Author Archives: Rowena

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 really 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 foodie’s 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 chance that we might return to the Luberon in several 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.

Miraval: I’m glad we got our hands on this pink

MIraval Côtes de Provence

Beer has always been our drink of choice during the summer months but from here on out, rosé wine, and I mean the worthy ones (not cheap pink stuff in a can or from the grocer’s) is owning a spot in the fridge. I had only heard of Jolie-Pitt’s Miraval, like, a few months ago, and 17€ price tag notwithstanding, my concern was that it wouldn’t do justice to the fish.

Orata en papillote
Sea bream en papillote with bell peppers, onions, potatoes; perfumed with kaffir lime leaves

Well, justice it did. It paired well with the asian notes from the kaffir lime leaves. Miraval is light, refreshing, crisp, and so not like the sweet and cloying pinks I’ve had in the past. Easy to drink without being written off as simply a fine rosé, I had to ask MotH to stop because I wanted to have some with leftovers on Monday. Btw, he scoffed and poured himself another.

Miraval by Jolie-Pitt

It was funny when the sales clerk made sure to point out the Jolie-Pitt name on the label – like I already didn’t know! What I didn’t expect was how well it would go with the herbal and salty flavors of goat’s milk cheeses. Miraval is made with grenache, cinsault, syrah and rolle grapes. As a higher-priced rosé it won’t be something I’d buy often, but with Hollywood’s elite on the bottle, I concede that it deserves all the fanfare.

Bastille Day cheese board
We are out of french cheese and need to go back for more