end of another wonderful week spent seeing Italy and Provence. Where would we be without our friends? Too sad to contemplate.
The Venus of Arles. Safely tucked away in the town hall to be admired by passers-by on their way to conduct official business or by tourists who just wander in off the street seeking a little spot of shelter from the summer sun or the ravages of the Mistral.
Only to emerge on the other side in front of this fountain. These lions have guarded Arles for centuries, sitting at the base of an obelisk. Benches surround the fountain, providing a place to write a letter or postcard home or spend a few quiet minutes reading or people watching on a sunny day.
Pink flamingos in the Camargue, being admired by a couple of ducks. I, too, could watch them all day.
My first taste of shaved truffles, served over homemade pasta with a walnut sauce. I was quite a gourmande and could not get enough of the earthy taste and smell of these black diamonds from the market in Carpentras. Merci, René.
And a fruity red Chateauneuf-du-Pape to accompany the pasta and truffles. I do not have the words to describe this meal... I will just have to let my photos do the talking for me this time.
A perfect vacation. Sometimes fate just brings the most wonderful people into your life and gives you the opportunity to do take extraordinary adventures with them.
The Sabbatical Chef in action. Oh yes, in addition to all of the eating, drinking and sightseeing, I did indeed work. Not exactly singing for my supper, but close enough.
I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad...
Bon appétit, mes amis!
I dedicate this one to all my friends who have shared Provence with me...