Tag Archives: food

The French Cheese Culture

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France is a culture of cheese, chief amongst the reasons we get along so very well. One of my favorite stops each Saturday at the market is with my local fromager, Clement. His wife’s family raise sheep and have been making cheese for generations. He attends five different markets each week, selling only the finest fromage, has been utterly sweet to me, and is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about his products.

For this particular cheese plate I created on an unexpectedly balmy December afternoon I asked Clement to recommend a variety of cheeses from different regions of France with different textures, colors, and flavor profiles. Some young, some aged, soft, firm, creamy, cow’s milk, goat, sheep.  His suggestions of 5 cheeses (4 of which are available in the US from Murry’s Cheese, my FAVORITE cheese store in New York, and linked below!) led to the most beautifully decedent platter mixed in with a symphony of dried fruits, nuts, olives, tapenades, honey and saussions (cured meats) from the local market.

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Persimmon Holiday Loaf

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As the season has turned and holiday celebrations are upon us, the beautiful shades and tonalities of the produce at my market have noticeably shifted. The bounty is now filled with walnuts, pecans, chestnuts, dried apricots, golden raisins, clementines, a vast assortment of candied fruits for which the region is famous.

Perhaps most spectacular, these deeply rich orange persimmons abound.  I had never tasted a persimmon before, however they were far too beautiful to simply not try. As I was inexperienced in their use I looked to a James Beard recipe and a friend, along with the inspiring colors and flavors abounding in the market to create this absolutely delicious (and super easy!!!) Holiday Persimmon Loaf which I encourage you to try this wintery weekend if you too find yourself standing over a basket of “the fruit of the gods” and wonder just what to do with these orange tinted beauties.

 

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A Provencal Holiday Party with Ecco Domani Wine

If there is one thing to do in Provence it is to eat. The food and especially the ingredients in the south of France, combined with the nearby wine regions both here and in Italy, are insanely good. After being here this past May I swore I could never eat strawberries from anywhere else in the world again. It was a transformative experience and made me rethink the power of good food.

The farmer’s market… NYC vs. Provence

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A Picnic in Provence

  A picnic in Provence

Anyone who has been to Provence knows the south of France has the most stunningly opulent markets. Delicately viened melons, the softest greens and figs so lush they break open in your market bag revealing their dark red seed. Cured meats: wild boar, sun-dried tomato, olive, chèvre. And the cheese… I die for the cheese.

Today’s adventure, a picnic overlooking the ruins of a famed chateau, tucked just above the mountainous village of Lacoste. On the menu: oysters which I shucked myself, washed down with a coupe of Champagne, followed by sticky red grapes, figs, olives, saucisson, and cheese.  I arranged everything on a beautiful blue and white picnic blanket I found in the market and lay peacefully watching the sun fade off the vines of the valley and appreciating the rich flavors of Provence. Delectable. 

Un samedi parfait.

A picnic in Provence A picnic in Provence



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