My French Heaven


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Beloved tree resurrected…


As many of you know, I live in my grandmother’s townhouse now. The property was bought right after the war by my grandfather and took half a city block. He needed lots of grounds and buildings to store his wine (note: he was a wine merchant, not the world’s biggest alcoholic). In the black and white photos from my archives, you’ll see the family having coffee (and wine of course) in the garden with part of the orchard in the back, my sister (who is now 58) watering the plants and my grandfather and grandmother on the very month they bought the house in 1947.

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The house was also the company’s headquarters. As time went by, the company evolved and the processes were streamlined. My sister, the latest CEO, decided to keep less stock. Most of the wine we sell now stays on property at the châteaux she buys it from. Long story short: we didn’t need the warehouse side of the property and all the buildings were converted into condominiums. As a result, half the garden was converted into a parking lot. I didn’t really mind, as the garden was much too large for me to take care of. The only thing I really missed was a HUGE fig tree we had there. I spent most of my childhood playing around that tree. And, once a year, Paulette, my grandmother’s cook, would use its figs to make the most wonderful jam.

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Now back to 2013. As I was cleaning my garden last year, I noticed a tiny fig tree growing on a rock in the middle of my herb garden. You see, Paulette couldn’t pick all the figs for jam, my grandma and I also raided the tree regularly. We would pick the darkest fruits and bring them back to the house for everybody to enjoy. So I guess one of the figs fell from our basket and landed on that rock in the herb garden. Nature did the rest.

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I will never see my grandmother again and I miss her every day, but my beloved fig tree is coming back to me…


It will be years before I see fruit again. So I went to the market and got the sweetest figs I could find. Today I decided to enjoy them with a few slices of Camembert on tasted walnut bread…


The light after the storm

The light after the storm

It’s the golden light that penetrates my soul. It isn’t warm, it isn’t cold.

I face it, eyes closed, feet apart, chin slightly up.

It enters my body and makes it way to the core.

Mixed with the essence of me it whispers: the battle is over.

Everything is as it should be.  The storm has passed.

Perfect lives here. Enough is here.

The light after the stormThe light after the storm

Canola gold…

Canola in the vineyard

I was about to post around 4pm this afternoon (3.5 hours ago) about canola oil. But then I started to search the net for more information and kept on reading until now. The end result is TMI! Too much information. In addition, several readers added comments that really opened my eyes on the pros and cons of using such highly refined oils, the cons winning the battle! In this season however, canola is blooming all over France and Germany. You can find it at farmers Markets in the South West of France (lucky me) sold as a vegetable. It is called “broutte” and exclusively comes from organic farms as well as abandoned vineyards (as shown in the picture above) I steam it and serve it cold with a light vinaigrette. DELICIOUS!! You can also pour olive oil on it and put it in the microwave for a few minutes as you would with bok choy. So you’ll have to forgive me, but all I’ll share with you are a few pictures I took of the golden stuff in the vineyard on Monday…

Canola in the vineyard

Adendum: Since I posted, several of you also said they’d try to cook and eat the plant. I urge you to be careful and make sure the kind of plant that grows where you are is indeed edible and organic. Plant varieties are so diverse, I wouldn’t want you to get sick! Best option? Come visit me and I’ll cook it for you :0)

A delicious crime. Or how my day was saved by a 2 year old foodie – Un crime délicieux

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So here is what happened:

I was having one of those really bad days. Feeling blue, really grey sky outside… truly one of those days when you feel utterly alone and have to hold your tears in. Around 10am, I went to the supermarket to buy some chocolate (my drug of choice when I feel sad). In the entrance of the store, they hang “saucissons’ (big sticks of cured pork) on the side of the wall and almost all the way down to the floor. As I was walking passed the display, I noticed a two year old kid sucking really hard on one of the saucissons while his mom was picking fruits nearby. I started laughing really hard at the sight of this little guy. The other patrons heard me, turned around, looked down, and all started laughing hysterically with me…

My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture to share with you. So I’ll include one of my nephew who could have easily perpetrated the “delicious crime” himself…

Yes it was a delicious crime in every way… and yet another reminder that a bad day can turn on a dime if we choose to focus our attention in the right direction. There is indeed joy to be found in every aisle!

Voici donc ce qui s’est passé:

La journée avait vraiment très mal commencé. Un de ces jours ou le moral est aussi gris que le ciel et où on doit faire un effort pour retenir ses larmes (oui je sais, ça sent la dépression). Je décide donc de passer au supermarché pour acheter mon médicament magique: Nutella. C’est alors qu’en passant près du rayon des jambons et saucissons, je vois un gamin d’environ 2 ans en train de lécher l’un des ‘Justin Bridoux’ pendu près du sol. J’éclate de rire. Tous les clients se retournent vers moi, voient le gamin s’acharner sur le saucisson et s’esclaffent à leur tour. Une magnifique communion improvisée!

Je regrette de ne pas avoir eu la présence d’esprit de prendre une photo pour la partager avec vous. J’inclus donc une photo de mon petit neveu qui aurait très bien pu être l’auteur de ce “crime délicieux”…

Oui, c’était un crime délicieux dans tous les sens du terme… et encore un rappel que la joie et la magie peuvent se cacher au détour de n’importe quelle allée…


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