Joel Durand… Ma Cuisine Au Chocolat
4 September 2009 | VA Notes Provence

Joel Durand… Ma Cuisine Au Chocolat

Joel Durand is my favourite chocolatier not only in the village of Saint Remy de Provence but pretty much anywhere. His alphabet confections are a dream come true for chocolate lovers. He says, ‘Chocolate making is my passion. The fascinating complexity, range of flavours and different stages of tasting give me pleasure every day. I

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Tomato Tart
3 September 2009 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Tomato Tart

  As summer draws to a close I want to say thank you to the humble tomato. La tomate never lets me down; she is simple, non-moody with emotions that run on an even keel and so very easy to understand. She is equally happy to make a splash on her own or sit on

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The French Driver
1 September 2009 | VA Notes Provence

The French Driver

Can someone please explain to me why the French turn into devil drivers when they get behind the wheel of a car? As fast as the click of a lock and the turn of a key the French undergo a change in character; they become the Alain Prost Formula One speedsters of the motorway. These

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Le Grand Magasin
24 August 2009 | VA Notes Provence

Le Grand Magasin

   Le Grand Magasin is an unexpected surprise in the village. Walking into this shop is how I imagine it would be if I could click my fingers and enter Aladdin’s cave – this boutique is overflowing with every accessory and object that I would love to take home. The finest cashmere scarves, the coolest

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‘All Stars No Chorus Line’
18 August 2009 | VA Notes Lifestyle

‘All Stars No Chorus Line’

Something a very talented and wise designer told me. She elaborated by saying that a truly great room was a mix of the important and the less important; a room where the ‘chorus’ complimented and enhanced the ‘stars’ of the room. She felt that a room overloaded with pedigree art and priceless furnishings would never

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Love To Lunch At Le Lunch
14 August 2009 | VA Notes Provence

Love To Lunch At Le Lunch

  I have not yet met a French person who doesn’t stop for a proper lunch. By proper lunch I mean table, chairs, cutlery, china and food on the plate kind-of-lunch not the take-away sandwich fast food kind of lunch that I munched on in my past life. I know that, ‘breakfast is the most

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The French Hairdresser
11 August 2009 | VA Notes Beauty

The French Hairdresser

  I always like my hair to be just so and that means the two ‘C’s and the permanent ‘B’ – colour, cut and blow-dry for any non hair aficianados. I just don’t feel good about me if my hair is not coiffed to my liking. I like my hair well cut on a regular

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Le Jardin Du Quai
3 August 2009 | VA Notes Provence

Le Jardin Du Quai

  I think the Sunday lunch is the best lunch of the week. The weekend is well underway, the sleep-ins have helped, relaxation is foremost on the mind and the day is still well ahead of you. I have a favourite place to lunch in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the antiquing town about 30 minutes away from Saint

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Be Enchanted At Vox Populi
29 July 2009 | VA Notes Provence

Be Enchanted At Vox Populi

  At 32, rue du Vieux Sextier in Avignon you cannot help but be enchanted by Pascale Palun’s studio, Vox Populi. It is the kind of atelier that you want to enter quickly, her treasures are the kind you want to pick up immediately and it is a place where I never want to go

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Le Bonbon… Le Carambar
27 July 2009 | VA Notes Provence

Le Bonbon… Le Carambar

There is a little sweet something that I love about France……it is called the Carambar. A chewy, caramel tasting sweet that is totally delicious. Carambars are not soft and they are not hard, they fall somewhere in the middle with a smooth texture that can melt slowly in the mouth or can be gobbled up

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Une Baiser S’il Vous Plait….Shall We Kiss?
20 July 2009 | VA Notes Paris

Une Baiser S’il Vous Plait….Shall We Kiss?

Shall We Kiss … so sweet and so cute – I was totally enchanted. Trust the French to spin out the most simple of romantic moments into a full blown cinematic experience. The plot goes something like this, ‘When Gabriel and Emilie meet by chance he offers her a ride and they spend the evening talking,

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Easy Chicken Salad
13 July 2009 | VA Notes Provence

Easy Chicken Salad

This recipe is an easy one. I am big on presentation and light on preparation – this salad fits perfectly into this category. The ingredients are simple, fresh and available, it can be prepared ahead of time and it looks very pretty on the plate. Chicken Salad *Poach the chicken breasts (one per person or

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Minimalist or maximalist?
25 June 2009 | VA Notes Uncategorized

Minimalist or maximalist?

  I am always undecided whether I want to be a minimalist or a maximil-ist. I don’t think that is the right word in this context, but I guess you get the picture. When I am having a minimalist moment at home I hide anything and everything away. I remove all traces of personal memorabilia,

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What Are Green, Purple And Deliciously Squishy
22 June 2009 | VA Notes Provence

What Are Green, Purple And Deliciously Squishy

  Yesterday I ate my first fig of the season – not perfectly ripe but near enough. I have always loved figs – figs for breakfast, figs for lunch and figs for dinner. There is just something so good about a ‘first bite’ of the season – it is a ‘memories conjured up and promises

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