Monthly Archives: July 2017

Fête de la lavande in Banon


Finally, a lavender festival, french and proper, and in one of the most charming villages in Provence. There are several fêtes that I know of (in Sault, Ferrassières, and Valensole) but this is the first time we got the timing right in order to see one.

Banon's lavender festival

For being the 1st edition to take place in Banon, the program and organization was really top-notch: lots of vendors selling an assortment of lavender items, food stalls with tempting displays of goat cheese and cured meats, cute knick-knacks, and entertainment for the kids. As a nice memento to take home, you could fashion your own bouquet from the cut lavender heaped onto the ground. Cafes and restaurants were all open for business and a few food trucks were on the premises – something for everyone!

Fig-shaped chevre

Initially I was concerned about the parking but I needn’t have worried. Drivers were directed just outside the village and you could either walk or catch the free shuttle into town. It was another hot July day as usual, so it was great that dogs could hop aboard as well.

Maddie in Banon

It would’ve been so much fun if we had stayed to see the folk dance group in the afternoon, but the heat was awful for the pups so we had to call it a day. Hopefully this will be a repeat event for years to come. Great job Banon!

Fête de la lavande à Banon


Provence Can’t Wait

Somewhere near Auribeau

YES, again! I know we were there just last month, but the lure of endless lavender fields was simply much too great. We made a long weekend of it during the past few days, checking off a handful of places missed in June. The south of Provence was extremely hot and is currently experiencing drought conditions. One day it got up to the high 30°’s (celsius) but felt more like 40°+. Sweltering! Despite the heat, we did see and breathe in the lavender harvest that was well under way.

This trip was perhaps better than the previous in terms of food, wine, cheese, and lavande. Sorry, we didn’t go snooping around Brad and Angie’s Chateau Miraval, but we did visit the area where Russell Crowe’s ‘A Good Year’ was filmed. We also had a beautiful lunch (it was a foodie’s photo op dream) in a rural setting that seemed as if we had traveled back in time. Additional plus: we met a couple of gourmands who told us where to eat!

In case you didn’t get the title of this post, it’s a play on the title ‘Paris Can Wait’ – Diane Lane’s recent film to hit theaters. There’s a slight chance that we might return to the Luberon in a few weeks – third time’s a charm – but for now we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Cedro salad with shrimp and cucumber

It’s not very often that I come across a recipe that makes me want to run out asap and grab ingredients, but the lemon salad over at Polenta e Baccala is so unique that the summer of 2017 will be remembered as the one where I contentedly devoured it 3 days in a row.

Cedro and lemon
Cedro and your average lemon

The salad recipe utilizes the pith of a specific type of lemon found in southern Italy. Contrary to what most might believe, the spongy part of certain citrus are actually edible, certainly good for you, and definitely not as bitter as the average lemon. I wasn’t able to get the type called for, but this enormous cedro (citrus medica ) was better than nothing.

Cedro weighing in at 767 grams

Weighing in at 767 grams (1 lb. 11 oz.), it’s almost as big as Maddie’s head. It’s also untreated so I saved the peel for later use. The soft pith is very thick.

Cedro halved

On the left is the result from Polenta e Baccala’s recipe using half of that cedro. To the right is the other half in something I came up with to use the cukes we’ve been harvesting from the garden. It has cooked shrimp, chopped cucumbers, fresh basil, evoo, a good squeeze of lime juice and salt & pepper to taste. Serve chilled.

Cedro salads

Both salads taste even better the 2nd day. Great on its own or as a side to crispy pan fried fish or chicken.