Posts tagged Provence Markets
Chicken with Black Figs and Lavender

Fresh Garlic at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Market

Half of the fun in Provence is enjoying the incredible local food and wine. Fresh seasonal foods are as visually beautiful to look at as they are delightful to taste. In fact, fresh fruit and vegetables at Provence markets approach art form.
Special guest writer, Julie Mautner recently wrote about many ways of cooking with lavender. Below, she shares with us one of her favorite lavender recipes, Chickens with Black Figs and Lavender, created by Chef Linda Gilbert.
Food and travel writer Julie Mautner has lived in St. Remy de Provence on and off for more than ten years. Prior to running off to the South of France, she was the executive editor of Food Arts Magazine in New York for ten years. Today she freelances for food and travel magazines, and sites in the US and UK. Julie's popular blog, The Provence Post is a written pulse on Provence. Her first book, The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook, will be published by Clarkson Potter in November 2010...VintageGardenGal
Chicken with Black Figs and Lavender
Serves 4 generously.  By Chef Linda Gilbert, Broadway Catering and Events.

Caterer and cooking teacher Linda Gilbert, loves this rich, comforting dish on a chilly autumn evening. For both the figs and lavender, she says using either fresh or dried form is fine.

3- 1/2 lbs chicken, cut into pieces
2  tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
3/4 cup red wine
3/4 cup fresh black figs, stems removed, quartered, or 6 oz dried
3 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons garlic
1-1/2 teaspoon fresh lavender buds, or 1 teaspoon dry, reserving 1/4 tsp for garnish.

Saute the chicken in 1 tablespoon of the oil until golden on the outside. Remove from the pan and set aside. Without cleaning the pan, add the other tablespoon of oil and saute the onions, stirring frequently to prevent burning. When onions are lightly browned, add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Add the chicken cook slowly until done, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving platter. Turn up the heat and reduce the sauce until it is thick. Pour over the chicken and serve immediately. Bon Appetit!

Broadway Catering Events
601 Broadway, Sonoma, CA  95476
(tel) (707) 938-0301
Provence Markets "Spice Up Your Life"

Spice Vendor, Lourmarin Friday Market, Provence The photo above is of the lively Friday morning market in Lourmarin, also the village where famed English author, Peter Mayle, who wrote A Year in Provence and other novels, calls home.

One of my very favorite things to do when traveling is to frequent the local markets. As a matter of fact, I plan my itinerary around the flea markets, antique markets, fresh produce markets, bird markets, flower markets, etc. Markets are so colorful, and give you a real slice of local people, life, culture, and ambience. Markets are very lively and the vendors often very outgoing and playful types.

Markets are a way of life, especially in Provence, France. Locals shop frequently for fresh ingredients and produce, rather then once a week or every two weeks. The markets are held different days in different villages, and often specialize in certain items. Usually a guidebook, or articles on a particular market will divulge which "must have" items to seek out. Also, the month you are traveling may determine what is in season, and what to purchase. In Provence, cherries are a delectable treat in May, and lavender is in full bloom in July.

One of the "must have" items for me, are spices. I love to collect and buy spices whenever I travel. Each country has their cuisine and flavors, and what better way to relive your trip and experiences then making their local dishes and recipes, with local spices you have purchased there. Spices are easy to pack, and usually have a long shelf life. Spices are a small splurge, and a small effort to take home for memorable times long after your trip. They also make wonderful, reasonable gifts for loved ones, and especially for those who like to cook.

Produce is Elevated to Art Form

In Provence, its wonderful markets are brimming with Provence cheese, black olive tapenades, lavender honey, flowers, olive oils, wonderful hand-made sausage, local crafts, colorful Provence linens, hand-made pottery, delightful breads, and seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables. When you are here, take advantage of these incredible foods and flavors and experience Provence. You must pick up some famous "Herbes de Provence" which usually consists of dried thyme, basil, savory, fennel, and lavender.

Provence outdoor markets are a treat for all of your senses with colors, aromas, tastes, and people-watching. Some of my favorite markets in Provence are the Tuesday: Vaison-la Romaine, Thursday: Nyons, Saturday: Apt, Sunday: L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

"Postcards From Provence"

Magic of Provence, Red Poppies Blooming in May I am not an expert on Provence, France, but I have studied, researched, and created two wonderful 2007 and 2008 spring itineraries that my husband, John, and I followed to experience the heart and soul of Provence. There is something so magical about Provence, it reaches to my very core. I snapped the above photo, roadside on an early Sunday morning, heading to the famous and fabulous L'lsle-sur-la-Sorgue antique market.

It is hard to pinpoint why Provence is so special. Is it the light that Van Gough would talk about and try and capture in his paintings? Is it the Roman influence of ancient engineering masterpieces, roads, and villages that survive to tell their story? Is it the legendary "mistral wind" that bellows through the famous Cote du Rhone valley? Is it the unspoiled rural countryside beauty? Is it the absolutely charming people full of rich tradition and culture? Is it the incredibly fresh and mouth-watering seasonal foods and time-proven wines? Is it the fact that you never know who you will run into at a cafe, or bump elbows with at an outdoor market? Ah, you will just have to go sometime and ponder these questions yourself. If you have been to Provence, and have some wonderful stories, please share.

Writing about a few things that makes Provence so magical a place is difficult. I could jot down a long detailed list, but prefer instead to share with you a few snapshots, that those fortunate to call Provence their home experience on a regular basis, if not daily.

Generally, my itineraries are "off the tourist beaten path", preferring to visit the lesser known special places, such as Edith Mezard's tiny linen and embroidery shop in Lumieres, the Abbaye St. Andre gardens across the river from the popular city, Avignon, or the little cheese shop, Lou Canesteou, in Vaison-la-Romaine, to name a few. Rick Steves' Provence and The French Riviera 2009 is a good guidebook for general information, tips, and proven itineraries for those wanting a starting point.

Some of my favorite books written about Provence, were the catalyst to visit this special part of France, and experience it first hand. If you can't get to Provence in the near future, perhaps you would like to begin by reading some of these wonderful books. For more information on these books, just "click" on their titles. A Good Year. A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France. A Year in Provence. Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France.

Please follow along with me for more snapshots of Provence.