Dining my way through France

France = Fabulous Food.

A photo journey from the Jules Verne restaurant in the Tour Eiffel to the La Calife Seine dinner cruise to very best culinary experiences in Annecy and other French Alps locations to traditional French dishes prepared by daughter–my fabulous tour guide, translator, and personal chef–who was spending the summer in France with my granddaughters. The little ones enjoyed their own three course hot meals at the day-long French summer camps they attended throughout their stay. Lots of foie gras energy for those gondola trips to the top of the Alps, the museum visits in Geneva, and the usual smattering of forts, castles, historic and scenic sites in both Paris and Annecy.

IMG_3719IMG_3720IMG_3730IMG_3842IMG_3843IMG_3872IMG_3894IMG_3938IMG_4025IMG_4026IMG_4286IMG_4287IMG_4288IMG_4291IMG_4378IMG_4385IMG_4386IMG_4417IMG_4418IMG_4419IMG_4519IMG_4520IMG_4530the summer in Annecy with my granddaughters.

Chateaux of the Loire – Day Three: Chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire

This is the third of nine posts about our visits to Loire chateaux this summer. Chaumont was distinctive for its annual International Garden Festival and a lovely lunch at Le Grand Velum which features spices, vegetable species, rare and relevant plants  from eco-agriculture.

Less than 200 km south of Paris, nestling between the cities of Tours and Blois, is a haven of poetry stretching out 40 meters above the wild Loire,  Whatever the season, Chaumont-sur-Loire, once the home of Catherine de Medici, Diane de Poitiers and Princess de Broglie, beckons visitors indoors to admire its cozy and lavishly furnished interior. Installations by an array of contemporary artists in the château and along the footpaths of the park catch you by surprise. Every year, more than 400,000 visitors flock to its International Garden Festival, held since 1992.

Our photos include the chateau itself with all its elegance and grandeur on the banks of the Loire, its fabled stables, its unusual eco-friendly restaurant, and, of course, the Garden Festivalimg_2321

Catherine de Medici's bedroom in her usual somber hues

Catherine de Medici’s bedroom in her usual somber hues

Modern stained glass art installation in attic niches filled with restoration materials

Modern stained glass art installation in attic niches filled with restoration materials

Grand dining room

Grand dining room

Huge stables filled with carriages and harnesses

Huge stables filled with carriages and harnesses

The chateau's floral borders

The chateau’s floral borders

Garden Festival entry portraying top of home sunken by nature's forces in this future themed competeition

Garden Festival entry portraying top of home sunken by nature’s forces in this future themed competeition

All that is left is the attic with the survivor's few precious belongings

All that is left is the attic with the survivor’s few precious belongings

Parfumery entry.

Parfumery entry.

Another unusual entry

Another unusual entry

Look closely for Maggie popping up in this one

Look closely for Maggie popping up in this one

And on to lunch at Le Grand Velum

And on to lunch at Le Grand Velum

Cushion of veal cooked like a boiled ham, with grilled bacon from  the  same  meat,  seasoned  with  lovage.  Heads  of  broccoli  and  duxelles of finely sliced chard served on home-made wholegrain  bread roll

Cushion of veal cooked like a boiled ham, with grilled bacon from the same meat, seasoned with lovage. Heads of broccoli and duxelles of finely sliced chard served on home-made wholegrain bread roll

Beef eye-of-round and Carrots cooked in mild  " ices (Voatsiperifery  pepper, paprika and turmeric), cumin potato bubbles and sa % ron  yellow zucchini, beef gravy and cress shoots to

Beef eye-of-round and Carrots cooked in mild
“ices (Voatsiperifery pepper, paprika and turmeric), cumin potato bubbles and saffron
yellow zucchini, beef gravy and cress shoots

Milk  chocolate  and  pollen  flavoured   # reusel  biscuit,  organic  honey parfait, served with a smooth peach-apricot cream. Sorbet  comprising the

Milk chocolate and pollen flavoured
streusel biscuit, organic honey parfait, served with a smooth peach-apricot cream.

.

 

 

Chateaux of the Loire – Day Two: Chateau Sully-sur-Loire

Gallery

This gallery contains 17 photos.

Now THIS is what a castle is supposed to be! Visit the Chateau’s website and be sure to play the Presentation Clip and you too can experience what we did, traipsing up and down endless spiral stone staircases (hanging on … Continue reading

Chateaux of the Loire – Day One: Chateau Villesavin

Gallery

This gallery contains 18 photos.

This summer I spent three lovely weeks in Orléans with my daughter and granddaughters, ages four and six. During the week, the little girls, who are bilingual in French, attended a Centre Loisirs pour les enfants (see news photos here) … Continue reading

Weekday get-away to Carmel, Monterey, and Big Sur

IMG_1461I’m just back from my best ever mini-trip to Carmel, Monterey, and Big Sur. Taking off on a rainy morning under dark skies, the sun breaking through in the distance promised stunning views, delicious meals, and a relaxing break. Enjoy.

Lunch was first on the agenda with a stunning table-side view of Anton & Michel's flower-bedecked fountain courtyard in Carmel

Lunch was first on the agenda with a stunning table-side view of Anton & Michel’s flower-bedecked fountain courtyard in Carmel

A glass of Saint Hilaire French Brut brushed aside memories of a longer than usual trip down

A glass of Saint Hilaire French Brut brushed aside memories of a longer than usual trip down

...and a hearty bowl of lentil beef vegetable soup felt so welcoming

…and a hearty bowl of lentil beef vegetable soup felt so welcoming

The smile of a charming waitperson added to the charm

The smile of a charming waitperson added to the charm

An entree of blackened swordfish on a spinach salad did the trick

An entree of blackened swordfish on a spinach salad did the trick

And as every woman knows, a well appointed restroom is an added bonus

And as every woman knows, a well appointed restroom is an added bonus

After a bit of shopping, it was on to Monterey and checking into the Merritt House Inn with its fun room themes, mine Hawaiian

After a bit of shopping, it was on to Monterey and checking into the Merritt House Inn with its fun room themes, mine Hawaiian

And admiring my shopping finds, a fringed suede shawl and an adult coloring book and colored pencils

And admiring my shopping finds, a fringed suede shawl and an adult coloring book and colored pencils

Before dinner a two mile walk along Monterey bay over to Cannery Row

Before dinner a two mile walk along Monterey bay over to…

IMG_1481

…Cannery Row

Ending with a delightful shot of a dolphin sculpture outside the Monterey Plaza Hotel with a early evening moon above

Ending with a delightful shot of a dolphin sculpture outside the Monterey Plaza Hotel with a early evening moon above

Then back to Carmel. I had made a reservation earlier in the day at Andre's Bouchee Restaurant and Wine Bar, knowing that their foie gras would be on the menu but disappointed to hear that the duck confit was "out"

Then back to Carmel. I had made a dinner reservation earlier in the day for Andre’s Bouchee Restaurant and Wine Bar, knowing that their mouth-watering seared Foie Gras a la Orange Sanguine would be on the menu but disappointed to hear that the duck confit was “out”, gobbled up by greedy tourists the day before.

But much to my delight, the waitress announced that the chef, hearing of my desire, had found a way to make the duck confit just for me. On it's bed of gnocchi

But much to my delight when I arrived, the waitress announced that the chef, hearing of my desire, had found a way to make the Confit de Carnard just for me on a bed of skillet browned gnocchi with mini root veges swimming in garlic parsley butter. YUM!

And could I resist the Crème Brûlée wiht Espresso and Frangelico...of course not!

And could I resist the Crème Brûlée
with Espresso and Frangelico…of course not!

The next morning called for a walk on the Carmel beach

The next morning called for a walk on the Carmel beach

Then as a last treat, a trip down Hwy 1 to Big Sur

Then as a last treat, a trip down Hwy 1 to Big Sur

And lunch at the Nepenthe restaurant...

And lunch at the Nepenthe restaurant…

...with its spectacular view

…with its spectacular view

...and a cup of delicious tomato bisque soup

…and a cup of delicious tomato bisque soup. Even the dreaded trip home in Friday afternoon rush hour and holiday traffic couldn’t erase the memories, the tastes, the views of my relaxing get-away.

The Scented Isle ~ in photos and words ~ Calacuccia store

Excerpt from MOTHER TONGUE by Karen Stephen

The moment over, I grabbed the edge of my seat as Scafani barreled ahead, lurching to a stop at a building identified by a sign reading Les Halles Corses. Its façade of stone traveled two feet up white stucco walls and crept around a stout door, propped open to catch the breeze. Two shields, nailed on each side of the entrance, marked it as both a boucherie and a charcuterie.

Scafani opened his door and leapt out. “I’ll be right back.”

I refused to be left behind and reached for my door handle. “I’ll go with.”

He stuck his hand out like a school crossing guard. “No.”

After enduring a terrorizing ride, I sure as hell wasn’t going to be ordered to sit and stay like a friggin’ cocker spaniel. I swung open my door and followed him into the market. He joined a group of grizzled old men seated around a pickle barrel. I headed for the opposite side of the store and busied myself browsing through shelves of canned meat products. I watched out of the corner of my eye as the men greeted him with rounds of kisses on both cheeks and hearty claps on the back.

ResizeDSC02834

A fascinating storefront I captured on my trip to Corsica in 2006.

 

The day AFTER Christmas

2014-12-05 21.54.33I find the quiet today a bit disconcerting after eight days amidst the energy and enthusiasm of my four grandchildren. Although I’m still enjoying my annual flamingo Christmas tree.

The holidays began with a six-day trip to Oregon where my son Zach and daughter-in-law Amy are raising my two grandsons, Ryan almost 15 and Sam 11.

2014-12-21 11.20.16

At the beautiful Pittock Mansion in Portland

2014-12-23 14.31.56

Sam’s NinjaBread Cookies!

2014-12-21 11.18.52

The Oyster Themed dining room at the Pittock Mansion

2014-12-20 19.39.25

Zach and Amy whipping up great dinners in their kitchen

2014-12-20 11.05.05

Sam…the real ninja!

 

And I enjoyed watching the “boys” play with their Anki Drive car racing set–played on an iPad with real cars that zipped around the track on the floor. 

Then back to San Ramon for a Christmas Eve of baking…not one but two bûches de Noël plus Grandma Kinnison’s famous Christmas cookies. And Christmas day with Santa coming through with a train around the tree and much “FROZEN” bounty to the delight of the girls.

2014-12-25 15.45.48

Christmas dinner–oysters, salmon, foie gras (shipped in from New York!), caviar, butternut squash soup, filet de mignon and all the fixings

2014-12-25 17.17.24

Aveline and Estelle with some of their favorites.

2014-12-25 14.01.11

“I’m hiding!”

2014-12-25 14.01.03

“Peek-a-boo!”

2014-12-25 09.56.03

Bûche de Noël

2014-12-14 15.33.12

A wonderland of new Dicken’s houses for my daughter.

And finally, a Christmas greeting to my French friends on FB via my bilingual daughter and granddaughters and a French Christmas song by Aveline.

A icy 2002 winter in France

Gallery

This gallery contains 21 photos.

   

Memories of Honfleur

Gallery

This gallery contains 18 photos.

A dear friend was browsing through my posts and noticed I hadn’t posted on Honfleur, one of his favorite haunts in France. Mine too. Not only because I had a charming visit there in 2009 but because my great-grandfather Captain … Continue reading

Goat Cheese on a French Mountaintop

DSC03242

 

I had to keep my eyes squeezed shut as my son-in-law to-be expertly navigated the hairpin turns on an 800 meter climb to the La Ferme des Courmettes near Tourrettes-sur-Loup. My daughter’s determination to see a goat farm had a happy ending. Our private tour and picnic lunch was well worth it.

 

 

DSC03257And the view from the farm was beyond spectacular even with a bit of haze.

 

 

 

 

Incidentally, one of my all-time favorite photos from my many trips to France is approaching the village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup from the south. Using Akvis ArtWork, I turned the fabulous shot into an “oil painting”.TouretteSurLoup